Inside: With so much first time mom advice out there, it can be tough to know what’s helpful and what’s not. This post has only the best tried-and-true tips from pregnancy and birth to newborn care to organization to encouragement!
Being a first time mom is both exciting and scary. There will be ups and downs and so much to learn, but also beautiful moments you’ll always treasure.
Thankfully, there are plenty of seasoned moms out there who are willing to share their best advice for the mom to be, and this post has it all.
These helpful tips and tricks are from moms who’ve been there. Whether you’re seeking advice for newborn care, breastfeeding, time management, or encouragement, you’ll find everything you need to start your motherhood journey, below.
Baby Registry and Home Prep
There’s lots to do before your baby arrives. Being prepared ahead of time will make coming home from the hospital so much easier. Be sure to create a first time mom baby registry checklist and get setup with meals and supplies so those first few days and weeks are less chaotic.
Here’s some great advice for new moms when it comes to being prepared:
- Create a stockpile. Start gathering diapers, wipes, clothes, and other must have newborn items to have on hand and at the ready.
- Stock your medicine cabinet with baby health tools like a NoseFrida, baby probiotic drops, and gas passer.
- Ask for registry advice from other moms. (Only get items you really need and will definitely use. My baby registry checklist is a great place to start!).
- Register for items beyond the baby stage. Babies grow fast, so why not get help for other ages and stages, too!
- Be sure to send thank you cards. It’s always nice to send a thank you. You can put someone else in charge of helping you with this so it’s not all on you!
- It’s never too early to babyproof. Baby safety is so important. Go ahead and get your cabinets and landings secured so you don’t have to worry about it later.
- Meal prep and plan to use your crockpot. Find frugal meals like these crockpot recipes that you can make in advance and freeze.
- The cheap stuff works just as well as the expensive stuff. You don’t have to have everything name brand to give your baby the best.
- Local fire stations can help you install your car seat. You’ll definitely want this done before you go into labor. Care seat installation is harder than you think!
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Pregnancy and Birth
Pregnancy is a wonderful, but often uncomfortable journey. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to make this experience more enjoyable and special. Whatever your experience, be sure to capture these precious memories so you can reminisce in the future.
First time mom advice for pregnancy and labor:
- Buy maternity clothes. It may cost a bit extra to pick up some maternity outfits, but they will be way more comfortable than making your current wardrobe work around your baby pump. (Plus, you don’t want to stretch out your regular clothes too much).
- Document your pregnancy. Take pictures! Find the best maternity photography ideas to help document this magical time in your life. You can also take progress pictures of your growing belly and keep a journal to capture those memories.
- Take a childbirth class.
- Have a birth plan.
- Learn about and prepare yourself for a c-section just in case. First time mom labor is more likely to result in c-section than subsequent pregnancies. Educate yourself just enough to be prepared so you have less fear of the process.
- You can’t predict when you’ll go into labor. This is especially true for new moms. There’s a good chance you’ll go past your due date, so keep that in mind!
- Speed up labor contractions with a breast pump. When labor does start, some moms swear by using a breast pump to speed up labor contractions.
- Not every person gets that rush of love when they give birth. Bonding with your baby can take time. If you don’t experience an immediate emotional connection, don’t feel bad. Get lots of skin to skin and be patient. It will come!
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Newborn Care and Newborn Hacks
The newborn stage can feel like a blur. You’ll probably be sleep deprived and still feeling a little out of your depth. You will get the hang of it, though, and smart motherhood hacks can help you while you’re in the trenches.
Here’s some awesome newborn care advice for new moms:
- Every baby is different. Don’t be worried or feel bad if your baby doesn’t respond to the same methods as others or develops differently. Every baby is unique. You’ll learn what works for you and your child!
- Hold, carry and love your baby. Being physically close to your baby and getting good skin-to-skin time will help you bond and can even improve your mental health.
- Use helpful apps. New moms have more resources than ever before. Take advantage of motherhood and parenting apps that give you help at the touch of a button.
- Bounce on a yoga ball if your baby is fussy.
- Use mesh laundry bags to keep baby clothes together in the wash.
- Start a diaper change with the next clean diaper under the baby for a super quick swap.
