DEAR FIRST TIME MOM - TIPS & TRUTHS
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
I remember attending a baby conference when I was pregnant with my first. I paid attention to all of the practical tips and even made notes. When they started the colic talk, out came my phone and I started checking Facebook. There was no way that I was having a colic baby.
Somehow I believed that if you're a good mom, you'll have a good baby - whatever that means! Did I have a rude awakening! We called the hospital the very first night we arrived home with our firstborn. He would not stop crying! Read more about that HERE.
I've been giving this a lot of thought and reached out to the Mamahood South Africa Facebook groups to find out what they would say to a first time mom. See their comments in-between.
1. DEALING WITH ADVICE
Christien Listen to everyone's advice but follow only the advice you feel comfortable with! You really don't have to follow all the advice that gets thrown your way. Follow your motherly instinct. Google is your worst enemy.
Teana "everyone" has advice. Ignore it all. Do what is best for you and your family in your situation. Get to know your little person. They will tell you when they are tired or hungry. Don't force or fight.
Teresa Decide to listen to 1 person for advice that you can trust and ignore everyone else's tidbits of advice. Otherwise, you will just become confused
Megan Dear first time mom, YOU know your baby best. Better than anyone else in the entire world, even if they've had 25 kids. Nobody has or will EVER raise your child. You know best, mommy. A mistake, when made from a place of love, will do no (emotional) harm.
2. THEY'RE ALL SO DIFFERENT
Christien Babies develop at their own pace. Don't compare your baby to others.
Just like adults, children have their strengths and weaknesses. None of them is good at every single thing. So celebrate your friend's baby's strengths because your baby also has their own strengths, unique to them.
3. WE'RE ALL SO DIFFERENT
Every mom is different in their mothering. There really is no right or wrong way.
4. PEOPLE WILL JUDGE YOU
Christien Your baby your rules. And stick to it! People will judge you in the beginning but ignore them! They will get over themselves.
Sometimes it feels like the judgement will never end. Whether you give birth naturally or via c-section, whether you breastfeed to give formula, whether you co-sleep or not, when you start taking Baby out in public, how you dress Baby, the school you chose. People will always judge.
And guess what... you might judge too!
5. STAY HUMBLE
On the whole judgement subject, I remember the advice my boss gave me while I was struggling with a colic baby: we all get a turn. Whether it's when your child is an infant or a teenager, your turn will somehow come so remain humble and don't judge. You may have an easy baby but get a difficult teen. Or your first child may be super easy, but then the next one comes... just stay humble and try to have empathy when someone else is having their turn.
6. THEY REALLY DO GROW UP TOO FAST
Teana They are only this little for today, don't waste it... The days are long but the years are oh so short and as I write this I have tears in my eyes because it is all slipping away so fast.
7. YOU ONLY GET ONE FIRST
Denise You are only a first time mom once.
With your next child, you will be wiser, busier and less excited about every little thing.
8. MOM GUILT IS REAL
There is always something to feel guilty about, whether it is about the amount of time you spend with your children, how you handled conflict in front of them or perhaps you got frustrated or irritated. Decide from the beginning that you will do your best and not be too hard on yourself. There is something every single one of us can do better.
9. DON'T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED
Things can change in an instant. Try to take in the special moments in the midst of all of the chaos.
10. YOU DON'T NEED ALL OF THE GADGETS
Right now there is a mom somewhere raising a child under a tree. For real. We don't need all of the gimmicks.
11. YOU'RE THE BEST MOM FOR YOUR BABY
Denise You were made for this. Read a lot (and not just google😉), listen to other moms BUT most of all, listen to your gut! Not all advice works for all babies- and enjoy the journey.
Teresa Always remember you are the best mom to your baby, even when you feel like you don't know what you are doing. Your baby loves and trusts you unconditionally. There is no such thing as a bad mom or a stupid mom, just a 1st time mom. You are not expected to know everything or know what to do. Enjoy your baby.
Mandy Even at your worst, to him you are the best. Soak in that look. The look a newborn reserves just for mama . The look that says you are the most beautiful woman in the world and you're more than enough.
Dayna Dear first time mom. Don't be sad when you see those new stretch marks. They are the journey roads of what your body had to go through to bring your beautiful baby into this world. Those kicks in your tummy that you would feel are now in your arms looking into your eyes. Yes your hair is oily, you haven't had a chance to wash your face or brush your teeth, your baby is crying so loud that your ears want to bleed. But as soon as your baba falls asleep you forget all about that and just stare at every inch of their little features. You will have time to clean and sleep don't worry it's not the end of the world. Don't beat your self up when others are constantly telling you how to do things. You carried this baby, no one else did. You can choose to listen to what others say and take their advice or not. You fought the battle to get baby into this world... Not them. You doing an amazing job. Well done ❤️
12. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Nicola Your baby needs a happy mom not a perfect mom
Teana Take time to look after yourself (I still struggle with this) but an empty Teapot can not fill a cup and that's what you are, mommy. You are the teapot filling all the cups around you. Your children, your marriage, your household and your career so take care of you.
