Being a first-time mommy, I realize that there is a lot for me to learn. While of course I can learn a lot from my own mom, mother in law, and other moms in my family, but it has been quite a few years since they’ve had babies and things have changed over time, so having other mom friends of my own to share their experience and advice with me has definitely come in handy since I brought my little love into this world. Here is some of the advice I have gotten so far, and some advice other first-time moms have shared that may be a blessing to someone else too.
Cloth diapers. Yes, I know that’s what your grandma used on your moms and dads, but cloth diapering has come a long way from rags and pins. Modern cloth diapers are adjustable, snap-on diapers with absorbent cloth inserts to keep your little one’s hiney dry and comfy while saving mommy and daddy lots of money on disposable diapers. Just like the cloth diapers of old, just wash them and reuse again and again, even if you have another baby in a few years, you can use the same diapers on them, instead of buying all disposable diapers again.
Nap time for baby is nap time for mommy. I know that it seems like the only time you can get anything done around the house is when your baby is sleeping, but what good are you gonna do if you’re too tired to function and you accidentally start pouring coffee into the dog’s bowl and pour milk over a bowl of dog food because you mistook it for cereal? Mommies need sleep just as much as the next person, we just have different schedules on which we get it. So, snuggle up with that little munchkin and get you some rest! You’re gonna need it come dinner time, Lord knows.
No screaming over spilled milk. As your kids get older, you’ll come to realize that making messes and tearing things up is pretty much hardwired in their DNA. They’re going to make plenty of messes and break all kinds of things, they’re gonna break things you didn’t even know they could break. Just roll with it and use it as an opportunity to teach them. Maybe today’s lesson will be that cereal goes in bowls, not on a plate, or hold our cups with two hands. When they’re old enough, you can start teaching them to clean up their messes behind themselves. Granted, they may not get it all up, or they might just wipe their crumbs off the counter right into the floor, but at least their showing initiative and trying to help. That’s a big sign of maturity and responsibility. Help them, guide them, teach them, but don’t go yelling and screaming over tiny messes that can easily be cleaned up.
Not all advice is good advice. Everyone and their momma (literally) is going to be giving you advice and telling you all sorts of things that you should and should not be doing with and to your baby. Not all of their advice is going to be what’s right for you and your child. All of us women are pre-programmed with mother’s intuition on our factory hard drives. There will be times when someone is going to give you a piece of advice about the mothering of your baby and you are going to know in your heart and in your gut that it’s just not right, politely decline, disagree, or just smile and thank them for their suggestion, but you will know for a fact that is not something you should do. Always listen to your gut!
Photo ops are everything. Many moms feel like they’re constantly shoving cameras in everyone’s faces, do it anyway. You’re gonna want to remember all these little things because they’re not going to last forever. So take lots of pictures and have them printed to make albums, record videos and save them to a USB so your kids can watch them later down the road and reminisce on that little girl who used to live next door that always wore piggy tails and had that snaggle tooth, or the time they fell off their bike and thought it was the end of the world until daddy scooped them up and told them never to give up on themselves, or just those dress up tea parties that seemed to happen a lot more than occasionally. Whatever it is that makes your heart happy now, record it for the years to come. You’ll thank yourself.
Water and sunlight isn’t just for plants. A little H2O and some vitamin D can make a world of difference in both mom and baby. Health and mood benefits are definite pluses in my book! So, take that precious little human out in the stroller for a quick walk. I know it may seem like there’s no time, but I assure you the dishes can wait another thirty minutes. Grab a bottle of water for you, a bottle of milk for baby and go walk the neighborhood. It will make you feel a ton better, it’s good for baby’s immune system, and what a simple way to burn some calories and lose a little of that baby weight!
Don’t blink. It may be cliché but trust me. One day you’re going to be out shopping and see a child younger than your own and you’re going to look at them and say, “I remember when you were that little! What happened to my tiny baby!” Every stage they go through, every milestone and achievement is worth remembering, so take your time with them and really enjoy every moment.
We may be super hero moms, but we are still human, and humans make mistakes. Not everything you do or say is going to be right. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on something you can’t take back or change. Learn from your mistake, apologize or talk it out, and move on knowing that not everyone is perfect and you’re still learning just like your little one.
Sometimes babies just feel like crying. There are lots of moms who don’t pick their babies up every time they cry, and that’s okay. There will be times when their butts are clean, bellies are full, they’ve been burped and there’s nothing they could possibly be crying for. They’re just having a fuss. You don’t know why, they don’t know why, but stressing yourself out trying to calm them is just going to make it worse. Your baby can feel your emotions, your stress and your anxiety. If you’re frantically patting them and doing the freaked out “it’s okay, it’s okay!” they’re just going to freak out even more because they know mommy’s freaked out and that’s not cool! You can always put on some soft music and rub their little heads and talk to them gently to calm them, or just let them get it all out. Either way, you’re not a bad mom for letting your baby cry. I repeat, you are NOT a bad mom for letting your baby cry under these circumstances. The more you hold them and freak out with your frantic, anxious, mental and emotional overload, the more likely you are to hurt your baby and that’s definitely not good.
In all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody hands you a How-To Manual at the hospital when you have a baby and there is no real set of rules to follow, so if you need help, ask someone (Google and Siri included) for advice. Remember the smile and nod approach to the advice you feel doesn’t resonate with you personally, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We all need a new perspective every now and then.
If you have any advice of your own to share, feel free to do so in the comments! I know there is lots of advice waiting to be shared from one mom to the next. Let me know if any of this advice helped you and if you need more, you know where to find me!