10 Indispensible Tips for Clueless New Moms

Baby 130

When you’re pregnant, people are filled with unsolicited advice for you: What you should eat. What you shouldn’t eat. How to sleep, how to exercise, how to tell what gender the baby is, how to do everything. And it doesn’t stop once the baby arrives. People love to offer their two cents, but I don’t recall receiving much advice that was actually helpful. In the least.

Here’s what I wish I’d been told ...

1. Breast may be best, but formula is fine too. I couldn’t breastfeed. I envisioned myself all earth mothery, hair flowing and child at the boob, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The first few weeks with Lily were heartbreaking and frustrating. People told me how to hold her, how to pump, and how to increase milk production. But, not once, did anybody tell me that it was OK to feed her formula. That she would still bond with me and that she would still thrive. Which she did.

2. Don’t rush home from the hospital. You have nurses waiting on you, room service, clean linens appearing without you ever having to load the washing machine ... enjoy it! Things won’t be the same at home.

3. It’s a baby, not an alien. In other words, don’t stress yourself out with fancy baby crap. I shopped around for changing tables for months. You want to know the only place all three of my children ever got changed? The kitchen counter. It’s the perfect height, requires no climbing up the stairs, and diapers easily fit in a drawer below. The fancy stuff is fun, but most times unnecessary.

4. Accept all babysitting offers. People love new babies and will be thrilled to hold your little one while you shower, cook a meal, or take a nap. Holding a newborn is a joy. A 2-year-old? Not so much. Take people up on their offers now, they have a very limited shelf life.

5. Point the penis down to prevent leaky boy diapers. (Why on earth doesn't anybody tell you this?)

6. Don’t buy infant clothes. You may not be able to resist a few pieces, but don’t go crazy. People will be giving you plenty and you will most likely just use the same few pieces right out of the dryer. And don’t take the tags off of anything until you absolutely need to. Before Lily came home from the hospital, I washed every item through 6 months and folded them in her drawers. She never wore three quarters of them and I couldn’t return or regift a thing.

7. Resist anything with a million snaps or buttons. As adorable as they may be, they’ll bring you to tears at three o’clock in the morning. Elasticized layettes will be your best friend for the first few weeks.

8. Keep an emergency diaper kit in the car. I remember showing up for our first pediatrician appointment with no diapers, no wipes, and no change of clothes. It takes getting used to schlepping around all of that crap, and newborn diaper blow-outs are inevitable. Be prepared.

{But when in doubt ...}

9. Ask for help. Once you’re a mom, you become a member of “the mom club.” We’ve all been there before -- I’m never ashamed to ask a stranger with kids if she can spare a few spare wipes should mine run out and am happy to give that crying kid at the park some goldfish. We’re all human, you know?

10.  Enjoy it. Not because it goes by so fast (and it does), but because as exhausted as you may be, the first few months are truly the easiest. If you should have another child, you will wonder why you thought a single newborn was so tough. But you’ll never believe it until you’re there.


Image via photosavvy/Flickr

baby first year, baby gear, bonding, breastfeeding


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SandM... SandMsMama

agree with all but the first.. thanks for perpetuating the "it's so hard" myth.

Jenni Alvey

Yes, NOBODY told me the angle of the dangle mattered! Had to figure it out on my own to point the penis DOWN.

SandMsMama....I exclusively BF my daughter for 10mos & still am BFing my son - it is HARD. Don't be so tough on mommas who just can't and/or won't do it anymore.

SandM... SandMsMama

oh I totally get it, the formula is there and they take the easy way out. I've bf 2 kids, still going strong with the second, and he's 16 months. the TRUTH is, if you look at is as the only option (and it is the only if you want the best for your kids) and you do your research on how bad formula really is, it's not that hard to stick to bfing.

Littl... LittleManMama

I struggled so hard to BF my son and so often there is a feeling that we can't talk about BF struggles because we might scare mamas away from doing it and I hate that sentiment, I don't think that has any bearing on why some mamas are successful and others are not. Anyway, my hospital experience was not relaxing! I couldn't wait to get home. And I disagree about the snaps--I loved the sleepers with snaps because I could only undo the legs to change his diaper and he was always chilly in those early days it seemed. Of course once he got bigger and there were more snaps that was a different story entirely.

Littl... LittleManMama

SandMsMama, comments like that only reinforce the "breastfeeding nazi" myth which actually does turn people off from BF. The TRUTH is that there are many reasons that formula is necessary and formula aves babies lives. It is not there for "lazy" moms. BTW I am still breastfeeding my 14 month old.

jpfsmom jpfsmom

SandsMsMamma obviously you are looking for a cookie for your take hush, you sound ridiculous...formula isn't poison but your rhetoric are not doing any favors for the movement and I am a breastfeeder!

Stacey Busenbark Sanders

I wish I had been told formula was fine too-I hate it when these holier than thou moms look down upon people that use formula. I took fenugreek to try and boost the non existent supply, pumped every two hours for 45 mins-it was horrible, and even then only got 1.5 ounces between both for the entire day...while my daughter lost a ton of weight and became quite jaundiced. Believe me,formula is not the easy way out when everyone looks down on you for using it! No new mom should be made to feel like crap because of the way she nourishes her baby.

FourK... FourKidsSoFar

I loved this list! I'm going to share it with a friend about to become a mom for the first time! And I agree about breastfeeding, it's not for everyone. I nursed all my kids 13-plus months but the first time for me was really really hard (cracked nipples, bleeding, thrush...)!

pezch... pezcharlotte

ARGH.  SAndMsMama,  my child refused to breastfeed. I tried everything including going to lactation specialists, the pediatrician. Everything. And you know what she still wouldn't do it.  I ended up pumping for her for as long as I was emotionally able which was 6 months and yes now she gets formula.  Honestly it is people like you that make some aspects of motherhood so hard.  I can't even begin to say how angry you have made me.  Stop speaking for other people. That is wonderful that you were able to bf your kids but that is not the case for everyone.

nonmember avatar A

You changed your kids on the kitchen counter? GROSS!

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