Advice for the New Mom from a Mom Who’s Been There

Advice for the New Mom from a Mom Who’s Been There

Motherhood is hard. Social media has done so much good in how it connects women and creates a virtual community but I also feel that it’s done some harm for the new mom, too. When you’re a tired, desperate mama who spends her middle-of-the-night feeding sessions scrolling through everyone else’s highlight reels, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone else and feel like you’re doing something wrong. Well, Mama, I’m here to tell you that you’re not. Inspired by a new mom who is very close to me, today I’m sharing some wisdom, truths, and advice for new moms from my own experience.

 

Breastfeeding is hard. But keep pushing through. Get some lanolin and cold packs for your bra. Get yourself on a schedule (I fed my girls every 3 hours whether they showed signs of hunger or not; if they were hungry before their “scheduled” feeding, I fed them right then and again 3 hours later). I’m a firm believer that if you can physically breastfeed you should. But I’m also a firm believer that fed is best. Feed the baby. If breastfeeding isn’t for you, that’s okay; feed the baby formula. If you’re not producing enough milk, that’s okay; feed the baby formula while you work on increasing your supply. Don’t stress. Some of the smartest, most amazing people on this earth weren’t breastfed. It can be so sad if you want to but can’t, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Your baby will turn out just fine as long as you make sure she’s fed. You’ll think about quitting often but I found if I set small, attainable goals I was able to stretch it out and stick with it.

Trial and Error. My husband and I have always described parenting as one big science experiment. Form a hypothesis and test your theory. Be sure to only introduce one variable at a time so you know what is causing the outcome. Basically, if something doesn’t work, try something different. Your baby is different than everyone else’s so keep trying until it works. It’s frustrating to find that seemingly nothing works but you’ll find your groove. Just keep trying. Even the smallest adjustments can make a big impact.

Routine is Life. Get yourself and your baby on a consistent routine. Your days will feel much shorter when you both know what to expect and what’s coming next. Your routine should be fluid and will evolve and change as you and your baby get to know each other more and more. Remember, you aren’t the only one who is new at all of this; your baby is trying to figure everything out, too.

When in Doubt, Hold the Baby. Sometimes all your little one needs is you, and that need is greater than any hunger, burp, or dirty diaper. You can’t hold her all the time, but when you can – hold the baby. You can’t spoil them when they’re that little. You literally can’t. I promise.

Get up Before Your Baby. I know, I know. You’re probably laughing like a madwoman hysterically right now but hear me out. I fed both of my daughters between 6:30-7:30 am every morning, even if I had to wake them up to do so. Once they were finished eating, I put them back to bed. Yes, I put them back to bed just like it was still nighttime. There was no talking, no lights on, etc. Once they were back to sleep I would take a shower, put on make-up (this did wonders for my mood), and eat breakfast. Basically, I would take care of myself while they slept. Then, when they woke up again between 9:30-10:30, their day would begin. This is literally the best thing I ever did as a mom of newborns; it especially helped me when I had a newborn and 2 year old at home. Because I had already showered, I didn’t have to choose between doing that and napping when the baby napped later in the day. I can honestly say that there was not one day when I was home on maternity leave that I didn’t shower, unless I made a conscious decision not to; it’s all because I got up before my babies.

Wash Your Hair. Your scalp isn’t sore because you’ve had it up too tight all day; it’s sore because you haven’t washed your hair in a week and your follicles are clogged. Wash it now and feel better immediately.

Paper Plates. Sleep when the baby sleeps, right? Well, not when you have food to eat and dishes to wash, right? I ate off of paper plates everyday I was home alone with the baby(ies). There were no dishes to wash that way! My husband would wash our dinner dishes at night so that I didn’t have any to do and could focus on myself and the baby.

Social Media is BS. Suzy Q’s baby and your baby aren’t the same person. You and Suzy Q aren’t the same person. Plus, there’s a good chance Suzy Q is full of crap and she’s tired and crazed, just like you. She’s probably so sleep deprived that she deliriously believes that her life and her baby are as great as she portrays them to be online. Every baby is different. Every mom is different. Stop comparing yourself and your baby to everyone else; you’re only going to make yourself even crazier than your lack of sleep is already making you. Just because Baby Boy Bo crawled when he was 5 minutes old doesn’t mean your kid is behind; it means Baby Boy Bo is a freak.

Ask For Help. Pride isn’t cute. We all know you need help. Everyone needs help. Ask for it and be specific. Do you need someone to come fold your laundry? Ask. Need someone to hold your baby while you go to the bathroom? Ask. Need someone to watch the baby while you drive around the neighborhood blasting gangster rap and drinking Starbucks just so you can feel sane for a few minutes? Ask. The people who love you want to help, they sometimes just don’t know how. Ask for help. You need it. Yes, you. It takes a village. None of us are Superwoman.

Don’t Be Afraid to Assert Yourself. You’re the mom. Is your Mom or MIL overstepping their boundaries? Tell them. Have your visitors overstayed their welcome? Thank them for coming and politely show them the door. You’re a grown woman, Mama. Advocate for yourself and your baby. You should always be respectful, of course, but now isn’t the time to worry about everyone else.

Give Yourself Grace. This is the single most important thing. You’re doing great. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll wonder why you ever became a mom. You’ll wish you could feel like your old self again. But, you’re doing a great job. We’re all just doing the best we can.

Life is so hard right now, Mama, but one day you really will look back and wonder how it all flew by so quickly. In motherhood, you don’t have to enjoy it all (and you won’t), but you should take it all in – smell your baby, record her baby noises, and snuggle that squish; your baby will be different tomorrow and so will you. The days are long but the years are short.

