Becoming a new mom is one of the most exciting, and most overwhelming stages of life. As a new mom, I can relate to all the crazy emotions that come with taking care of your own little one for the first time. I know that there may be many other first time moms out there who are unsure what to do and how to parent. Today I am going to provide you with advice that all new moms can benefit from.
Ignore The Rude Comments
Don’t ask me why, but some people just feel the need to give you unwanted comments/advice. Rudely. This can happen with people you know, and people you have never met. If you take everything each person says as a personal attack, you will probably go crazy. Some people have good intentions and want to make sure babies are taken care of; they just don’t know how to communicate it well.
For example, I was just at the dentist on a winter day with my baby. My daughter was bundled up in a hat and a blanket. I also had a canopy cover over her to keep snow and wind from blowing in her face. She was warm and safe. As I walked into the office, a lady looked at the car seat and said: “she better be bundled up.” I wanted to say “or what? Who are you and why do you think I wouldn’t bundle my baby up?” But instead, I politely said, “oh she is.”
Ignore the comments. You’ll hear some from family and friends too. They do not know your situation or your child like you do, so just smile and nod. Or you can kindly explain. However, do not feel like you owe anyone a reason as to why you do things. This can be especially tough if you are sensitive like I am or recovering from emotional wounds from the past. Just remember that you are the mother and as long as the child is safe, everything is okay.
Remember You Know Your Child Best
This is similar to the above advice but is still worth mentioning. You know your child best, especially if you are a stay at home mom. Just because other women have had babies before you, does not mean that they will know everything about taking care of YOUR baby. Each child is different. Not every trick will work for every baby. Something I have to tell myself is: “I’m not saying I know everything about babies, but I do know mine the best.” Follow your maternal instincts and make decisions with your partner. Listen to other advice but know you are the one who knows him/her best.
Say No To Feeling Guilty
Sadly, some serious mom guilt can come with being a mom. We tend to put pressure on ourselves, especially if we are trying to live up to other moms. But please, give yourself a break. You are new, and you will learn. No mother has it all together, even if they act as they do. Don’t get in the cycle of comparing yourself to other moms. You do not have to be like the mom you envy on social media. And you do not have to be a Pinterest perfect mom. I love the following quote:
“Guilt will only weigh you down, steal your joy, and affect your mood…which will then affect your family. Love, care and play with your children. Enjoy it while it lasts. Stop making yourself feel guilty. Take one step at a time and breathe.”
One way you can battle guilt is by making a list of what skills and lessons are most important to you. Then focus on tackling those items. For example, the aspects of parenthood that are most important to me are: teaching my child about God, allowing her to do things herself, modeling kind behaviors /good habits, and to simply enjoying life. I came up with an acronym for myself that helps me to stay on track. If I don’t do the cool sensory activity I saw on Pinterest; it’s fine. I am still going to focus on what I believe is important and enjoy the day with my daughter.
Don’t Ever Think You’re A Bad Mom
We are all going to make mistakes. You might accidentally clip your baby’s nail too short and draw blood or pinch skin while buckling her into something. There will be times you will need to step away from the crying just to breathe and refocus. And there are times you are going to want a break from your own kid. All of this is okay and does not make you a bad mom. You are going to make mistakes; it’s part of being a parent and part of being human.
Take Care Of Yourself Too
You need to take care of yourself and it starts right after your baby is born. If you gave birth vaginally, you have to follow the instructions to take care of your sore area. And if you are breastfeeding, you will need to use nipple cream, or you will regret it. Keep things in easy to reach places and attend to yourself. Do not be afraid to ask for help so you can take care of yourself. Your body needs it to recover properly.
This advice goes farther than just a month after giving birth. Take care of yourself by making sure you sleep enough, eat enough, and drink enough. Seriously, drink a lot of water if you are breastfeeding. Take time to do things you enjoy. You are allowed to take time for yourself, so do not feel bad doing it! Recharge so that you can offer your best self to your child.
