Being a mom isn’t easy, especially when you’re a first time mom.
First time moms come into this barely prepared (if at all), having to face one problem after another. And, a lack of organization in their first year is probably going to leave them feeling scattered all over the place.
That said, it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be, especially with all the online resources available to moms nowadays.
This is hopefully going to be one such resource, one I decided to write specifically to help new moms prepare for their first baby and teach them how to deal with all the pressure that comes along with it.
We were all first time moms once. We’ve all had to learn how to fold a diaper, how breastfeeding works, how to handle something as delicate as a child, and needed all the tips and tricks that come with experience.
We all had to discover what kind of mom we were going to be to our kids.
And that’s why I’m here today, to talk to you about what it’s like being a new mom and share with you how to deal with all the pressures that are going to affect you as you get accustomed to this sudden lifestyle shift.
So, get comfortable and be sure to bookmark this article so you can use it as a quick reference guide should a new baby be in the works.
It beats having to go through dozens of first time mom books, that’s for sure.
What Being A First Time Mom Is Like
Now, to be honest, the first time I became a new parent I was overcome with all sorts of emotions.
The first one was pride. I was proud of both myself and my husband for being able to bring such a wonderful angel into this world, and I was proud of my baby girl for finally being born and having to deal with my panic for 9 months.
The second feeling was a mix of fear and dread. While I did go to all of the classes on birthing and motherhood, I just had this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I felt like I was clueless! I was shaking with both joy and fear when I held her because I didn’t know where life would go from that point.
As I finished with my postpartum period and took over all my responsibilities as a mom, some of those fears were realized.
Budgeting was a nightmare. The initial plan was to function as a two-income household, but we had to switch to single-income.
I just couldn’t manage teaching kids at school and having to take care of my little bundle of joy back at home right after work while also doing my share of the chores.
The right brands were hard to find. Being environmentally friendly meant that I opted for all sorts of organic diapers, organic baby food, and organic baby wipes – everything had to be organic in some way, shape, or form.
And, honestly, having to sift through so much information and browse through so much content was exhausting.
Pile that on to the laundry basket full of problems that I had very limited time to deal with and I had myself one hell of a mess.
I had to quit my job to manage motherhood properly. Because I decided to be a mom first, I had to work around that commitment so I eventually quit my job as a teacher to be able to fully focus on my baby.
The in-between period of trying to figure out what to do for an income was met with quite the tightening of the belt.
My husband’s salary was able to sustain us, but at times it was extremely difficult having to ration food and not go for the expensive stuff.
Having to type “budget” on every search was somewhat painful, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of given how others have to make do with much less! But, more on that later.
Not having a steady sleep schedule was a nightmare. Honestly, my biggest mistake coming into motherhood for the first time was not realizing just how erratic my newborn baby’s sleep schedule would be.
There were so many sleepless nights that it was outright traumatic at times.
Sleep deprivation hit hard and there were many late nights just to make my darling baby sleep and the cycle would repeat through the night. Every night felt like a series of nap times – oh, how I missed a solid eight hours of sleep!
Not to mention the impact this had on my immune system and my overall health.
Going off to work with just two hours of sleep wasn’t ideal and was one of the major reasons why managing work alongside my first child was impossible.
Maybe one day maternity leave will be a bit longer than it is now so all moms can be with their kids for at least a few months before having to return to work, their lives can at least be somewhat in order, and they can have time to bond with their little one.
My breast milk production suffered from the stress. Among other things, stress was the primary factor in my maternal woes and, let me tell you, it made anything I scheduled completely null and void.
Either due to her not getting enough milk or being hit by a powerful letdown reflex that effectively drowned her in milk with a strong foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.
But, thankfully, it was only the first weeks that were nightmarish as a result of me giving in to the panic and after the first month or two, we slowly began to stabilize.
As my child grew up, she didn’t need as much attention as before.
Once she weaned off breast milk and began eating solids, I could leave her with a babysitter while I went to the grocery store to restock.
Or, I could take a break and go outside with my husband or my friends to unwind and experience life without any obligations for a little while.
Trust me, it’s the little things that help keep you afloat during your first round with motherhood alongside the love you have for your precious little child.