- Wear baby. If your baby is fussy during the day while you need to get things done, wearing your baby can help them be calmer while keeping your hands free.
- Check your baby’s temperature. If your baby is fussy at night, they may be overheated. Take baby’s temperature and make sure they aren’t too hot, and always follow safety guidelines to keep your baby warm in their crib.
- Be careful when changing baby boys. They just might pee in your face!
- Don’t obsess about germs. Yes, be careful, but you don’t have to go overboard. Make sure visitors wash their hands and don’t allow your baby around those who might be sick. And, no kissing!
- Watch your baby sleep. Soak in some precious moments, just admiring your beautiful child. This stage goes so quickly!
- Talk to your baby frequently. This will help with their language development and stimulate their brains.
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You’ve heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Nothing could be more true for motherhood. You will need mental and physical breaks from mothering and that’s ok! Do what it takes to let your body and mind recharge.
Try these self-care tips for first time moms:
- Go for a walk, take a shower, check your email. These small activities can recharge and help you feel like your normal self.
- Make healthful choices . . . most of the time! Be balanced with your eating and make sure your body gets the nutrients you and your baby needs if you choose to breastfeed or pump.
- Find a community of mamas. You will need a support system and a safe place to vent and also be uplifted.
- Don’t forget to eat and drink. Being a mom is a full-time job, but don’t forget to nourish your body. It’s easy to get so caught up with baby care that you forget to care for yourself!
- Sleep or rest when the baby sleeps . . . most of the time! Take advantage of when your baby sleeps to get needed rest. You will need it! But, you can also use nap tap as “me time”. Enjoy the quiet, do something that you want to do and that makes you happy.
- Ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness to want help. You will need it! Accept help when it’s given from someone you trust.
- Do mommy and me workouts. Entertain your baby and do some good for your body at the same time!
- Take care of yourself first. It’s okay to prioritize yourself sometimes if it means you will be a more engaged and healthy mama for your child!
- Find a hobby outside of mothering.
- Pay attention to yourself. Know the signs of postpartum depression and how to seek help. PPD is very common and nothing to be ashamed of.
- Disconnect. Find balance with screen time. Creating healthy habits and setting limits with technology for yourself will help you do the same for your baby as they get older.
RELATED: What Every New Mom Should Know About Postpartum Body Changes.
Feeding and Breastfeeding
The choice to breastfeed is a personal one. There are many benefits to breastfeeding, but it’s not for everyone. Educate yourself on the important things to know about breastfeeding and make the best choice for you and your child.
If you do decide to breastfeed, here are some important breastfeeding tips to consider:
- Take care of your breasts. Nursing can be really hard on this sensitive area. Use creams, pads and other breastfeeding essentials to keep your breasts healthy and free from infection.
- Nurse and bottle feed on demand. Follow your babies hunger cues to ensure they get all the nutrients their body requires for growth and good sleep.
- Take advantage of your lactation consultant. Most hospitals provide a lactation consultant to help new mothers adjust to breastfeeding while in the hospital. Use her! The consultant will teach you how to get a proper latch, the best ways to hold your baby while nursing and more!
- All that matters is the baby is being fed. You might have heard the saying, “breast is best”, but we know better now. Fed is best! Whatever method works the best for you and your child to ensure proper nutrition and a full belly, that’s what you should do! Don’t feel badly if breastfeeding isn’t for you!
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Baby sleep can be an elusive and moving target. But, if you can figure it out, that means more sleep for you. While every baby is different, there are several reliable ways to help your baby with this important task.
Here are some smart tips for newborn sleep, new moms should try:
- Other parents like to exaggerate. If you hear wild success stories of baby sleep, it might not be completely true, so don’t feel bad if your baby doesn’t live up to the hype. BUT, there are proven newborn sleep tips that many mothers swear by that are worth a try.
- Decide on a lullaby song for your baby so that every time you sing it they know to expect that it’s naptime/bedtime.
- Disconnect nursing/bottle feeding from sleeping. This will help your baby learn to self-soothe. Don’t let nursing or bottle-feeding be the last step in your nighttime or nap time routine.
- Don’t shield your newborn from light and sound. It’s a lot easier on moms (and the whole family) if your baby learns to sleep with normal household noises and daylight. You’ll be able to carry on with normal tasks while they sleep and this will help to set their circadian rhythm.