We are incredibly blessed to live in a time where information is at our fingertips. Research anything and everything about babies and parenthood. Read books about babies. Sign up for those emails. Educate yourself. You don’t have to know everything, but it sure helps to be informed when making decisions. It will also ease your mind when you hear those unwanted comments.
Allow for Independence Early
As a teacher, I have seen many who are too dependent for tasks they can do themselves. Children naturally want to do things on their own, and we do them a disservice by doing everything for them. Your child will grow in their self-confidence and cognitive thinking if you allow them to be more independent. It’s okay if things are not done perfectly because they are learning. Independence can start as young as infancy by allowing them to choose the toy they will play with. Some other examples are: allowing your child to choose their own outfits, wipe their own face, put on their own socks, brush their own hair, etc.
You will be amazed at how much children can do when they are given the opportunity to do so. They learn fast and become proud of themselves, which will result in them wanting to learn more. I have seen proud smiles when I encourage children to try to do something themselves, like turn on a sink they thought they couldn’t reach. An easy way to allow for independence in your house is by storing things at their own level. Hooks, clothing, or dishes are all examples of items that can be stored lower.
Try Not To Freak Out
Your child is going to watch you like a hawk. He or she is curious and trying to learn about the world. This means that your little one is going to watch how you react to things and respond accordingly. If you are nervous and freaking out about something, your child may get tense as well. Instead, respond calmly and simply take care of the problem; your child will be more likely to stay calm this way.
For example, if your child spits up, there is no reason to become super alarmed about it. I can’t tell you how many times people become frazzled when my daughter has a tiny amount of spit up. Babies will spit up, and unless it is projectile vomit, there is no reason to get all nervous. When she spits up, I just wipe it up without much of a reaction. I’m definitely not saying I’m perfect, but I have noticed that when I respond calmly, she can continue playing and remains content. But if someone else overreacts, she looks at me and becomes alarmed.
Now, of course, there are exceptions to this. Every child is different, and some situations might produce a more serious reaction. If your child is crying, you need to attend to them. But I truly believe that my baby (who receives many compliments for being content) is the way she is because of nature AND nurture…meaning she is naturally this way and can remain this way because of her calm environment.
Teach, explain, guide
Your children are so curious as they are discovering the world. Use every opportunity as a teachable moment by explaining what is going on and why. Allow your children to explore their surroundings and play by themselves (with supervision of course). It is commonly believed that we have to be playing with our children at all times. However, doing so does not allow them to build their own imagination and causes them to become very needy! Children are smarter than we give them credit for. They want to learn and figure things out for themselves. We do not have to treat them like fragile dolls.
In my own house, I have allowed my baby to crawl through the bottom of our coffee table. I am always sitting right next to her while she is doing so. This has frightened many of my guests because they are worried she will bonk her head. But I have witnessed her learning to duck her head at the exact right moments. She has also learned to pull up her legs when crawling up and can carefully maneuver down. I am right next to her to catch her if needed, but I have given her the freedom to explore this table. As a result, she has learned some wonderful gross motor and problem-solving skills. I didn’t have to teach her what to do; she simply learned by herself because she was given the opportunity to do so.
Finally, read, read, and read! Begin reading to your children even when they are babies! Reading has numerous benefits, such as building language skills, increasing vocabulary, and stimulating an interest in sounds (just to name a few!)
Enjoy Your Baby!
You finally have the precious baby you have been waiting for! Soak up these moments and cherish the memories. They do grow fast, and although every stage is fun, you will never experience the fun baby stage with this child again.
If you feel like you are unable to enjoy motherhood and are having difficulty bonding with your baby, talk to your doctor or child’s pediatrician as it could be a sign of postpartum depression.
I hope these mom tips and tricks are helpful to you first-time moms! Incorporating these tips into your life as a mom can be so beneficial to both you and your family. But remember that you will learn as you go too. Congratulations and good luck!