I have been thinking a lot about my journey as a very new mom almost 13 years ago and how far I’ve come with everything I’ve learned since then. I wanted to compile a list of important things to know as a new mom that I wish I had known as a brand new mom years ago!
There are so many things changing all the time as far as new rules for breastfeeding, new hospital protocols, and multiple other things that are constantly changing along with our ever-changing world, but some things stay the same!
Here are the most important things to know as a new mom from a mom of 5!
1. Remember To Breathe
This one sounds easy, like yeah, right, of course. But no…really. Becoming a parent for the first time is the most beautiful, overwhelming feeling in the entire world! Regardless of how the baby came into the world, your body just went through a traumatic experience.
You’re juggling a newborn who needs to be fed every 2 hours, changed constantly and needs constant supervision. This is not to mention all of your other endless, never-ending responsibilities as a brand-new mom!
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel nervous. It’s also okay to cry. But remember that your baby needs you and to pick yourself back up and breathe.
2. It’s Okay if Breastfeeding Isn’t for You
If you have the plan to breastfeed your baby, and you’re so excited…you’ve taken and remembered all the advice from the nurses…but then you get home, and everything goes down the drain?
Yeah, this happened to me. When I had my oldest and first daughter in 2009, I felt so confident at the hospital! I had a few nurses who came in and helped me, and I thought I had it down for the most part.
I remember getting home and having my mom’s help and her trying to help get the baby to latch on and it just wasn’t working. Not to mention, my breasts are very sensitive, so it was not the greatest feeling for me. Also, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, and they were so incredibly sore on top of it all.
Ultimately for my sanity, I decided what was best for my baby was to be formula-fed. And that was just fine for both of us. All 5 of my kids have had colostrum in the hospital but eventually started to be formula-fed. I’ve tried it every time, and I’ve even tried pumping with my 3rd and 4th pregnancies, but it was so painful, and that wasn’t doing anything for my mental health or sanity.
So, remember that no matter what…fed really is best, and if your plan for breastfeeding doesn’t work out, it’s okay. If you plan to formula feed from the start, that’s okay too. But remember to also reach out for help. I wish I had really reached out for more help with my first baby. There are so many resources to help moms breastfeed successfully!
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
As mothers (I know it can’t be just me!), we naturally want to take care of everything. It’s so easy to say, “no, I got it,” when my husband asks me if I need help. I still do this a lot, actually, and it’s a constant battle. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help! Whether it’s your spouse, partner, friend, neighborhood, parents, or grandparents, ask!
There are lots of people willing to help if you let them. It’s easy for us to want to take on the world. I mean, let’s be honest; it’s a great feeling when you’re productive and on a roll and getting things done! But that doesn’t mean to take everything on and burn yourself out. Ask for help!
4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Your Provider Questions
After having a baby, your body goes through many physical and emotional changes! Please reach out to your provider if you notice things that seem off, or weird, or if you are unsure of anything. You can get only so much help by googling or asking strangers online. It’s also always better to be safe than sorry!
If you think of non-urgent questions, write them down! As a new mom, again, I hope it isn’t just me…but I can’t remember everything, and I have to write a lot of stuff down, especially when it comes to postpartum and newborn care. And trust me, if you don’t ask the provider right away and you didn’t write it down, and you feel like it’s no longer a problem…you’re going to forget what you wanted to ask!
This goes for you AND the baby! If you had a concern about your baby, you’d be on that phone dialing right now, right? That’s how you need to be with yourself, too. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your precious baby!
5. Take the Advice of Others With a Grain of Salt
Okay, so you’re reading this article, and I’m giving you advice on important things to know as a new mom. The truth is I have five kids; I’ve been through this, so I’d like to say, and I will say- that I know what I’m talking about. And, of course, I am going through these important things to know as a new mom with no judgment and just real things that I know can benefit other mamas.
The thing is…as a new mom, you’re going to get a lot of advice. So much advice, actually. Some of it, you’re going to be able to know it’s not for you immediately! The other advice you get will make you scratch your head and think about if it’s true. My advice is to do your research and, in the end, do what works for YOU.
Remember: What worked for another mom may not work for you, and that’s okay. Your way will be your way; no one can or should tell you any different!
Take the breastfeeding tip that I gave earlier, for example. Breastfeeding did not work for me, but that is not your story! It may just work amazingly for you with no problems! Our journey is different, and sometimes we have to remember that when we’re getting advice from others.
6. Get Sleep When You Can
This is one thing that everyone says that IS true! Sleep when the baby sleeps! It’s so crucial, especially those first few weeks when the baby is up around the clock. Especially as a first-time mom, this advice is golden.
It can be challenging at first because we’re on the baby’s schedule now and we are used to being on our schedule. It’s hard to sleep when you feel like you “have to” right now, or else you won’t get sleep. I’ve been there many times! Maybe you just rest, but still, try!
The more younger kids you have, the harder this will be. So for me, with one infant and two toddlers, napping when the baby naps is a little bit more challenging. But another thing to remember…it’s only temporary! This also goes back to asking for help, too. Ask someone to watch the baby while you nap for a few hours!
7. Remember That Nothing Goes as Planned
This one is huge! You may have figured this out with your delivery already or will soon. You can plan how you “think” things are going to go all day long! But the truth is, it’s most likely not going to happen that way. You may think you’ll have a home birth but need to go to the hospital. Maybe you think you won’t breastfeed but end up trying and succeeding. So many other scenarios, so I hope that it makes sense.
Let go of the things that don’t work and try another way. It will be okay if it doesn’t go as planned!
8. Make Time for Your Spouse/Partner
An important thing to do after having a baby is to make time for your spouse/partner. Both of you have had a major life event happen. It’s time to communicate and spend time together!
My husband and I LOVE our maternity leaves. We binge-watch shows, watch movies, play video games (when we can), and genuinely hang out and have a good time. It’s so important to keep that closeness and really hear and listen to each other.
But keep it going after that maternity leave, too!
9. Make Time for Yourself
Make sure you are taking time for yourself. It doesn’t matter what that looks like as long as you are doing it. For me, time for myself is after the kids are in bed.
It’s crucial to make time for yourself, and this is one of the most important things to know as a new mom! So relax, take that shower, watch that movie, and go for that walk. And remember…ask for help! If you need to take an hour or two to refocus and take care of yourself, don’t be afraid to ask!
10. Find a Community of Other Moms
For me, this has been such a cool part of getting to know other mamas! I have recently really been loving Facebook groups! If you search groups, there is probably a group for whatever interest you have! But there are tons of mom groups! For example, I’m in a pregnancy group with women who are due the same month, and I’m also in a group of moms with four + kids, large families, a breastfeeding group, and so many more.
I encourage you to find a Facebook group that connects with where you are in your motherhood journey! If you search the month and year your baby was born, I guarantee there is a group for it!
I hope you enjoyed this list of important things to know as a brand-new mom! What would you tell a brand-new mom? Or what do you wish you knew going into motherhood? I’d love to hear it in the comments!