But, you can only manage with a babysitter up to a point. After all, they do cost money and I was on a budget, so getting one was a luxury that we just couldn’t sustain.
So I asked for help from relatives. My family was more than eager to help jump in for me whenever I felt overwhelmed and needed a break, especially my brother and my grandparents.
Having outside assistance to take care of my little girl when I couldn’t mentally be there for my baby was a true lifesaver.
That said, other mommy support groups came in handy too. Listening to so many different perspectives from other moms was a blessing as a first time mom.
They seemed to have it all figured out. But, they told me that they were just like me with their first child and there was no shame in it.
Moms stick together and they made it so much easier for me until I could finally stand on my own two feet.
They loaned me some of the more expensive baby gear; things like baby cribs, clothes (because they grow so quickly!), baby carriers, learning toys, and especially one of the most expensive things on the list, a baby stroller.
I still handled the rest because I wasn’t about to get a second-hand baby bottle or pacifier for my child. Plus, I didn’t want to seem like I couldn’t fend for myself at all (and I wanted my own diaper bag, so I could stand out a bit).
That said, all those loans helped ease the pressure on my budget until we finally found a solution.
I found a new career as a blogger. I founded FindYourMomTribe which allowed me to be a working mom with all the perks of remaining a stay-at-home mom as well.
And, it had the added bonus of allowing me to keep my passion alive! I could still teach and makes others’ lives easier.
Except this time it wasn’t kids, but rather first time moms or more experienced ones who had to deal with the same problems I had or were simply looking for the best possible way to do something.
This is why I chose to start writing, why I decided to share everything I had learned, and was learning, because, as moms, we have to stick together to make it easier for all of us!
Kids need their moms around and only through standing together can we ensure plenty of mom and kid time.
While there are bound to be differences from mom to mom, you’ll find that all of us face similar problems.
Some will be less challenging for some moms while some will end up seeming absolutely impossible to overcome.
But, there is a solution to everything and I believe I’ve got it, or at least most of it as every journey through motherhood is unique despite all the similarities.
So, here are a few first time mom tips that will hopefully make the journey of motherhood a little bit easier.
16 Steps To Adapt To Motherhood The First Time Around
1. Don’t rush your first pregnancy
I don’t mean waiting impatiently for your due date and telling the baby to hurry up, that would be silly.
No, what I mean is that you should try and not get discouraged by seeing all your friends and/or coworkers sharing their baby pictures on social media or talking to you about it during conversation.
Don’t get jealous of their growing tummy or their lovable bundles of joy.
Rushing will only lead to mistakes.
Instead, wait until you feel like the time is right, when you believe you’re ready to take the plunge because facing these problems as a first time mom will take a lot of effort no matter how prepared you are.
Trust me, I rushed into it because I was very prone to peer pressure back then and, even though I felt prepared, I still struggled when the time came.
2. Don’t be concerned if it doesn’t work the first time around
Conception is a tricky thing, it doesn’t always end up happening on the first try. Our bodies are complicated, especially our reproductive organs.
The key is to keep trying, find out what time of the month you’re most fertile, and align your attempts with that. You’re bound to succeed eventually.
EXTRA: If you or your husband for some reason cannot conceive a child, adoption or having a surrogate parent is always an option and there is no shame in it.
Chances are, adopted kids will love you just as much as they would love their biological parents and you are likely to love them as though you had given birth to them. Either way, there is no price that can be put on seeing your little one smile, biological or not.
3. Don’t keep your expectations about gender high
When you go to that fateful ultrasound where you discover the baby’s biological gender, don’t feel disappointed if it ends up being different from what you were expecting.
Trust me, you’ll love your precious little child regardless of gender.
4. Don’t panic if the pregnancy doesn’t finish on the due date
Just because you’re 36 weeks pregnant and finishing your third trimester doesn’t mean that your child is going to pop out on the dot. Your uterus isn’t an easy-bake oven.
These things can take a few days, if not weeks in some cases.
Whatever the case may be, just make sure to stay calm and report it to your doctor so he/she can give you further instructions on how to proceed if you haven’t gone into labor yet.
