Being a first time mom can be very exciting yet overwhelming! Things are happening to your body, your hormones are going crazy and on top of that you have to prepare for a baby’s arrival! Continue reading to find dos and don’ts as advice from one first time mom! From pregnancy to newborn life, discover things I learned the hard way as a first time mom.
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- DO document your pregnancy. You might feel like you don’t look your best in those “is that a food baby?” beginning stage or the beached whale end of a pregnancy phase, but its great to go back and see the progress of that growing bean inside of you. I recommend this for all moms, not just a first time mom!
- DO say thank you often to your husband or support person. He takes care of you your whole pregnancy, listening to your crazy ideas, making sure you’re rested and fed and he deserves some thanks! Whenever you can say “thank you” and treat him to nice surprises! First Time Mom: Send this post written by my First Time Dad husband to your significant other!
- DO buy some maternity clothes. For a while you can probably get away with your regular clothes even into your third trimester that have some stretch. But there are some basics (hello bra extenders!) that will make that whole expanding belly thing a lot more comfortable on all areas of your body. And spoiler: you don’t have to spend a lot for this comfort! Click the image above to see the post sharing my favorites!
- DO take a childbirth class. YOU may be reading a lot of books telling what’s going on with your body during this crazy time but your significant other probably isn’t as involved in that part. My husband and I took one at our hospital which gave additional details on best practices, information on their specific procedures and allowed us to get a full tour of the facilities prior to giving birth and we highly recommend that route!
- DO start a stockpile. Yes, you can start hunting for diaper and wipes coupons and watching out for good diaper deals. But you should also make sure to stock your freezer with food and pantry with non perishable snacks. Hand soap, anti bacterial soaps, paper towels, garbage bags and toilet paper would also be good items to start collecting while you’re still able to get out to shop and have room in your cart as you’ll go through those more during this time. For more tips on stockpiling disposable diapers, make sure you read my follow up post on the topic!
- DO ask for registry advice from other moms! Poll moms you trust for their favorite typical registry items and for warnings of useless items. Before starting your registry, read my Baby Registry: Dos and Don’ts! Then read my Top Ten Favorite Items for Newborn Baby through 4 Months for advice on products we used and loved!
- DO register for items beyond newborn stage. With an August baby, we had four short months until Christmas where everyone asks you what’s on your wish list. Even if you have a January baby, that year goes by fast and you need items past those first few precious months! Your registry can serve as both baby shower shopping and holiday wish list so think of that whole first year! Read my Top Ten Favorite Baby items five months to one year here!
- DO make notes ON your gift receipts. Do yourself a favor and write a little description of the item on the receipt as you open those baby shower gifts as “baby layette” is what 90% of your clothes will be and that’s what the store lists on the receipt. You don’t want to waste time pairing up item numbers on tags if you need to return something for any reason!
- DO read this follow up post on other ways you can get prepared for baby during this nesting stage! Knock those thank you cards out of the way, start their baby book and get prepared to take care of YOURSELF while taking care of a little one.
- DON’T wash all the clothes before baby’s arrival! Baby might not fit in newborn size so don’t wash them all in case you need to size up. You also might get more clothes after baby arrives and have too many in a certain size. I always tried to size up whenever I could if I thought the outfit was cute. Tip: do so sooner than later as stores switch through seasons quick! Prior to going to the hospital, I washed only one newborn and one 3 month outfit as the “coming home” outfit and any bedding, burp clothes and blankets I’d need for the beginning week. Once we were home and knew how big or little our baby girl was, I was able to reassess her closet to see what I wanted to wash in the size as is or which clothes I wanted to size up to a bigger size.
- DON’T ignore what your body is telling you. I never had swollen feet before… until I was pregnant. It would come on with extreme heat (hello I was pregnant all summer for both girls) or when I ate a lot of salty foods. I also felt the difference in my energy with the lack of protein in my diet or when I was low on water. Take it easy when your body is giving you a sign that you need to take a nap or just slow down. You are growing a human and that’s tough work!
- DO accept the assistance of a lactation consultant. As a first time mom you don’t know what a “good latch” is so let the lactation consultants help you! Our hospital provided one that would come around twice a day and help with any attachment issues, answered questions I had and even taught me new positions! (laying down next to baby and feeding is SOO great in those early days/weeks — ask about it!) Who knew that breast feeding can be two handed, there were so many positions, that babies needed to be stimulated to stay awake while feeding or that the colors of their poop said a lot of about the types of milk they were consuming?! Not this first time mom!
- DO buy (or register) for a white noise maker. We had a noise machine for the first baby but it went off after 45 minutes. With Baby #2, we upgraded to a Marpac DOHM-DS Natural White Noise Sound Machine which doesn’t shut off during the night which they both still use 6 years later!
