First Year Motherhood Survival Tips With Jillian Darlington of MomCo App! by Donna John
Whether you’re pregnant or have a new baby, you may be wondering how you’ll manage the first year of motherhood. Pregnancy and babies change everything, and there’s so much to learn! Luckily, we had Jillian Darlington of MomCo App on hand to share survival tips for the first year of motherhood. Jillian is CEO and founder of @MomCoApp, and she’s also a single mom, entrepreneur and tech lover.
Q: What can moms do when they are still pregnant to prepare for that first week home?
“You should not worry about meals,” says Jillian. “At your baby shower, have a sign-up sheet for your friends to bring meals that first week. Put a gift certificate to a cleaning agency on your registry! You will want to sleep with any free time, not clean! Set up a changing area with all of the supplies upstairs and downstairs. You will be changing lots of diapers! Put everything you need in one place so you don’t have to move if you don’t want to. I lived in my Lazy Boy chair for the first week.”
The 30Second Mom community had lots to add!
- “If you have older children, try to find someone that can care for them during the day for that first week.” – @BethBryanMom
- “Meal train! We had friends bring meals and help clean for the first two weeks! Best help ever!” – @morris_meaghan
- “Accept the help. People want to help and take their offerings.” – @JustMelz
- “Gather your troops, family and girlfriends and ask for help taking care of older kiddies, making meals. I got groceries delivered through @PeapodDelivers meals from @FreshDirect. Lifesavers!” – @nyctechmommy
Q: When you were a first-time mom, what surprised you most at the hospital or after the baby came home?
“Nothing prepares you for the sleep deprivation,” says Jillian. “Take the advice that everyone gives. Sleep when the baby sleeps! Your hair falls out after you have a baby. Total shocker! Moms should be warned about that beforehand. You feel like your body just went through a hurricane.”
Here’s what surprised the 30Second Mom community!
- “Funny, but everything I had learned via nurses went out the window. Life with Baby! It
- was also a big reality check for Daddy. He didn’t realize all that goes into Baby.” – @DialMforMoms
- “Those mesh panties and how big the pads were. I had never seen them before and was kind of shocked.” – @BethBryanMom
- “I never knew how much I could love someone until held my daughter for the first time.” – @OneComMama
- “HARD to really nap when there is SO MUCH to do. Please, please, new mommies, nap when you can!” – @LisaFilholm
- “New moms need to give themselves lots of time to recover. Nine months in and nine months out.” – @WeeHands
Q: Do you/did you use any technology to help you as new mom? Which ones were your favorites?
“There are some great apps to help with tracking a baby’s feeding, diaper changes, sleep schedule. Check out @BabyBundleApp,” says Jillian. “Check out the @whitenoiseapp! You no longer need to turn on the vacuum cleaner to put your baby to sleep! Great information and so many resources can be found on @thebump for expecting and new moms! I wish I had the @MomCoApp when I had my son. It would have made finding friends and businesses that cater to me much easier! The @30SecondMom app would have been great to browse through for quick mom tips while I was breastfeeding!”
The 30Second Mom community uses technology as well, of course!
- “I checked @Babycenter constantly to see where the development of my baby was and during the first year.” – @BethBryanMom
- “Pandora for my little girl. She loves singing voices.” – @KellyWonderlin
Q: Why do you think it is important to find a tribe of mom friends?
“Your mom friends truly understand what you are going through. It helps to have someone to go to for advice or just to vent,” says Jillian. “You need people that you can relate to and will NOT judge you when you tell them the stories that come up as a parent. Your mom friends will help you in the time of need. You need a last-minute babysitter, they get it and will pitch in.”
The community loves their mommy friends, too!
- “My mommy friends are so important to me. We go out once a month to just talk and have fun.” – @BethBryanMom
- “I would not have made it without my mom friends and we are all still there for each other as kids grow.” – @southhillsmom
- “No one should mother alone. My mom tribe saved me when I suffered postpartum depression. Being a mom can be lonely.”— @morris_meaghan
Q: What are some tips that you have found to help soothe a fussy baby?
“Change the surroundings. If you are inside, go outside. For more tips go here,” says Jillian. “If the baby is teething, put teething rings in the freezer. They like the cold feeling on their gums. Sing them a song. Babies love the sound of their mom’s voice.”
The community shared these great baby-soothing tips!
- “Soft swaddling and soft lighting/music.” – @4jlessad
- “My son had colic. I would stand up with him facing forward and bounce for hours. I was exhausted.” – @BethBryanMom
- “Soothing a fussy baby is a car ride. Sometimes, only that will do.” – @JennylouRaya
Q: What tips do you have for moms that are concerned about losing the baby weight?
“Try to work in some exercise where the baby can participate. Go for walks or join a stroller mom group like @NewMomFitness,” says Jillian. “Prepare healthy snacks that you can take on the go in the baby bag. Eliminates the need to snack on Cheerios/Goldfish! Drink plenty of water. Buy a large water bottle and make yourself fill up/drink two a day. Try to avoid sugar and carbs, so you can keep eating enough calories for your milk production while still losing weight. I avoided sugar, but to satisfy my sweet tooth, I loved sugar-free Jell-O and pudding with Cool Whip.”
Even more great advice from the 30Second Mom community!
- “Be kind to yourself and embrace all that your body created. You can also consult with a health coach.” – @JustMelz
- “Everything changes when you have a baby, including perceptions/priorities.” – @JugglingActMama
Q: What are ways that moms can ease into the transition of going back to work after maternity leave?
“Discuss with your manager any flex-work schedule options. Maybe work from home two days a week or adjusting work hours,” says Jillian. “See if your company has a room dedicated to moms that are pumping. Many corporations are now offering this to new moms. Talk to your mom friends that have been through it. Going back to work can be an emotional time and they listen/understand.”
The chat wrapped up with wonderful words of wisdom and comradery!
- “Talk to your caregiver about texting you and sending pictures. Helped make me smile while I was at work.” – @BethBryanMom
- “Have emergency babysitters in place. Know your company policies. Know that going back to work is a process. Takes time to smooth out rough edges.” – @DialMforMoms
- “If you can ease into it maybe try to go back part-time for a while before you go back to full-time. Have support from you friends and family and also co-workers. It is stressful and having support helps.” – @southhillsmom
- “Love yourself! Whether you work or stay home, you are an amazing mom! Don’t get in the fight of SAHM vs. WAHM.” – @JennylouRaya