Enjoy them. Leave the dishes or sleep in an unmade bed tonight because that little person would love to show you how they are learning and growing.
13. PURPOSEFULLY ENJOY MOTHERHOOD
Lynne I think having had two kids, I can clearly see the difference in how I raised the first one compared to the second one. I had a 5 year gap between my boys so it's even more obvious. Moral of the story for me was that I relaxed a lot more with the 2nd one and ENJOYED the experience more than worrying that I did it right or by the book. They grow up fine either way, whether we stress about it or not. I wish I raised my first like I did my second. Would have laughed a lot more. Also, with time, you realize how resilient these little creatures are. We don't give them enough credit. I no longer fight over food for instance. Which I did a lot with my first. They will eat when they are hungry, whether you like it or not. Do the things that work for you and make you happy as a mom. It is one of the most rewarding but tough tasks you will undertake in your life. Revel in it
Kaylee Advice I would give to a first time mom would be to relax and enjoy the little things. Never be afraid to ask for help. Also, don't forget about caring for yourself. A healthy, happy you equals a healthy, happy baby!
14. YOU WON'T ALWAYS ENJOY MOTHERHOOD - AND THAT'S OK
You will always love your children, but there will be times when you don't like them, and that is completely normal.
Chadene Dear first time mom it's ok to cry, don't let anyone tell you different you are also a human and you just did an incredible thing so you are going to feel so overwhelmed that you don't know your brain from your butt and that's ok. Let it out and don't be afraid to talk about it to your partner and let them help you don't have to do it all on your own if they are there to help you. It's ok to scream with frustration. You will get there but just remember this is the best time of your life no matter what enjoy that little person love them through all the tears, fears and doubts because they love you unconstitutionally and you are their whole world.
15. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ADAPT
The moment our firstborn started playing on the tabletops, we went to the outdoor store and bought thick rubber to protect our coffee table. It's still there. It's almost five years later. There is a toy mountain in our living room and my kitchen utensils are everywhere, including the garden! If you don't adapt and go with the flow, it's going to be harder on you.
Melinda Don't buy anything nice for a LONG time - especially furniture.
16. IT'S HARD
Tiffany When you feel like a failure and everything you trying is not working and that your child must be faulty, just remember it has a 0 return policy, and that as long as you trying to do something you are actually doing pretty well xx
Susan It will be hard. You will feel like you can't do it. But you will and you are. You are everything your little baby needs even if it doesn't feel like it. You are more than enough. You are incredible. You grew that tiny human. Trust your body. Trust your instinct.
17. YOU WILL FIND YOUR GROOVE
There will be times when you feel lost and confused. You will doubt yourself. We all do. I still do with number three.
You will find what works for you - not what works for your aunt or mother in-law or friend - and before you know it things will get a lot easier.
Stephanie Bring a FTM is a learning curve. You will learn that what works for someone else's baby might not work for yours. It's like baking a cake or cooking something for the first time. Trial and error. Don't let other people tell you how to raise your baby
18. THERE ARE GROSS BITS
You will get poop under your fingernails. Really. Many times. You will most likely catch vomit in your hands and scoop floaters from the bathwater. Promise it will be ok.
19. IT REALLY DOES GET EASIER
I have this joke with my husband where I'd say "it either gets easier or I'm becoming crazier." It really, really gets easier.
Dayna You are an amazing mother, you are worthy, you are doing your best, everything will be okay, trust your instincts but most importantly. You got this!
20. DON'T NEGLECT YOUR HUSBAND
It's beautiful and amazing to get to know each other in a whole new way. Don't let your husband feel like an afterthought during this season. You made this child together and you need each other now more than ever. Make him a priority, even if it means missing out on sleep.
21. GET USED TO BEING INTERRUPTED
The more children you have, the worse it gets, but it's like you can never just complete one task when the children are around. Packing the dishwasher can take me a whole morning with making snacks, wiping bums and feeding the baby in-between.
22. THE THINGS YOU SAID YOU'D NEVER DO
Threatening and bribing.... say no more! Oh and letting Baby sleep in the bed.
23. YOUR FRIENDSHIPS WILL CHANGE
You may lose some friendships and gain new ones. Not all of your friends from before are going to be comfortable visiting you with 5000 interruptions in one conversation. You might find yourself more comfortable around friends who have interruptions of their own.
24. YOUR TIRED WILL BE TIRED
I don't know how, but somehow we manage to cope with the minimum sleep. Somehow you just go on and it all works out.