- DO say thank you! Make sure to send thank you cards for both your shower gifts before baby and for any gifts received after baby. I also took photos of the outfits and emailed them to myself with a note on who gave them. When I remembered, I tried to take a cute shot of her in said outfit and emailed it to the giver. I’m personally not on Facebook so I like to think the person enjoyed receiving this personalized extra thank you in their inbox.
- DO label their stuff if you plan to use daycare. Most daycares require you to label all your bottles, food containers, clothing and shoe items! We have had great experience with the personalized labels from NameBubbles.com. Both my girls have used their dishwasher safe labels for all our food containers and the clothing labels for jackets, blankets and extras clothes, and my toddler is even using their shoe labels to learn left and right!
- DO try to think ahead! Of course, there are MANY times when your baby will surprise you and throw you off from the routine or expectations you had at that moment. But there are other times when they like to follow the routine you are setting out. Pack some extra clothes/diapers in a bag that you leave in your car for emergencies. Lay out your clothes prior to taking a shower so you can get changed quick if baby only gives you so much time to get clean. Create a routine to empty garbage pails or start laundry in the am or pm so it becomes manageable before it’s out of control.
- DO get a baby carrier and use it! We loved our ERGObaby Original Baby Carrier with both our girls and it often for different ways that first year! I often used it grocery shopping or even to be hands free to do chores around the house. Derek wore it with her outside in the evenings to calm her down before bed as that cool night air helped relax her (and him I bet). If you plan to have another kid, this Ergo will be a lifesaver when you’re chasing around kid #1 with kid #2 is sleeping!
- DO stock the medicine cabinet! There are so many little things that you can get for baby that will make your life easier, like a NoseFrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator! Yes it is exactly what it sounds like and it’s amazing! If you don’t believe me, read the reviews on Amazon! I’m not providing medical advice on HOW to use these items but WHEN we used them so please check with a medical professional before administering!
- DO babyproof sooner than later! Both my girls crawled at 6.5. The oldest walked at 9 months and the second at 10.5! I was happy we registered for some baby safety items and installed most when my first was 4 months old. Check out my follow up post which shows which products we used for different places in our home!
- DO download useful apps! I downloaded a contractions app when pregnant and used it on the big day. I no longer needed to pay attention to the clock during that crazy process. Then once baby was here, I downloaded a “Feed Baby” app which I used in the first weeks. It helped me know when her last feeding was and which side I nursed her from as my daughter only nursed from one side at a time. Mommy brain is real people to use these apps to help you out!
- DO read this follow up post with tips for breastfeeding and changing baby, including details on my frozen breastmilk storage system! I loved the Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags and never had a problem with them leaking in our freezer!
- DON’T expect your baby to sleep exactly where or how you outlined when you get home. Both my girls liked sleeping in the top newborn napper of the Pack n Play during the first weeks home and it took a while before we transitioned them to open air areas, like a co-sleeper, the flat part of a pack n play in our room or eventually their own nursery. For more tips on setting up your nursery, read my follow up post on the subject!
- DON’T expect the hospital to teach you what to do with your baby. I was SO surprised how little the hospital teaches you about caring for your child. While we had a great staff of post partum nurses and doctors for me, they weren’t there to teach you about the baby. No one showed us how to swaddle correctly so we eagerly watched each doctor and specialist as they had their own method. The pediatricians came to visit the baby daily and specialists gave vitamins, shots, and hearing tests, but none gave us the one-on-one basics to take care of our newborn. You really are just thrown into it, so if you feel like you need more “caring for your newborn” advice, you might want to take a class!W
- DON’T shield your newborn from light and sound. Meaning don’t be afraid to talk in a normal volume or keep the lights on when baby is napping during the day. It will train them to be able to sleep while normal life goes around them if you’re out of even when you’re in. Of course, the same should not be said about nighttime. When it’s night, keep the lights low and sounds to a minimum to help baby understand the difference between day and night.
- DON’T forget to eat and drink! It’s so true that taking care of baby distracts you from your normal everyday habits… like eating! Make a list of easy, possibly one handed snacks that you can eat when baby is here and send someone out to get them! Think things like string cheese, raisins, grapes, crackers, peanuts etc. You also need to drink plenty of fluids to product milk if you’re planning to breastfeed! You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn how to do one handed or with your non dominate hand once you little one arrives.
- DON’T be so hard on your post baby body. Read this post on how to be ok with the post baby you and the process of losing the weight! Remember, it takes 9 months to put the weight on so it won’t just fall off once the baby is here! UPDATE: and read about my experience with my Belly Bandit after baby #2!