First time mom tips I used to survive life with my newborn!
There is nothing in this world that could have fully prepared me for what was to come when I had my first baby; not even being a step-mother or the hundred and one books I read before giving birth.
Being a first-time mom to a newborn is like learning to walk all over again. You know it’s part of growing up, but it takes time to get there; at least that’s how I felt.
I’ll never forget how lost I felt the first few weeks postpartum. From my hormones trying to stabilize, to my breastfeeding journey failing me. Above all the anxiety and stress I felt, being a first-time mom with a newborn, I did learn a few things that helped me survive the first few months.
I’m happy to report that my baby is now four-months-old and we are both still alive! That’s got to mean something, right? 🙂 Especially after having tunnel vision and not seeing myself getting out of the postpartum anxiety!
I am by no means an expert when it comes to being a mom, but I do feel like there were a few things I did at the beginning that contributed to my survival those first few months.
I’d love to share the first time mom tips I’ve learned, with you; whether you’re a first-time mom or a fourth, I hope these tips help you as they did me! I’ll try my best to link as many things in this post as possible if you’re interested in purchasing what I used!
Before I get started I would like to say one thing- If you’re in the midst of the new stage and you feel helpless, please know that it will get better. You will get more sleep. You will figure out your baby’s cries. This stage will pass before your eyes and if you’re not fully present, you will miss this stage.
Do yourself a favor- take as many photos and videos as you can. There’s no greater feeling than looking back and watching your baby as a newborn. Maybe it’s my hormones, but it tears me up just thinking of all the time I spent worrying instead of being fully present. Don’t make that mistake! You WILL survive this!
God gave you this baby for a reason; as my mama told me- ‘I don’t ever wish your marriage fails, but if it ever did you won’t ever be alone. You will always have your baby girl by your side.’
Now, shall we get started?
1.DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER MOMS
If you take any tips from this post, let this be the FIRST tip you apply. I can’t tell you how many times I felt guilty for the dirty dishes in the sink or the bathroom tub that needed scrubbing.
Social media can be a huge benefit, but it can also be your worst enemy. I kept telling myself – ‘why can’t I be like those moms I see on Instagram that just had a baby and they seem to have it all together?’
For some reason, I was forgetting what we ALL do on our social media accounts. We upload pictures of the happy times, not so much the raw and uncut version of our lives.
Bottom line, don’t compare yourself to someone else. Just because you ‘don’t have it all together’ doesn’t mean you are cut for motherhood. Every mother goes through this, and every mother learns her own way.
2. SWADDLING IS A MUST
For whatever reason, my baby DID NOT like it when I would start swaddling her but loved it when she finally fell asleep; she fought it so hard and would take out her arms.
One night, I tried swaddling her with one arm out- BAD idea. She would not stay asleep and was then inconsolable because at that point she was overly tired. I told myself- lesson learned, Ashley!
No matter how bad she fought it in the beginning, from that point on I swaddled her every time she went down to sleep. Swaddling is recommended so your baby doesn’t roll and suffocate themselves, but more than anything, it gives them that sense of familiarity from being in the womb.
3. DON’T FEEL GUILTY
This somewhat goes hand in hand with tip number one. How many times have you held back from asking for help in fear that you will get a face in return from your husband?
I know I did!
You know what? I had to stop feeling guilty and realize that we are a team; we needed to get through this together. Sure, this is still a work in progress, but keep reminding yourself that you shouldn’t be going through this alone.
There were times I felt so guilty for staying in bed cuddled up with my baby while my husband was washing dishes or making dinner. I made sure to tell him how much that help was appreciated!
I don’t regret one moment spent cuddling with my sweet baby!
