I wrote this post for my contributing writer job with She Thinks Media. It originally appeared on cloth diaper retailer & natural parenting store, Luvaboos, located in Rochester, NY. You can see the original post by visiting the Luvaboos’ blog.

Being a first time mom is exciting and waiting for the
arrival of your little bundle of joy is one of the best parts. Then the day
comes and suddenly you’re a mom. You are “in charge” of this little life. It’s
overwhelming; there isn’t a question about that. There are a few things us
older moms have learned along the way that we’d like to share with you.
Before Baby
  1. As one
    mom put it best: “You do NOT and will not use 90% of the items you
    register for and receive at your shower.”
  2. If
    your home is small without a lot of storage space consider borrowing some
    of the bigger baby items from friends like the bouncer, bassinet, jumpers,
    etc. Sure it’s fun to register for those items but if you don’t have space
    then you don’t have space.
  3. Don’t
    read all of the parenting books out there and be careful of some of the
    pregnancy books – they might scare you!
  4. If you
    are the kind of person who gets stressed out by having a regimented plan,
    don’t make a birth plan. They aren’t for everyone. And conversely, if you
    have a birth plan remember that anything
    can happen. Don’t get your heart set on something you cannot control.
  5. If you
    want to have a natural birth use available resources to help guide you.
  6. You do
    not have to listen to every woman’s horror birth story if you don’t want
    to.
  7. You
    are your baby’s mother and you are that child’s advocate. Trust your
    instinct.

 

After the baby’s born…

  1. Even
    if you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section, you will be sore
    afterwards. Follow doctor’s orders and take it easy.
  2. If you
    deliver in the hospital, get up and try to walk around; it’ll help with
    your recovery.
  3. Post
    partum bleeding is normal and happens for weeks. Have pads, pads and more
    pads around because if you use a tampon or a menstrual cup you won’t be
    able to after delivery.
  4. Your
    milk will come in a few days after your baby’s birth day. On this day you
    will be emotional; okay, emotional may not really describe it. Your
    hormones are indeed raging; it’s like getting your period times ten. It’ll
    pass.
  5. Have
    lots of nice breast pads on hand and a good working breast pump.
  6. Freeze
    your breastmilk! Chances are your baby will take about two ounces of milk
    per feeding. Pump the rest and freeze it for later. Trust us on this one.
  7. Breastfeeding
    is not as easy as it looks so don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t “get
    it” right away. Keep at it and surround yourself with a lot of supportive
    women who have been there too.
  8. Skin
    to skin; it’s a great way to bond with your baby for both you and Daddy.
Life’s Changing
  1. Yes,
    your newbie baby is tiny and getting out of the house is a little more
    challenging than it was before BUT newborns are incredibly portable. Bring that baby everywhere and get out of
    the house when you feel up to it! Catch a movie with daddy and wear the
    baby, go out for dinner with baby, walk the mall and shop. After eight to
    ten weeks your baby will need a little more of a routine and quieter area
    to sleep in.
  2. Accept
    help; you don’t have to be Super Mom. None of us are.
  3. Sleep
    when the baby sleeps – really we mean it.
  4. Let
    Dad help you however he wants. If he wants to rock the baby when he gets
    home, feed the baby a bottle at night, or bathe baby; let him. It’s good
    bonding time for him and baby.
  5. Take a
    shower every day; you’ll feel better after a sleepless night.
  6. Fussiness peaks at six weeks (or six weeks from the
    due date if your baby was early or overdue).
  7. Due to number 6 above, you should do whatever you can
    to make the baby sleep – rock, sway, bounce, and wear. You cannot spoil a
    newborn.
  8. Don’t underestimate swaddling and white noise.
  9. Also if baby is really overtired, over-stimulated, or
    fussy and nothing is soothing, try (and this is going to sound weird)
    turning on a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, or dust buster. The noise reminds
    them of the womb.
  10. One older, experienced mom put it best: “Sleep when
    you can, play when you can, have sex when you can and screw dusting.” Love
    it!
  11. Enjoy the snuggly moments, the late night feedings
    and the frequent naps. You won’t regret those one bit once baby’s older
    and on the move.
  12. While it’s good to be aware of post partum depression
    (PPD) remember that after the baby is born you will experience what’s
    called the “baby blues.” This is normally and usually lasts up to three
    weeks after delivery. That is not PPD.
  13. Be willing to accept help from family, friends, and
    neighbors. If you need to take a walk around the block to just breathe,
    ask a friend to come over and stay with the baby.
  14. The house will be messy…but they’re only babies once.
  15. About three months after baby’s birth date your hair
    will fall out. It’s normal, creepy, but totally normal.
  16. Adopt this mantra: It’s a phase and it’ll pass. (This
    pertains pretty much to every struggle you’ll encounter from sleeping
    problems, napping problems, separation anxiety, feeding problems, etc.)
  17. Choose to laugh. If you don’t you most certainly will
    cry.
Top Three Pieces of Advice from Moms who have “been there and done
that?”
3. Enjoy how dependent your little
baby is on you and love on that little one as long as you can.
2. 
Don’t try to do everything on your own; accept help and ask for it
too. That’s being “mom enough.”
1. 
Trust your instinct; nine times out of ten you’ll be right.

Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.