I’ve written a lot about how I think other Moms are every Mama’s best resource. Especially when it comes to advice for a New Mom.
Seriously, who can prep you for a whole new world better than someone who is already living in that world?
This is Part 2 in my "Best Advice for Moms" Series. I should actually say our series—not my series. Because this advice is straight from other Mamas. Other Mamas who are not me.
I’ve always gone to my own Mom & my Mom friends for advice. Honestly, I’ve even asked random mothers in the grocery store for advice before (no shame in my mom game).
My favorite part of this series is that it’s totally “For Moms by Moms.” It comes from all of YOU. I love hearing what worked for you, what helped you, & what saved you.
In case you’re just joining in now, here’s the deal: I quizzed thousands (literally) of my “Mom friends” (via @cmon.mama) for their best advice for a New Mom.
And they dished it out. And then some.
Part 1 was the Best Advice for Moms-to-Be. Part 2 is for all you New Mamas out there (but if you’re still a Mommy-to-Be, it will resonate with you, too. Big Time.)
Next up is Part 3: Best Advice for a Breastfeeding Mom.
This is Part 2: Best Advice for a New Mom.
In no particular order:
When you finally meet your baby, listen to them. They will show you what to do.
Trust your instincts. Don’t let what others say influence how you feel about the decisions you’re making. You are the Mother. You know what’s best for the both of you. Even when you think you don’t.
Don’t listen to anyone’s advice who won’t hold the baby while you shower, cry, sleep or pee.
Don’t hide yourself from pictures even if you aren’t happy with your current physical appearance. You’ll regret it! I personally only have 2 pictures of myself & my son until he was a couple weeks old. One picture is of me changing his diaper for the first time & the other is of us before leaving the hospital. That's it. I should have gotten in more pictures all this time. If not for myself, at least for him.
Hold your baby as much as you want. No, you can’t spoil a baby by holding them. Hold them like there’s no tomorrow.
Ask for help! It’s okay to not do it all. And you need more breaks than you think! Take a nap or a walk or something that gets your batteries recharged. Let people bring you dinners & pick up some groceries. Whatever they offer—take it. Or flat-out ask for it! Remember that whole saying about how you can’t fill glasses from an empty jug? Fill yourself up.
Don’t be afraid to tell visitors “not today.”
There is no perfect way to do anything. You can ask others for advice but do your own research, too, and decide what works for you & your family. And it’s okay to change your mind.
What works for you & your baby one day might change a month later! Or even a minute later.
Accept any help you can get. Even if it’s just enough for a nap, a couple of pages from a book, or a shower. It helps.
Take your plans and throw them out the window! Everything from birth plans to child-rearing plans. Babies change daily and what you imagine it will be like may not be how it ends up. But it usually it ends up being 100 times better!
Enjoy early Motherhood because it goes by way too fast. They say "the days are long but the years are short" and they’re right. Cherish it.
After baby arrives, get someone to ask you about your mental state WEEKLY. Maybe even daily. I had severe postpartum depression with my first and was so blessed to have had people checking in on me. Mental health checks are so important!!!!
- Note: Maybe designate a person or two in advance. I’d never thought of doing that until I read this comment but it just might save your life.
Trust your Mom gut & do what you think is best for your baby! Don’t compare your motherhood journey to others because everyone’s is different!
Never say never. Don’t say you won’t do something because NEWSFLASH! You probably will.
Practice self-love. Stop judging yourself. Give yourself grace….lots & lots of grace.
I think the most important thing to know is that Mom instinct is a real thing. Very real.
Document the moments. You won’t remember the things you think you could never forget.
Don’t overthink your actions. Motherhood is full of insane choices. You could stress yourself to death. Move forward, move on, live on, and enjoy the moments.
My advice is simple: Live in the moment & try to be present. During my pregnancy, I envisioned how I would feel and what I would do to be the best mom I could be. I read books, blogs, talked to everyone in my life, & googled way too much information. I thought I was ready for anything. Then, my son was born! I was overwhelmed by my immediate love for him. All of a sudden my mom instincts kicked in & I became a new person. From then on, I lived in the present—not the future. I forgot most of what I learned during my pregnancy, & my husband and I figured out what worked for us as we went.