5. If vaginal birth isn’t an option, a C-section is no less natural
I know there are some purists out there, but honestly, sometimes the baby will just not fit through the cervix depending on how dilated it has become during labor.
And, if you insist on it, you’re only going to end up with a baby in distress and you’re likely to resort to even worse measures to make the space wide enough for the baby to come out.
Trust me, listen to your doctor’s advice on this one. If he/she offers you a C-section and tells you that it’s the best way, take it.
Otherwise, you’re just unnecessarily putting both yourself and your baby at risk of the worst consequences.
The scar will eventually fade away and you can get a C-section recovery belt to keep it safe and assist with the healing process.
6. Go to your maternity/delivery classes
While you can never be prepared for every situation that’s going to arise from being a first time mom, being completely unprepared is going to be a lot worse.
So make sure to at least prepare as best you can, that way you’ll be able to handle situations far better. This isn’t some sort of test where you can just guess, it’s another person’s life.
And, it’s your duty, as that person’s mother and parent to raise them to the best of your ability.
7. Know that there is no perfect way to raise a child
While there is no “right” way to parenting due to every child’s wants and needs being different, there are plenty of wrong ways to parent.
I know that raising a child can be a trying time, but under no circumstances should you get angry at her for doing something that’s out of her control.
Your baby can’t help crying when she’s hungry or when she’s upset. She’s new to this world and doesn’t know how anything works.
It’s up to you to be her guiding light. So, make sure to be patient with your kid and to never raise your hand against her.
8. Buy what you need before the baby is born
Believe me, you won’t have the time to go shopping afterward, and trusting the task to someone who doesn’t know your body will be challenging.
The first thing I suggest buying to make your life so much easier is comfy clothing.
Having some stretchy tights or wide sweatpants is going to feel like a dream, both during pregnancy and for when you have to walk around the house and watch over your baby.
The same goes for the upper half of the body, but also remember, you will need clothing that will allow you to reach the breast easier when you have to breastfeed your child.
As for the rest, you already know most of the items, but in case you don’t:
- lots of diapers and baby wipes
- a couple of pacifiers that scale to your baby’s age
- a baby bottle or two with a few different artificial nipple sizes
- a breast pump (either manual or automatic works, but I suggest automatic for a more hands-free experience)
- breast milk storage bags
- a burp cloth
- extra towels
- a baby bath
- a baby crib
- baby food
- a stroller
There’s a lot more, but these are the essentials that need to be covered for the first few weeks or so.
Do try to see if you can get them second-hand or on loan from any of your fellow moms nearby. It’ll help cut the initial costs down a lot and you might not even need to purchase your own.
Most of the time these items just end up collecting dust so you might be doing them a favor by helping clear space and they’ll be returning it by cutting costs for you!
Do make sure that the items that are going to be in contact with your child (especially the diapers and the baby wipes) are BPA and phthalate-free and that they’re hypoallergenic.
That little bit of foresight is going to help you avoid dealing with many unsightly rashes and potentially nasty allergic reactions that your child might experience.
9. If you don’t get everything beforehand, don’t worry
While it helps to have everything prepared prior to the baby being born, missing a few items won’t cost you your head.
Luckily, there are many shortcuts in the modern age that offer us commodities our parents didn’t have back when we were young.
And the main one of those is online shopping.
Get yourself acquainted with sites like eBay and Amazon as well as your favorite retailers’ online stores because they’ll be your best way of restocking once you’re all out of baby gear.
This way, you won’t have to worry about who’s going to stay with the baby if you’re the only one at home and supplies are running low.
Do try to order in bulk though if you have the space to store the items because it’ll cost you less overall and you’ll need to make fewer orders over time which just ends up being a lot more efficient.
And please, don’t let yourself end up with only half a dozen diapers or one box of baby wipes before you re-order because you won’t have a pleasant time if there’s a delay in delivery.
Think ahead of time and order when you reach the one week remaining mark at the very least.
10. Listen to the people around you
While momma knows best when it comes to her child is the tried and tested rule, don’t hold onto it too dearly as others are there to give you some helpful insight as well.
Be open to it, especially when it comes from healthcare professionals or more experienced moms.
