21 Top Tips for New Motherhood: Honest Advice From Moms Who Have Been There by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
My sons are 12 and 8. It’s been a while since I’ve had a newborn or experienced new motherhood, but I remember those days vividly. I think of them often and remember that those early days of motherhood were as challenging as they were joyful. I remember how I felt as a new mom – happy, sleep deprived, overjoyed, overwhelmed. I wish I could go back in time and give myself some advice, tell that new mom to trust her instincts, tell her that she’s doing fine, that she’s the perfect mom for her baby.
I can’t do that, but I can offer other new moms support. I also can offer advice, gathered from women who have been there. I asked moms with children of all ages what they wish they had known in those early days of motherhood, and what advice they’d offer a new mom today. These 21 tips are our gift to you, new mom. Welcome to a most special tribe. Know that you are not alone. We’re all in this together.
- “I was nervous about whether or not I was doing everything ‘right.’ I wish I would have trusted my instincts because I knew what was best for my baby.”
- “I wish I had known what postpartum depression felt like and what signs to look for. It took a couple years for me to realize that I had been suffering from it. People dote on pregnant moms, but once the baby is born, we are left to figure things out on our own. I don’t think people think enough about the mental healing that is involved after delivery. Becoming a parent for the first time is such a huge transition that more support needs to be available, and moms need to be more aware of the signs of PPD.”
- “I wish I had known that motherhood can feel more hard than beautiful and that you’re not a bad mom if you don’t love motherhood right away. Motherhood is hard, but people don’t tell you that.“
- "Ask for help and accept the help.”
- “It’s OK for the baby not to be held all the time.”
- “New motherhood can be isolating. Find your tribe – a moms’ group, a book club, a yoga class – whatever you need to feel connected.”
- “Don’t stress about stuff around the house. It can wait.”
- “Nap when your baby naps.”
- “Babies and kids cry. Don’t worry if your kid cries in public.”
- “Never say never, i.e. ‘I will never allow my child to’ or ‘My child will never…’ This will come back to haunt you. Trust me.”
- “Don’t feel guilty making time for yourself. Whatever you enjoy, do that thing.”
- “Don’t stress out over the criticism and opinions of others. Focus on being the mom you want to be; parent the way you want to parent.”
- “Just like every baby is different, every mom is different, too.”
- “If you don’t want to or can’t breastfeed, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. And if you want to breastfeed and are struggling, reach out to a lactation specialist for help.”
- “A schedule and routine can be your best friend.”
- “Don’t compare yourself to other moms. No one is Super Mom (and we wouldn’t like her anyway!). Remember that social media only shows us what people want us to see.”
- “Know that your partner will parent differently than you do, and that’s OK.”
- “Enjoy the evening after your kids go to bed. Try not to spend the entire time on chores.”
- “Have someone take photos of you with your kids. Don’t worry about what you look like. Don’t pose. You won’t regret it; you’re capturing the essence of your life together.”
- “Print your family photos. Frame them. Swiping at photos on a phone or computer just isn’t the same thing. As your kids grow up, they will love seeing how they’ve changed, and so will you.”
- “If I’ve learned anything at all about parenting, it’s this: the days are long but the years are short. Make the most of them – whatever that means for you and your family.”
Please share your advice for first-time moms below! Thanks to the 30Seconds tribe members who contributed to this post: Holly Budde, Elisa All Schmitz, KimberlyCard, Lisa Cullen, Samantha Harris, Renee Herren, Lisa Hix, Cindy Hlywa, Kimberly Johnson, Mary Pat King, Denise Mantell, Heather Murphy-Fritz, Ella Paynter, Meredith Schneider, Katie Sloan, Mellica Telemacque and Kim Wadsworth.
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