As I prepare for my third baby (or rather....do no preparing at all) I thought back to when I had my first baby at 21 and all the crazy things I did to survive. Oh how I wish I had someone giving me first-time mommy advice! So in the spirit of all things baby...I thought I'd put together a list of things I wish I had known when I became a mom.
1. Ask For Help
As a first time mom that has NO CLUE what you're doing...don't be afraid to ask for help! I promise, no one will look down on you; no one will think you are incapable; and no one will question your sanity. You are tired and basically everything in your body will hurt, give yourself a break and just ask for help!
2. Give Yourself A Break From Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is freaking hard. It's amazing don't get me wrong but it's hard. No one tells you that part. But it is. Your boobs will get huge, become hard like rocks, and your nipples will become chapped and dry (sorry for the graphics but I promise you'll be glad I told you). Don't give up ladies! But know that it IS ok to take a break. Pump for a feeding and let your hubby bottle feed your babe. I PROMISE this will not confuse your baby nor hinder it from breastfeeding. It will simply give you and your breasts the break you need.
3. Don't Put So Much Pressure On Yourself
You are doing a great job! Don't lose anymore sleep over all the things that you wish to control. Seriously, you just went through one of the most painful and life altering processes EVER and the last thing you need is to stress yourself out by adding more pressure to your plate. Let the laundry slide one more day, order take out if you can't seem to get dinner on the table, watch netlfix if you want to just watch netflix. It's OK!
4. EAT! Ask Your Friends To Help Prepare A Meal For Your Family
This was the hardest thing for me after having both my babies. You almost forget to eat but seriously...DON'T! If you are breastfeeding you will be prone to a bigger appetite and it's important to continue to nourish your body with the food that it needs to replenish all those calories it's expending on making that milk. If you're apart of a church group or a moms group in your area ask if they wouldn't mind setting up some sort of meal train for you and your family. This will SAVE you! I promise!
5. Don't Spend Your Money On Those Expensive Baby Outfits. They're A Headache.
We all get sucked into those adorable baby outfits that we see at Target or Toys-R-Us; they make us "oooo" and "ahhh" over their cuteness but I assure they're impracticality isn't worth the money spent. You will end up hating every minute of trying to get that one piece over their head, while they're screaming bloody murder, only to have to change them 5 minutes later because they spit up...again. It's not worth it, trust me! Get comfy, cozy jammies and those amazing sleeping sacs! Best purchase ever!
6. Take A Bath With Your Newborn
I know a lot of health professionals tell you not to take a bath the first couple weeks after giving birth but seriously that's a bunch of crap. Just clean your stinkin' tub with some bleach and give yourself a well deserved soaking session. And while you're at it, bring your newborn with you! They will love it 10 times more than those newborn bath tubs I assure you! I did this with BOTH my babies and they would fall asleep during bath time! They never once cried in the water.
7. Don't Feel Guilty Taking A Nap
We mom's do a phenomenal job of guilt tripping ourselves into believing that we don't deserve certain things but let me tell you something...there is absolutely NO shame in giving yourself the rest that your body needs AND deserves. So nap when the baby naps...forget the laundry or ask your mom to come over so you can take a nap. Whatever it takes....DO IT!
8. It's Ok To Take A Shower While The Baby Is Sleeping
I remember thinking that for some reason if I wasn't right next to my baby when he/she was sleeping that something terrible would happen, so I would convince myself that I couldn't even take a 10 minute shower. That is a bunch of crap ladies. Go take a shower...I promise they will be perfectly fine! If it eases your mind put them in a rock-n-play and bring them in the bathroom with you (I may have done that once or twice).
9. Let Your Hubby Clean A Poppy Diaper
Give your husband a few chores every now and then. He has to learn at some point how to clean up after baby. Don't let him off the hook! Throw him a fresh diaper and some wipes and let him figure it out. Also...stop being so controlling about the perfect way that a diaper goes on...eventually he'll figure it out and you will be a better woman for getting out of your comfort zone!
10. One Cup Of Coffee Is Not Going To Kill Your Baby
I've heard so many women say that you shouldn't drink coffee while your breastfeeding and all I have to say to that is...that's stupid. If you drank coffee while you were pregnant than first of all, you are MORE than ok to be consuming a cup of joe. And secondly, ONE cup of coffee is not going to send your baby into some kind of caffeine comatose. They will be unphased by it I promise you!
11. Stop Stressing Over The Small Stuff
This goes along with #3. You can't control the world and most the time you can't even control your baby. That's just the truth. Put down the baby books and be okay with "breaking the rules." Not everything you read is going to work for you so just start doing what DOES. Believe it or not, you have your very own motherly instincts that are specific to you! Trust them!
If you're a first time mommy-to-be, I'd love to hear from YOU! What are some things you're nervous about? Or have questions about? For all of those that have had babies...what is ONE piece of advice you'd give to a first time mom?
*Pictures taken by Alisa Nicholle Photography. Alisa, is a 21 year old, college student with an intense passion for capturing special moments on camera. She is insanely talented, and fun to work with. If you are in the Champaign area and are in need of an amazing photographer check Alisa out on her website!