17 Surprising Things to Know as a First Time Mom

Whether you are pregnant right now or thinking about becoming pregnant soon you may be filled with questions about becoming a first-time mom.

On the one hand, it can feel downright scary to welcome a very small and very new person into your home.

On the other hand, the idea of late-night baby snuggles, cute onesies, and a new human to love can feel breathtaking and fabulous.

Navigating these waters may seem confusing, but these first-time mom tips will help you know what to expect and how to get the hang of your new role quickly.

Surprising Things to Know as a First-Time Mom

1. You will suddenly become a protective mama bear.

As soon as you become a mom, you will feel a new sense of protectiveness over your baby. You will want to know where the baby is, when she last had her bottle and whether she is warm enough whenever she is outside.

You may even find it hard to hand your baby over to someone else to hold, and any babysitter you hire will most likely feel overwhelmed with the myriad instructions you leave for her.

However, your emerging mama bear is incredibly helpful. These protective instincts can help you catch little problems that your baby may be experiencing.

They can ensure that your baby continues to grow and progress on schedule and can even help you bond with your new little one.

2. It can take some time to get the hang of breastfeeding.

Even if you attended a breastfeeding class while pregnant, it can take some time for your baby to get the hang of things. Some babies are poor feeders while others have a hard time latching on to a breast.

You may also feel concerned that your baby is getting enough to eat. If you have any concerns, reach out to your clinic or doctor, and ask for the help of a lactation consultant. These professionals have plenty of experience in dealing with all types of breastfeeding problems and can help you get on the right track.

3. Formula can be okay.

In all of your pre-labor reading, you are sure to pick up on just how nutritious and immune-boosting breast milk is for babies. It is incredible that your body can make exactly what your baby needs for the first part of his life. With all this pressure to breastfeed, using any formula may feel like cheating.

However, whether you choose to use purely formula for personal reasons or need to supplement your breastmilk with formula, there is no need to feel guilty.

4. You may find it difficult to have your baby wear all the cute clothes you bought.

Every first-time mom and dad typically buys loads of newborn through 3-month clothing because it is so exciting to see cute outfits and imagine a little one wearing them. Add to that the clothing that you are sure to get from family and friends, and you may find yourself overwhelmed with dozens of outfits that will never get worn.

Your newborn will probably grow more quickly than you could have imagined, and you may find yourself reaching for onesies and sleepers more often than designer duds. If possible, put clothing in larger sizes on your baby registry, and request primarily simple clothes that are easy to launder.

5. Your newborn will go through loads of diapers every week.

Although every newborn is a bit different, you will find that you are changing your baby’s diaper up to a dozen times per day. Plus, until you get used to your child’s pooping schedule, you may find yourself changing a wet diaper one minute and turning around 10 minutes later to find out that he just pooped.

Make sure to have plenty of diapers on hand before you go into labor, but be prepared to try out several diaper brands before you land on one that both you and your baby love.

6. It will be easier to get out of the house than you may have imagined.

During the initial newborn months, do not let yourself feel tied to your house. Once you try getting out a couple of times, you are sure to discover just how portable your baby is. In fact, newborns generally have an innate capacity to fall asleep at any time and in any place.

Simply make sure that you outfit yourself with a fully loaded diaper bag, and take plenty of time to get out for a walk, do your shopping, or even enjoy a date night with your spouse.

7. Even 30 minutes to yourself will feel like a spa day.

While it is easier than you may think to get out of the house with your baby, you may find that it is much more difficult to find time for yourself without your baby. Even getting a shower on your own for 20 to 30 minutes every other day could start feeling like a luxury.

If possible, try to work with your spouse, another family member, or even a close friend to set aside some time for yourself. Ask for 30 minutes or an hour every few days when you can take a long soak in your tub, get your nails done, or even read a book by yourself without having to worry about your baby.