That said, don’t always take it too literally when it comes to a subjective matter, rather process their words of advice and adapt it into something that will fit you and your baby the best.
11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Leading off of #10, this one, I believe is one of the most important bits of advice.
If there’s something that’s going on that you don’t understand, you’re always free to call upon a doctor or your lactation consultant to check if what’s happening is alright.
Don’t think that you’re wasting their time. It is their job to assist you with any medical problem and it’ll help you prevent a lot more issues than just ignoring the issue would.
Long gone are the days of parents just saying “walk it off” when something could potentially be a future complication that will affect your or your child’s life negatively.
So don’t allow yourself to be passive and always be ready to take action and educate yourself at any point.
The same goes for asking for help from friends and family. Everyone is always ready to help chip in here and there should you need help.
That said, don’t abuse that privilege as they have lives of their own as well and you can’t expect them to do everything for you. Every once in a while should be okay though.
12. Find time for yourself and the things that make you happy
Now that you’re finally a mom know that you aren’t required to be around the child 24/7.
Despite what others may tell you, you’re only human and humans need rest and time for themselves sometimes too.
I love my kids and my husband and the fact that they enjoy some of my hobbies, but I’ve learned that I need a bit of “me” time where I can just relax and do what I love doing by myself.
As I’ve said earlier as well, it’s the little things that count. While yes, a child is going to give you boundless joy, there are still things you can do to help you process everything and help ease your mind.
Things like your own hobbies, going out with friends, watching a movie, having a baby shower or a gender reveal party, or simply putting your feet up and letting out a sigh of relief as you gaze at a spot on the ceiling.
Sometimes, it’s good to be alone with your thoughts and process the day so that you can come out refreshed and ready to take on a fresh new batch of responsibilities.
Think of it as a few reset buttons along the way so you don’t get overwhelmed.
13. You can’t control what your baby does and wants
As organized as you want to be, it’s never really that simple when it comes to a baby. She’ll do what she wants to, it’s up to you to adapt to her needs and provide for them.
The other thing you need to do is grow some tolerance for their bodily functions because poop and spit-up clean-up duty will happen often.
Expect to go through A LOT of diapers and baby wipes and know that the smell can sometimes be really… fragrant, to put it politely.
All of these messes and other little tidbits might slowly build up to infuriate you, but try your best to not let them.
Take a few deep breaths to help calm yourself or have your own time to help process the frustrations in a healthy manner.
14. It’s not all on you
Even though all of this seems like an immense amount of effort, remember that it’s something you decided on doing and that underneath all the mess, it’s worth it just to see that angelic smile adorn your little one’s face.
But, you’re not the only parent with responsibilities, you hopefully have a partner around too.
If you do, share the responsibilities out evenly and shoulder the burdens that come with raising a child together so you can go through this initial period quickly and reap the rewards along the way.
15. Find some like-minded people
As mentioned earlier, mommy support groups helped me out greatly when I had my first child, not only with advice, but as an outlet for me to vent when I simply needed to.
It was a place where I could drop the stoic façade and break down if I needed to because I was genuinely feeling overwhelmed.
As well as your own family knows you, the peers who’ve gone through the same issues will understand you best in these times and will know how to offer the best words of comfort alongside the advice.
16. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place
If doubt ever crosses your mind about whether or not becoming a parent was worth all of the initial trouble, look down into your baby’s eyes and remember that you’re doing it for her.
I know it sounds cheesy, but just seeing your darling child and their beautiful form is good enough to remind you that you’re doing it for them and your love for them.
It’ll be what brings you through most of the difficult early times.
Being a first time mom is probably one of life’s toughest tests. Luckily for you, this test always has a very good motivator to pass and that motivator usually has two arms, two legs, will learn to say “mamma” and does the silliest things.
For all the bad that might happen, it’s replaced by so much more good that comes out of having a child.
A little one whose innocent soul likes nothing more than to explore her surroundings, try new things out, and cuddle up to her mamma and papa whenever she wants to feel loved.
If you can keep that at the forefront of your mind during the first year of motherhood, then I can guarantee that you’ll be able to make it through all the trials and that you’re going to do just fine!
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