- Make sure you get a white noise machine. This will drown out any overly jarring noises that could startle your baby awake like sirens or a loud car horn and recreates the sounds of being in the womb.
- Don’t make eye contact with a sleeping/falling asleep baby. They tend to wake right back up!
As a new mom, you’ll likely have piles of laundry, rooms needing to be cleaned, and dishes in the sink. That’s okay! Don’t sweat it if your home isn’t the pinnacle of perfection during this motherhood transition period.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your head above water and ensure you don’t miss the big things:
- Plan to leave extra early to get anywhere on time. You’ll probably still be late because anything that can go wrong most likely will with a new baby, but give yourself a built-in buffer for a fighting chance.
- Build a routine. Structure your day so you have time for the important things while providing the ideal schedule for your baby.
- Use a hanging shoe organizer to house baby items.
- Write things down. Dates, things to ask the doctor, memory books, etc.
- Be prepared to do a load of baby laundry every day. Babies are messy and cleaning stains will become a big part of your mom life. Be prepared to go through lots of outfits a day and laundry to boot!
- Do all your shopping online. Take less trips to the store by ordering things online and creating a weekly meal plan around online deals to save money.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. Try to stick to your routine 80 percent of the time, and give yourself a break the other 20. It’s okay to let things go sometimes!
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Motherhood is imperfect. It’s as simple as that. You won’t get it right every time and things rarely go as planned. That’s normal and that’s okay! Just do your best and find joy in the journey.
Here are some words of encouragement from moms who know:
- You’re doing just great!
- It’s okay if you need a break.
- Don’t freak out about milestones. Milestones aren’t hard and fast rules, but a general target. If your baby is a little late or a little early, it’s usually not a big deal. Keep on top of your pediatrician visits and let them know of any concerns you may have. Most often, it’s not a big deal!
- Don’t let guilt creep in. Let go of mom guilt! This is usually a sign that you are, in fact, a good mother because it means you care!
- Focus on you and your family. Don’t compare notes with what other families are doing or measure their successes against yours. It’s so not worth the mental energy!
- Remember, every stage is a stage. The hard things are usually temporary. You will get through it!
- Trust your instincts. Moms really do know best.
- You’re going to have some bad days, and it’s OK!
- Don’t be ashamed of your body. Your body has done incredible things. Cut yourself some slack. While things may never be exactly like they were before, there is beauty in every postpartum body, scars, stretch marks, and all!
- The lack of sleep will seem like the end of the world. But it’s not forever! There will come a time when you are no longer a zombie!
- Find what works for you. Not every piece of advice will work for you. Try different things and see how you and your baby respond.
- It’s okay to let some things fall through the cracks, you’re still doing a great job!
- You can have a bad day and still be a good mom.
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Other things to Remember
There is so much to remember as a first time mom and it’s fine if some things fall through the cracks. But, here are some things you’ll definitely want to stay on top of.
- Take time for your partner. If you have a spouse or partner, they still need care and attention, too. Make sure to spend time together and continue to build your relationship.
- Be sure to show gratitude to your support person. On that same note, remember to say thank you! It goes a long way.
- Don’t do the “who is more tired” game with your partner. You’re both probably tired even if it’s from different things. Express your needs, but remember to be understanding and supportive, too.
- Take pictures.
- But, don’t take too many pictures. Remember to be present as well. It’s great to capture moments through a lens, but also remember to experience them in real-time, too.
- Live in the now. Soak in the good and the bad, because it will all be precious to you at some point.
- Always say “I love you.”
Final First Time Mom Advice
My best advice for a new mom? Anything worthwhile is going to be challenging. Try to remember that when things get hard! Motherhood is so rewarding even through the tough times. You’ll be endlessly compensated with adorable smiles, coos, finger holds, baby laughs and unconditional love that makes it all worth it!
And, remember to take everything with a grain of salt!
Here are some other helpful resources new moms will love.
- Try These Monthly Baby Photos if You’re a First Time Mom
- 50 Adorable first Birthday Party Ideas New Moms Should Try
Did any of this first time mom advice surprise you? Have some other suggestions? Let me know in the comments!