8. Follow your doctor’s orders and rest.

Plan to take at least six weeks to avoid the more strenuous household work, such as major cleaning, yard work, and carrying or pushing anything heavier than 20 pounds. After delivery, most women say it takes one to two months before they start feeling like themselves again.

However, it can take even longer than this to recuperate after a C-section. In addition, be sure to check with your doctor before you start exercising again.

9. Pay attention to “baby blues” that last longer than a couple of weeks.

Because of the major hormonal changes happening in your body after you give birth and even as you begin breastfeeding, you may feel a bit moodier than normal. Some days may seem dull and gray, and you may even feel discouraged or depressed on some days. If these feelings become severe or if they persist longer than two weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.

Up to 20 percent of women experience postpartum depression, and seeking treatment can help you get out of your funk and bond more easily with your little one.

10. It could take some time to bond with your baby.

Before you become a mother, you may feel positive that you will feel that instant connection with your baby about which so many women rave. However, while some women feel a special bond with their babies even while pregnant, a number of new moms and dads do not feel that emotional attachment for several hours or even days.

Resist the urge to feel guilty that you are a bad parent for this lack of emotions. As you spend more time with your baby and as he begins to interact with you, your feelings are sure to grow. You may find that you have to wait until your baby first smiles at you to feel that special bond.

11. You do not have to worry about spoiling your baby.

If you have heard that you can spoil your baby by picking him up too much, responding to his cries or giving him plenty of cuddles, you can stop worrying. Child development professionals assure new parents that you cannot spoil a newborn. In fact, your baby needs nearly constant attention to grow and develop healthfully both physically and emotionally.

12. Create a strong support system.

Because your baby does need so much attention, you must build a strong support system around you because you cannot do it everything yourself. While your spouse may be the person who most has your back during the initial days, it is also helpful to find other family members and friends who can care for your baby while you sleep, do some cleaning or laundry around your house, bring you meals for the first few weeks and take care of necessary shopping.

You may have heard the saying that the days are long but the years are short. As a first-time mom, breastfeeding, laundry, and diaper changes may seem endless. Sleepless nights can make exhausting days even longer.

However, in retrospect, most moms will admit that those newborn days seemed to pass quickly. As you prepare to enter this season of life, use these tips for new moms to help you navigate these busy and tiring yet exciting days.

13. Remember to take care of yourself.

Even new moms need time for themselves, so try to schedule some “me” time into your week, whether socializing with friends or just sitting alone in the park watching clouds go by. Also, never feel guilty about asking for help from family and friends.

14. Share the responsibility with your partner.

When you are spending every day caring for your new baby, it can be easy to slip into doing everything on your own without ever mentioning what you need or would like done around the house. However, new dads crave feeling helpful to their new infant as well as their new mommy, so play an active role in suggesting ways that he can pitch in during those hectic new-mom days.

15. Just let your baby cry sometimes.

Newborns are not able to communicate their needs using words, so it can be difficult for new parents to figure out what is wrong with them and how to fix the problem quickly and easily. However, new moms and dads should resist the urge to pick up their babies or give them a bottle every time they cry.

Many new babies only cry because of wet diapers or hunger—which means that new parents will end up feeding or changing an exhausted baby who can sleep after those two things are taken care of instead of getting any rest themselves as well as both new parents.

16. You do not need to buy fancy strollers and other equipment right away.

While new parents may want to invest in a new infant car seat, new carriers that can go into the washer after an accident or new high-tech strollers that are easy to fold up and store away, new moms should try out several different types of equipment before deciding which ones are best for them.

17. You can find new moms’ groups in your community.

Joining new moms’ groups in your local community is a great way to meet other new mothers who are going through the same joys, challenges, and hardships that you are experiencing right now. This sharing of experiences can help new parents not feel overwhelmed when they get stuck on certain issues like breastfeeding or even housework for new dads.

You may be feeling overwhelmed by all that comes with having a new baby in the house, but these simple tips will make life easier while bringing you closer to your new infant and spouse. Now it is time to make some memories!

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