Becoming a mom for the first time is a massive life-changer. Huge. Before your baby’s birth, you might have had a whole plan of how motherhood was going to look for you, and what your baby was going to be like. But when baby finally arrives and your mama-hood journey begins, all of that planning may well just go out the window.
Coming to grips with “momming” takes a little time (and a lot of patience!). But don’t fret – as legendary pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
So, what are some good things a new mom should know? Keep on reading!
In this article: 📝
- Before the baby arrives, it’s good to know…
- And after the baby arrives…
- What first-time moms should know?
- How does it feel being a first-time mom?
- What do you give a first-time mom?
Before the baby arrives, it’s good to know…
Babies need surprisingly little. We’re not saying to skimp on your baby shower registry, but as long as you have the basics – like somewhere for them to sleep, a car seat and stroller, diapers, wipes, and clothes – you can figure the rest out later. So don’t stress if you haven’t got that teether everyone’s raving about. You might not even need it.
One thing you will need lots of is diapers. Whether you plan on using disposables or cloth diapers, make sure you have a decent stash before the baby arrives. If you’re using disposables, it’s good to get both newborn and size 1 diapers to cater for any size baby. If you’re using cloth, nail down your wash routine (and make sure your partner knows how to help, too).
Visitors can wait. Those first few hours and days are for you and your baby to bond. If you don’t feel like having visitors right away, don’t feel bad about keeping them away.
Learn about safe milk storage and feeding. If you’ll be formula-feeding, or bottle-feeding expressed breastmilk, it’s good to know in advance how to prepare and store milk. That way, there’ll be no confusion when baby’s due their next feed and you haven’t slept in days.
Your birth may not go as planned. And that’s okay! It’s great to go into your birth with an idea of your preferences (like a birth plan), but know that in the heat of the moment, plans might change. Equally, if your birth does go according to plan, but it still was scary or different from how you imagined, those feelings are valid, too.
Arrange for home deliveries. Getting groceries delivered for the first couple of weeks after your baby is born will feel like a luxury! You might not feel like carting a newborn around the aisles of your local store to grab your dinner ingredients. Being a new mother is hard enough, so make life as easy as you can!
If you’re planning to use a birth doula, see if they offer a post-partum service too, for help with things like breastfeeding and nutrition.
And after the baby arrives…
Feeding your newborn is a full-time job. Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula-feeding, your newborn’s tummy is tiny (about the size of a marble) so feeds are little and often and might truly take up your whole day. The chores can wait!
Breastfeeding can be challenging. Even if you’ve been to all the classes and read all the books, it may still be difficult - and time-consuming! Try to seek advice from a doctor or lactation consultant before little issues become big problems.
Babies cry. Usually for some good reason (a dirty diaper, they’re hungry, they’re too hot or cold, or overtired) or sometimes for a reason unknown to anyone but them. It can be stressful, but taking them outside into the fresh air or swaddling them in a soft wrap may help them settle.
Look after yourself. It may seem like you’re way down the list of priorities, but just making sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating a (mostly) nutritious diet will help you have the energy to tackle another day!
Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will be weird. For a few days or a couple of weeks, your baby’s umbilical cord stump will need looking after. Some things people don’t tell you are that it looks kind of gross, you’ll freak out about knocking it off every diaper change, and even with the best intentions, it can get infected. Ask your doctor for advice if it’s red, smelly, or there’s any strange discharge.
Most babies love motion – swaying in a motorized swing, popping them in the carrier or stroller for a walk, or going for a drive in the car seat. If your baby is unsettled, motion might help, and there are probably thousands of other first-time moms trying the same hack at the same time! You’re not alone!
Newborns need lots of sleep. Don’t expect your little one to make it past about 45 minutes of being awake before they start getting cranky. Break your day up into teeny newborn size bites!
There’s no shame in asking for help. From friends, family, health professionals, or other Peanut mamas. There’s a reason for the saying “it takes a village.”
Trust your gut. Yes, you’re a first-time mom, so you might doubt yourself and your instinct, but try not to. Being a new mom is a tough job, but in all likelihood, you’re doing an amazing job. And if something doesn’t feel right to you, go with your gut and ask for help.
And if you’re still wondering…
What first-time moms should know?
The list of what all first-time moms should know is probably endless. What’s important to remember is that everyone’s journey as a new mom will be different, so try not to compare your story to others.
How does it feel being a first-time mom?
It might take time to feel that overwhelming love that everyone goes on and on about. Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen right away. It’ll come.
What do you give a first-time mom?
If you’re wondering what to get a first-time mom, the answer is not the biggest stuffed toy you can find. What most first-time moms want is help (can you run an errand, provide a meal, or do some chores?), and a friendly and non-judgy ear to listen to their highs and lows. Oh, and coffee.
💡 More from The 411
5 Things I Wish I Knew About Baby Sleep as a First-Time Mama
What to Know About Your First Prenatal Visit
First Trimester Ultrasound: What to Expect
First-Time Mom: 17 Things to Know
A Quick Guide to Preparing for Motherhood