25. YOU WILL LEARN TO LET SOME THINGS GO
I remember when my first was born the adult colouring books rage was in full swing. I dreamed about colouring in - perhaps just because I couldn't. The rage has blown over and I still haven't had the time or energy for it.
I asked my husband to help me drag the elliptical trainer into the living room about two months ago. That day I managed to do 10 minutes, with an audience while answering a million questions. The next day I put on my workout clothes. The end.
There will be time and energy for all of the things we want to do again.
26. YOU'LL LAUGH A LOT
Whether it be at the silly things you do while exhausted, or at the hilarious things they do and say. It's such a joy!
27. THEY HELP YOU GROW
I've learned to be more patient, to be more kind and compassionate - simply because that's what I've needed most in this season.
28. YOU ARE BRAVER AND STRONGER THAN YOU COULD EVERY IMAGINE
Jana Dear first time mom, it is the most rewarding most difficult thing you will ever do. And it is ok to feel overwhelmed and unsure at times. You will be bombarded with well-intentioned (sometimes quite adamant) good advice that may not suit you or your family. It is ok to not follow what everyone else is doing but find your own groove. Whether you had a C-section or natural birth are breastfeeding or formula feeding, are co-sleeping or baby is in their own room is not what makes you a good or bad parent. Loving baby to the best of your ability is what matters. Your mental health also matters - you cannot take care of someone else if you are not well. It is ok to need a break, it is ok to accept help. You got this mommy - your baby chose you as a mom, you are the right person for the job.
29. BOUNDARIES WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Everyone will want to hold the baby. Everyone will want to visit. Not everyone will respect your privacy or space. You are going to have to place limitations if you need to.
Linda Dear first time mom, your postpartum uniform will be your pj's use them as long as you need, don't be afraid to say no to visitors. You are just as important as Baby, if not more so! Be patient with yourself and baby your both learning a world of new things
30. YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Linda Don't stress about the hospital bag a list of things is easy to put together, plan a support system for when Baby is here.
You're going to need people. Don't say no to help.
31. ON BIRTH...
Whether you choose natural or c-section and whether your natural turns out to be a c-section, it's all ok. Prepare for both. My first was born naturally 30 minutes before my emergency c-section, there wasn't even time for an epidural. It was absolutely fine.
Melanie You might poop but that's ok. Nobody cares because you're pushing a human out your body. Be one with the poop....ohmmmmmmmm
32. ON BREASTFEEDING...
Janis I wish someone had told me this before I got sick trying... hey mom it’s okay if you cannot breastfeed!
I wish someone told me how hard breastfeeding is. For something so "natural" I really don't get why it doesn't come naturally to everyone. If you're dead set on breastfeeding, don't hesitate to get the help of a breastfeeding consultant if you get stuck.
33. YOU REALISE HOW MUCH YOU REALLY NEED GOD
Just the thought that my little ones are out there in the world on their own freaks me out. I pray. I pray for the Lord's protection and guidance over their lives. Sadly, knowing Jesus doesn't guarantee a pain free life, but He is our Anchor that holds through any storm that life may bring.
34. LISTEN, NONE OF US HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER
Whether you're a mom of one or a mom of six, none of us knows it all. We get scared, we mess up, we are embarrassed to ask questions. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others. You are not alone and you're not the only one struggling in some areas.
BEAUTIFUL WORDS IN CONCLUSION
Refilwe Dear first time mom, it starts off with your emotions running wild. You're scared, excited, nervous, really you don't know how to feel about your bundle of joy growing inside you. You make it through the heartburn, cravings and childbirth. Then you hold your baby for the first time and suddenly all you feel is love, love unlike anything you've felt before. Yes, things will be difficult and that's ok. You don't need to figure everything out at once. Listen when people give advice but also see what works best for you. Don't let anyone judge you for how you raise your baby, don't listen to anyone that says you're not good enough. You do what's best for you and baby. You will have days where you just want to cry and that's totally ok. Have a support system in place, friends and family to help you so you can have time to rest, you can't do it all on your own you'll make yourself miserable. It's ok to ask for help. Lastly, stock up on baby stuff every month when it's on special
Carien Dear first-time mom, wow, look at what you made!! You made a human!! A whole new human!! How amazing are you??! Do not let anybody try to tell you that you are not the amazing person you are! Now begins the most fun, exhausting, overwhelming, sometimes frustrating, loving, compassionate and emotionally rewarding journey you have ever been on! Hang on, there will be days that you feel you have this parenting thing down pat, and other days where you feel you are the worst parent ever. Embrace those!! Its OK to say you need a break, its OK to say your kid is annoying you, its OK to say I love you but I don't like you right now, it's OK to say NO to whomever you want to, but mostly its OK to say you are not OK and need help. Take help as far as you want to, and say no to those who are in your space. Most importantly, that small human you made will love you more than you will ever imagine and could ever fathom, use that to get you through the hard days and slide through the easy ones.