As a working mom of three kids under 10, I know firsthand that life can be pretty busy at times! Juggling work, kids and family is a nonstop endeavor. But the No. 1 question I always get from expecting mamas or new parents: What do you wish you had known as a first-time mom?
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Although motherhood is a different journey for everyone, we all can learn from each other. I remember those first few months of motherhood, feeling so hectic while everything was so new — from the newborn routine (even finding a routine) to figuring out how to find time for myself. Gone were the days of sleeping in on weekends or popping into a last-minute yoga class at my leisure. Yet, I was so excited for this new chapter! I was exhausted but energized, overwhelmed but encouraged!
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It didn’t take long to realize there were some things no one could have prepared me for. I just had to experience them firsthand. However, several untapped basics would have made life a whole lot easier during the last few months of pregnancy and first few months of motherhood if one of my trusted mama friends had shouted them from the rooftop (or whispered in my ear). Keep reading to find out what I wish I had known as a first-time mom.
Tips for first-time moms
Keep every onesie or clothing item you receive. In the beginning, I wanted to keep only the super cute pieces and return the less stylish ones. Instead, use your non-favorites as extras in your diaper bag in case the good ones get ruined while you’re out. Blow-outs are a real thing! You’ll be happy you packed them.
Ask for help from the ones you love. Have loved ones help around the house, cook meals, clean or do laundry, hold the baby while you shower and even occupy older kids with fun games. These will all feel like the greatest gifts you could receive. These moments are priceless for you and baby.
Stock up on healthy pre-made frozen meals or veggies. For quick preparation in soups, stews or stir-fry, frozen veggies make life a lot easier. Also, prepare several meals in advance, such as casseroles, and freeze them in containers to have quick, convenient meals after baby is born. This is also a great gift to request from loved ones!
Purchase a couple of oversized shirts and black or printed maternity dresses that you can wear postpartum. It takes a while for your body to get back to its normal state, and you’ll want to be comfy. No one has to know you are still rocking your fave maternity dress a month after delivery! Plenty of stylish brands now cater to looks that transition from pregnancy to postpartum.
Take care of yourself, and really enjoy the little moments before baby arrives. Take a relaxing bath with candles and salts, get a cute workout outfit, watch a prenatal yoga video from home, enjoy a few date nights and, of course, sleep as often as you can.
Settle into your routine with baby before you purchase the items you did not receive from your registry. In those first few weeks, you’ll have a better idea of what you and baby really need. So skip the rush and relax.
Speak up to your spouse, family members or OB/GYN if you are feeling down, lonely or just not right. It might be as simple as having someone keep you company for a few hours or join you for a short walk to get ice cream. Either way, your body is experiencing a lot of changes, and it’s totally normal to feel not quite right. Remember, you don’t have to go through it alone — speak up.
Give yourself a break, and find ways to make motherhood easier on yourself. If cloth diapering is too time-consuming, tons of eco-friendly diaper options are available. If making homemade baby food is unrealistic with your schedule, there are healthy, pre-made options for home and on the go. The pressure to get it all done can be overwhelming at times, so cheat when you can!
Enjoy being a new mom! Life as a new mom is busy enough, so try not to worry if the dishes are dirty or the laundry isn’t folded. It’s OK if your dinner consists of the same meal for three days in a row. Everyone will survive, I promise!
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