4. KEEP WHAT YOU USE MOST OFTEN NEAR YOU
When my mom said I would be losing a lot of sleep, she wasn’t kidding! I was waking up every two to three hours to change my baby and feed her. I got tired of having to play scavenger hunt in the middle of the night trying to find the diaper rash cream. I decided to put everything I was using in one spot, RIGHT next to me. Here is what it looked like:
Here is what I kept inside:
- Hello Bello Diapers
- Hello Bello Wipes (I was using Huggies at the time of this picture because I had run out of the Hello Bello wipes.
- Hello Bello Diaper Rash Cream
- Young Living Seedling Diaper Rash Cream (the BEST I’ve come across. Seriously, it takes two applications and the rash is gone!)
- Hello Bello Hand Sanitizer
- Reusable changing pad
- Safety 1st Brush
- Boogie Bulb Syringe
5. PREPARE ALL BOTTLES IN ADVANCE
When I first started breastfeeding, I knew my milk supply was going to be an issue. I just wasn’t producing enough and my baby wasn’t getting enough. I knew it would be difficult being that I have PCOS; I tried everything under the sun with no luck! I had to make the decision to switch to bottle-feeding my baby.
Similar to tip four, I was having to get up and either make a bottle or wash a bottle with one eye open! One day, I thought- ‘what if I just get them all ready at once and have them on my bedside table?’ LIFE CHANGER!
Here is what I used:
- Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pink Bottles
- Munchkin Formula Dispenser
- Similac Pro-Sensitive – I love that this one includes DHA and is NON-GMO!
- Mylicon– This is not shown in the picture because my baby is not needing them anymore, but they were a lifesaver when she had colic!
For breastfeeding mamas- this is what I had in my basket when I was breastfeeding:
- Spectra breast pump
- Boppy– I had this at arms reach! My baby loved it.
- Pink RTIC cup– I remember feeling like I hadn’t had water in days; I was always thirsty!
- Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter
6. ONLY TAKE OUT WHAT YOUR BABY IS CURRENTLY WEARING/USING
If you couldn’t already tell, I am all about making life easier by making sure I have what I need in advance. 🙂
Similar to the previous two tips, I made sure that I only took out what my baby is currently wearing at the moment, instead of trying to wash and organize all the clothes she has.
This cart has also been a LIFE CHANGER for us! I have made sure to keep EVERYTHING I am currently using in this one cart. So far I have been loving it and there has been no need to use dresser space.
Here is what I have in this utility cart:
- Top Level
- Nose Frida– Seriously, if you’re like my husband and think this is gross, it’s not bad at all! It surpasses the syringe by a long shot and was definitely worth the purchase!
- Little Remedies Saline Drops
- Lacrosse Balls– I used this for my back during labor but I still use them now that my back hurts from time to time! 🙂
- Small Woven Bin
- Second Level
- Third Level
7. DON’T STRESS OVER FOLDING BABY CLOTHES
I kid you not, I remember practicing different ways to fold newborn onesies before my baby was born. I just couldn’t get them to look neat and put them in a way that was functional to me. I finally found a way that worked perfectly for me! I’d love to show you how I fold my baby’s onesies and sleepers, and I’m hoping you’ll give it a shot! Let me know how it worked for you.
Step 1: Lay onesie face down with the bottom of the onesie at the top.
Step 2: Fold the top 3rd of the onesie down.
Step 3: Fold the bottom 3rd of the onesie up,
Step 4: Fold it like a taco with the front of the onesie showing.
Step 5: Organize the onesie in the Small Woven Bin. 🙂
Now, at the bottom left, I have her sleepers organized in a Small Woven Bin, as well. You should have seen how I was folding the sleepers! I made the whole folding thing way more complicated than it needed to be!
So, I’d love to show you how to fold a sleeper. Who doesn’t love some good first time mom tips?
Step 1: Same as onesie- start with the sleeper face down and the feet to the top.
Step 2: Bring in the arms and legs in, as shown below.
Step 3: Bring the top of the sleeper up.
Step 4: Fold like a taco.