It’s ok to leave things unfinished. Get as much rest as you can.
Don’t feel bad asking for help! And when people offer help, take it! It takes a village, and a happy Mama is the first step to a happy baby.
That whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" thing...Seriously, DO IT. The laundry, dishes & other housework can wait. Especially the laundry. OMG. It never ends.
Enjoy the snuggles. Those do not last forever. I repeat—those do not last forever.
Mom instinct is so real. We just all of a sudden learn how to figure out what our babies need & want. We somehow just “know” how to be a Mom.
When. You. Can. Don’t put it off because then you’ll miss your chance.
Mom the way you want to mom & don’t cave in to what you “should” be doing. There is no “should!”
‘Mother guilt’ is BS. Don’t let anyone mom-shame you about any decision you make, whether it’s wanting time for yourself (going out, etc.) or a choice you make about your child.
What no one really tells you is being a mom will come naturally to you as soon as you hold your baby for the first time.
There is no way to prepare or understand that until it actually happens. The best comparison I can make is it’s as if a piece of your heart was removed from your body.
You hold your baby for the first time & you feel complete & like they were supposed to be there all along. You’ll feel fierce love & protection all at the same time. It’s the most miraculous & terrifying part.
- (Quick note: I felt this way for sure. But I do know Mothers with PPD / PPA may not always feel this way. If something doesn’t feel right to you, tell someone. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you a brave one.)
I soaked up advice from all of the moms out there & I went through pregnancies with some of my closest friends. What fascinated me is that everyone has unique experiences with their pregnancy, birth, & how they raise their child. I learned there is no “right way.” There is just the “right way for you & your family.”
Understand that we may never be perfect to ourselves, we’re perfect to our children and our children are perfect to us.
Accept now that there will be days you fail as a mother. No one is a perfect mom. There will also be days you win the freaking championship.
You might not be able to breastfeed. No one really tells you that. And it’s not your fault if you can’t.
My advice, listen to your sister.
- I’m the sister. So this might be my favorite one. 🤣
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to grieve life before motherhood. To grieve the woman you were. Some days you’re going to miss her. Becoming a Mother changes you. It’s okay to sometimes say, “I wish things were as before” or “I want a day to myself.”
My advice is general, but just enjoy the ride!
There are highs & lows, hard times & easy times, immense joy followed by immense worry.
You’re growing up a child in the way they should go & it’s dang hard work! But, it’s the best work there ever could be! Being a mom is everything.
If you plan to breast feed know that it may take a little bit for milk to come in & producing only 1-2 ounces at a time in the first couple of months is usually the case. Too often women put too much pressure on themselves & think they can’t produce enough. Your body produces more the longer you do this & the more your child feeds.
DO NOT compare yourself to Brenda on social media. Remember that most of what you see online is fake.
It’s posted to appear perfect. Karen really isn’t making organic baby food in her kitchen on a daily basis. She found a baby food processor at a resale store, bought it, & tried it once. You’ll find it at her next garage sale. Susan isn’t sewing her kids’ clothes & if she is, I guarantee her children are boycotting them.
On the days you question yourself or when you stumble (which you will), don’t forget you were chosen to be this little one’s mother. You. You got this.
A bad day doesn’t make you a bad mom.
That's some good advice for a New Mom. Take it in.
And, before you do anything else check out my OG New Mom article: 14 Things Every New Mom Should get Herself. You need the things on this list, Mama. Trust me. Years later, I still love & use them all.
If you haven’t had your baby yet (& maybe even if you have), check out Part 1 in this series: Best Advice for a Mom-to-Be or Part 3: Best Advice for a Breastfeeding Mom and go read my personal advice for moms-to-be here: 10 Things to do BEFORE the Baby Comes (Pre-Baby Bucket List)