Being a mother is one of the most important jobs in the world. You are raising the future. Yet there is so much they don’t tell you when you have a baby and so much to learn! Your life is about to change dramatically. Since my kids are getting older, I asked some of my friends who recently had babies for some advice. Here are some things that we thought would be beneficial to tell you.
Know that every child is unique and each experience will be slightly different. Try to take the advice that works for you and your child and your specific situation. Don’t worry if your child is slower or faster than the norm, whatever that is! My least favorite thing I heard when my kids were little was, “Enjoy this time when they are little because it goes by so fast!” I thought that phase of motherhood would never end! But I can now say to you that it really does go by super fast and so try to enjoy each moment!
Being from a big family, I grew up around kids! I’d play with them and get them to smile and then hand them back to their parents. I really wanted a big family until I had one child. It was way more work than I realized! My mom made it look so easy! Babies need so much of your time and need help with everything. It really is a selfless work!
Preparing for the baby. One thing that I loved to do was to wash all of the baby clothes before hand. I was amazed how many things shrunk after a wash and then the outfit wouldn’t fit anymore. I bought one jar of super sensitive laundry detergent to use on the baby clothes. Just in case they had an allergy to my detergent. Then, I like to sort the clothes by size and also by how big it looks. 3-6 months is a wide range so sort the smaller ones followed by the bigger looking ones. I put the newborn-3 months in the closet and the rest in a bin or a drawer labeled so I would know which ones were next.
SET UP A SLEEPING SCHEDULE. I was surprised by how much newborns sleep. My mom told me to make sure and wake them up every 2 hours or so during the day and let them sleep as long as they could at night. This really did help them sleep longer at night. By 4 months they were sleeping through the night. Try to put them down at the same time every night. It’s great to have a bedtime routine for them…bath, jammies, nurse, wrap them tightly, etc. I’d recommend that you don’t sleep with your baby no matter how tired you are. That is an awfully hard habit to break and really disturbs your love life!
Tag team with your spouse. Let them help whenever they can. One of my kids cried a lot in the evenings so my husband would hold her and I would nap until about 11 PM when I would feed her one last time. Those extra hours of sleep really helped me. Let your spouse help with changing and bathing, especially when you have more kids. Let them be an active part of this exciting time.
Get outside! Staying home with a baby can make you feel cooped up. Being outside rejuvenates me. Go for walks. Get some Vitamin D! All of my kids loved the baby carriers and strollers. Most times it would lull them to sleep. I would walk with my husband or neighbors. It really helped me feel better and the kids love it.
Nursing can be very hard but breast milk is so good for your baby’s health. Plus, it is a good bonding time for you and your baby. It doesn’t always come easily to everyone or feel natural but it is definitely worth the effort. I used to talk to my babies and sing to them while they nursed or just sit quiet and try not to fall asleep (pre-cell phones). Now my friends say they use nursing time to read books, binge watch Netflix, or catch up on Social Media.
My sister is a lactation consultant and she gave some helpful advice. She recommends that you breastfeed within an hour after the infant is born, avoid pacifiers and bottles for the first 3 weeks, and feed the infant on demand. If you experience any pain, make sure to get help early. There are certified lactation consultants at the hospital that can help or you can call one when you get home. Here are some helpful links. Here’s one for starting out breastfeeding newborns. Here’s one for if it is difficult. Here’s one for if you have sore nipples/breasts. Yes. It can be painful and weird! Good luck! Enjoy this special time with your little one.
BOOKS. Give your baby books as toys. It is so important for them to get familiar with books early in life. I loved finding books about shapes, animal sounds, or mirror ones. I’m a big fan of getting books into their hands as early as possible. Even if they just slobber on them at first. Read to your children even when they are little. As they start to interact, ask lots of questions like, “What color is it?” or “Do you like the red or blue?”. I love the scene from “3 Men and a Baby” when Tom Selek is holding the baby and reading the sports page in a sweet voice. He says that it really doesn’t matter what you read, but just the tone of voice you use. Try it. Read to your babies. My kids all loved books early on and still love them.
Take lots of pictures and videos! Try to document every milestone. First tooth, first step, etc. Social media is great for reminding us to do that. Also write down all of the cute things they say and do! Those memories fade fast! My kids love to watch our family videos when they were little and look at their baby books. Can you blame them? They were adorable!
Sick babies. It is so hard when your baby is miserable. How do you know when you should take them in? It is so easy to google symptoms now. You can also call the nurse at your doctor’s office and ask them if they need you to bring your child in. I always felt like if I wasn’t sure, to bring them to the doctor. You can get baby sized Tylenol and Advil. Dosage is measured by the baby’s weight. It is so helpful when they are teething or get shots. You can also alternate between the two of them every few hours if it gets bad.
Childproof your house as they grow. There isn’t a lot you have to do when they are newborns. Usually when your baby starts moving then you start with the ground level items and work your way up…like gates on stairs, locks on lower cabinets, extra cords, and plug covers. My girls would sit next to me and play with their toys and didn’t get into much. But my son really liked to explore and get into things so we had to do some heavy duty childproofing. It was surprising to see what he could get into. Another thing to remember as they start eating solids is to avoid choking hazards..round hard candies, hot dogs cut in circles, and whole grapes.
Get some YOU TIME! Lack of sleep makes you feel tired and anxious and unsteady. Make sure to plan time for yourself. Get naps when you can, rest often, exercise regularly, eat healthy, drink water, and take your vitamins. Find a craft or hobby that you enjoy or try a new one so you have something to look forward to. Find a friend or family member that you can rely on. I had a good friend that would walk with me as we pushed our newborns in strollers. Adult time outside was exactly what my sanity needed! We used to swap kids with some neighbors so we could have a date night. Get creative! Grandma and Grandpa love to spend time with those precious kids!
“God’s most extraordinary work is most often done by ordinary people in the seeming obscurity of a home and family.”Neal A. Maxwell
It’s going to be okay! Give yourself some grace. Being a mother doesn’t always come natural and some days are going to be rough. You are learning a whole new skill set and don’t have an instruction manual! (Although now you can find so many tips online!) Being a mom is hard work and if all you have done is keep you and your baby alive, you have done enough that day! Keep at it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help! So many moms know exactly what you are feeling and would gladly help out! Learn from your mistakes. Also remember that prayer is another great source of strength and inspiration. The Lord will help you if you ask!
Moms truly are the best! God chose you. There is no better mom on this planet for your baby than you! You are doing a great work. You are raising the next generation. Never discount your job as a mom. It is more valuable than society lets on! It will get easier and so worth it!
***This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. The links are mostly there for your info.***