Step 5: Organize the sleeper in the Small Woven Bin. 🙂
8. START IMPLEMENTING A ROUTINE WHEN YOU’RE READY
This will almost be impossible the first couple of weeks as you’re learning your baby and trying to get some sleep. However, once you’ve reached the one-month mark or so, you should start trying to implement a night routine for you and your baby.
At this point, I started creating a routine that went like this:
- Bathe baby
- Apply lotion and change baby into her sleeper
- Feed her
- Read her baby bottle
- Rock her to sleep
I promise you, this will not be perfect in the beginning. Sometimes I’d get all five steps in, sometimes I’d get two; whatever you do- don’t stop trying.
I continued to do as many steps as I could for our evening routine, and now that my baby is four-months-old, she is practically begging to be changed into her sleeper when she knows bedtime is close.
9. FOLLOW THE EAT, PLAY, SLEEP CYCLE
As mentioned in the previous tip, this will be hard to implement with a newborn, as they’re sleeping the majority of the day.
I started doing the eat, play, sleep cycle when my baby was around one-month old; it has worked wonders with her sleep now! (She is getting 7hrs of sleep at four-months.)
For example- She would wake at 6 am, I would change her first, then feed her. Once she was fed, I would play with her for about 30min- 45min. If you’re not already aware, newborns have a sleeping window after they’ve been fed. If you pass that sleeping window, and they’re not put back to sleep, you will have A LOT of trouble getting them to fall asleep.
Once I played with her, I would swaddle and rock her to sleep.
Contrary to what you’re probably thinking- daytime naps will actually help with better nighttime sleep.
If your baby is taking short naps, or not taking naps at all, she/he can become overstimulated. Overstimulated = A not so very happy baby!
Focus on making sure your baby gets good naps in by swaddling for the first few months and laying your baby in an environment where she/he feels safe so your baby is not waking up halfway through their nap.
10. REUSE DIAPER BOXES
Did you get a ton of newborn clothes at your baby shower? Yea, they won’t fit your baby for long!
At least my baby didn’t last long in her newborn clothes. She was 8lb1oz at birth and 21in long! She was a big baby. 🙂
So, you can imagine all the newborn clothes I had to store once they weren’t fitting her. At first, I was bagging them and putting them in our closet, but they just looked so messy!
One day, I was taking out the diapers from the box to organize them, and thought- ‘hmm, why don’t I use this as storage?’
It worked perfectly! My closet looks so much better with boxes than bags everywhere!
11. DONT ALWAYS COUNT ON YOUR ROCKING CHAIR
One sleepless night, after trying to put an inconsolable baby to sleep and clearly failing, I was willing to try anything!
I remember walking to my living room and trying to rock my baby and thinking of other ways to put her to sleep. I saw my birthing ball at the corner of the room and gave it a shot. Would you believe she fell asleep not even five minutes of me bouncing on the ball!
From that point on, I have kept my exercise ball in the room and have used it on numerous occasions.
12. BABIES GO THROUGH PHASES
This was so hard for me to remember when I had had 2hrs of sleep the whole night and baby just wouldn’t stop crying unless she was rocked to sleep.
I couldn’t understand why the past three nights she was falling asleep on her own, and all of a sudden she wouldn’t sleeper longer than 45min without demanding to be rocked!
I soon learned that she was going through phases and they really don’t last forever.
Does my four-month-old still like to be rocked? Yes, but she will put herself back to sleep in the middle of the night.
Moral of the story- Your baby WILL pass that phase of not staying asleep. Be strong, Mama. You’ll get your beauty sleep back. I promise you that!
I could seriously make a list of one hundred things I’ve learned from being a first-time mom, but then you’d take hours to finish reading this post. 🙂
I really do hope you find these first time mom tips useful, and I wish you the best of luck with your newborn.
Cherish these moments, Mama. Hold your baby tight, give them a million kisses and don’t ever think you’re alone.
You are a warrior- Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!
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