In motherhood, you don't have to enjoy it all (and you won't), but you should take it all in. Click To Tweet
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46 Comments

  1. March 21, 2017 / 8:26 am

    Omg the putting them back to bed like it’s night time is GENIUS! Where was this when my kids were newborn!

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:18 pm

      It was such a savior!!

  2. March 20, 2017 / 8:37 am

    Love this! I was so grateful to be able to have my mom & dad take turns staying with us when we had the babies

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:08 pm

      Thank you! That must have been super helpful!

  3. March 20, 2017 / 6:16 am

    I especially agree with the points about giving yourself grace and not being afraid to ask for help!! Some ladies are physically able to breastfeed but aren’t mentally able to do so…so don’t discount that! 😉 Great post, Shannon!

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:05 pm

      That’s a good thought, too! It’s all about doing what’s best for everyone involved. Thanks for reading! xo

  4. Paige Rodriguez
    March 20, 2017 / 12:54 am

    Where were you when I had my son?? LOL but seriously– All of this is so true. The first time I realized that mothers choose which pictures make it to social media and no mother ACTUALLY looks like that the first 36 hours postpartum blew my mind. Also, yes to the whole village thing (I’m the
    stubborn one who learned the hard way on that one) and so much yes to the boundaries. Loved this post, you nailed it and your new-mommy friend is so lucky to have you! Xo

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:04 pm

      I’m so glad you can relate! Hopefully new moms can learn from our mistakes!

  5. March 19, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Great post, I’ll have to pin it for the future!

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:03 pm

      Please do! Thanks so much!

  6. nbanuelosblog
    March 19, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    These are great tips!! Mother IS so hard at times. I love that you mentioned paper plates… I used them for like two months straight! haha

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:02 pm

      Yasss! Paper plates are life! Thanks for reading!

  7. March 19, 2017 / 8:05 am

    I love how you and your husband describe parenting as one big science experiment – that is SO true, it is a new adventure each day!

    • Shannnon
      March 21, 2017 / 11:02 pm

      Yes girl! Experiment until you nail it!

  8. March 19, 2017 / 12:03 am

    I’m not a new mom and I needed to hear some of these things. After 18 months it still feels hard and I still find myself getting overwhelmed. Thank you for writing this.

    • Shannnon
      March 19, 2017 / 12:35 am

      Thank you for reading! You’re doing a great job!

  9. March 18, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    GIRL. washing your hair and showering is like, whoa. When my husband deployed and left me with one kid, I was like.. mmk, I think I can do this. Then he deployed and left me with TWO KIDS. And I thought I was never going to shower again in my life, ever. It’s amazing how you feel afterwards, feeling like an actual…. person. The pressure of being a mom is immense. I wish I had these tips 3 kids ago! You covered everything! <3

    • Shannnon
      March 18, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      Oh it’s definitely harder with two – yes!! But showering and clean hair really can make you feel like a new woman! Thank you for reading!

  10. itsahero
    March 18, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    Yes, especially hold the baby, social media totally IS BS, paper plates all the way, and absolutely ask for help — we all do/did!

    • Shannnon
      March 18, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      I’m so glad you agree! Thank you for reading!

  11. March 17, 2017 / 10:33 pm

    Great tips! Give yourself grace is absolutely the most important. 🙂

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:46 pm

      100%! Thanks for reading!

  12. March 17, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    I just love how real you are, always. I’m not a mom but I still find a lot of value in reading your posts because I value the honesty. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:47 pm

      That’s the best compliment ever! Thank you, Elise! Truly.

  13. March 17, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    Such great advice…yes to all of this! I wish I knew this before my 1st one, but learned it by the time #2 came along.

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:47 pm

      Thank you! Yes for sure! I definitely did things a little bit differently with #2.

  14. March 17, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Seriously yes to all of this – I love it!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:48 pm

      Thank you so much!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:48 pm

      Ah! Thanks, girl!! xo

  15. March 17, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    This is so beautiful Shannon! All so necessary for every mama. I wish I would’ve done the plastic plate idea, why didn’t I think of that (sigh). And you definitely got me laughing with Suzy Q delirious world, haha, but oh so true, comparison only leads to failure.

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:49 pm

      Thank you! Girl, paper plates were the best thing ever. I was so sad when we ran out but so happy when my husband bought more! And yeah, sleep deprivation can make you delusional. LOL

  16. March 17, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I love all of this! Motherhood is hard, especially with the first baby!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:49 pm

      Yes, girl! It totally is. The transition from 1 to 2 is a bit of a doozy, too.

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:49 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  17. March 17, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Great advice for new moms! I definitely need to get up before the kids to get ready or else I never am able to!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:50 pm

      Yes! I was off from work today and didn’t brush my teeth until like 2:00 because I didn’t get up before them. Doh!

  18. Christina Shoemaker
    March 17, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    So many good points, Shannon! I love that you included paper plates!! YES!!!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:51 pm

      Thank you! Paper plates are the best! I wish my husband would let me eat off of them every day! Totally not kidding. LOL

  19. March 17, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    I love this shannon! So many great points for new moms!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:51 pm

      Thanks, Jess!! xo

  20. March 17, 2017 / 10:46 am

    This is so spot on Shannon! I’m going to need all these tips again in a few months so I’m saving. I always try to wake up before my daughter. It makes all the difference!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:51 pm

      Thank you so much! And yes, it totally does!

  21. March 17, 2017 / 10:26 am

    yes to all of this! also, let messes be messes. sometimes i think new moms get so overwhelmed because they think they have to do it all (mother, maid, cook, etc) … enlist your partner, order take out, and send laundry to the cleaners. there are services designed to help us. USE THEM!

    • Shannnon
      March 17, 2017 / 11:52 pm

      OMG yes! There’s so much pressure on moms to do it all but really, NO ONE does it all. You’re so right.

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