Everyone has advice for new moms. Some of it good and some of it unsolicited. This article isn’t about that kind of advice. It is about real advice for new moms. What I would tell my pregnant self if I could go back in time. The insider information that I would share with my close friends and family.
As the mom to a now one-year-old I have learned a TON along the way. My hope is that by sharing it, soon to be new moms out there can put it into action. I am by no means an expert. This advice for new moms is based solely on my experiences.
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Here is the advice for new moms that I would go back in time to tell my pregnant self.
Seek Out Baby & Me Activities
There are a lot of options for classes and activities that are mom and baby focused. Some of them are more popular than others. Baby and me classes can be a great way to get out of the house and to socialize with other moms.
When my little one was born I tried registering in a mom and baby yoga class but it was full. Sadly, I was unable to get into another one until my little one was too old and mobile to attend.
One activity I loved taking my little one too was baby lap time at my local library. It was a half hour program for babies under the age of one. What a great way to get out of the house, even if just for a little bit. On those cold and snowy days, I looked forward to having an excuse to leave the house.
After the program ended the room was left open so moms and babies could socialize. After going a few weeks in a row I started to get to know the regulars. We became a sort of support network for each other.
Nobody understands what you are going through as a new mom better than other new moms.
Take Pictures with You in Them
I took hundreds of pictures of my little one that first year. And know of parents who took thousands. I just wish I had taken more of her and I together. Wanting to capture those special moments and cute smiles, I found that I was often the one behind the camera instead of in front of it.
Its important to capture the amazing moments with your little one, just make sure that you are in some of the pictures too. Don’t worry about what you think you look like. Nobody looks their best after having a little one. How could someone so sleep deprived look like they used to after a good night’s sleep?
My husband and I made a conscious effort to try and enjoy our time with our little one and not constantly experience it through the camera lens of our phones. That’s probably why we only had hundreds of pictures of our little one instead of thousands.
And oddly enough, I still feel like I took enough pictures to capture the whole year. I often look back on those pictures to see and remember the progression. As a sleep deprived new momma it was easy to forget smiles, outfits and cute moments along the way.
Keep a Journal
The thing I like about pictures is that they help to remember the past. Looking back brings up memories of so many moments.
I wish I had kept a journal that first year. Somewhere I recorded my thoughts, successes and challenges.
Keeping a journal of the first year with your little one can be a great memento for a future gift when they are grown up. It provides a place for you to reflect on when you have another little one.
Reflecting back now after the fact, I have no idea how I got my little one into a sleep routine. What preparations I made to get ready for childbirth.
Journaling can also help your mental health postpartum.
Related Post: Overcoming Postpartum Self-Doubt
It does not have to take up a lot of your time, because to be honest, as a new mom your own time can be very limited. Just take 5 minutes a day to jot down a few things. Going back and reading it a month later will let you experience that first year all over again.
Skip the Fancy Diaper Bag
In short, don’t waste your money on a fancy diaper bag. A good backpack that you like will work just fine. Bonus if it’s a used one!
When I was looking for a diaper bag I questioned some of my mom friends about what they liked and didn’t like about theirs. The consensus was that a backpack option was the best as it kept your hands free.
Because we had planned on my husband taking off 4 months as paternity leave we wanted to get a diaper bag option that worked for him too. I ended up picking a grey Eddie Bauer backpack option. And HATED it.
The backpack itself was nice but felt like there was never enough room in it. It is a fairly large bag but just has a very poor use of space. It also only closes with Velcro so it was hard to force it closed if it was over packed.
I ended up using an Osprey day pack that we had instead. I LOVE this backpack. Converting it into a diaper bag was a no brainer. It was way more functional and comfortable to carry. The best part was that I already owned this back pack so it was no extra cost.
Travel as Much as You Can When your Baby is Little
Flying with a little one on your lap is free as long as they are under 2. This is much easier to do the younger they are. The older they get the more mobile they become. They are less happy with just snuggling in your lap, they want to move and crawl and wiggle.
When my little one was four and a half months old, my mom and I took her on her first plane ride. We flew across the country to visit family for ten days. She was a rock star that first flight. I put her in my wrap and she slept the majority of the flight both ways.
Fast forward a few months and the second time I took her on a flight she was ten months old. And way more mobile! Trying to keep an almost toddler entertained on a flight for almost four hours is a lot harder than when she slept the whole time.
Bonus advice for new moms:
Here are three tips to entertain your little one on those long haul flights:
- Keep one of their favourite toys hidden and only pull it out for take-off and landing.
- Being pre-occupied and sucking on their favourite toy can help their ears when the pressure in the cabin changes on takeoff and landing.
- If you can don’t travel alone with your little one.
- Having someone else there to interact with your little one will help to pass the time. It can also help in giving you a bit of a break. Especially if you have to go to the bathroom.
- Go for walks
- Whenever the seatbelt sign is of, try and take your little one for a walk up and down the aisle. This will change up the scenery and also help pass the time.
If you want to travel with your little one, do as much of it as you can when they are as young as possible. It will be way harder as they get older.
Buy More Used, and Less New
Tons of clothing and baby stuff ends up in the landfill every year. You can help this by buying used baby stuff more than you buy new.
Babies grow so fast that often you can find good quality used stuff that has been barely used or worn or that even still has the tags on. And because your baby will grow so fast you don’t really need a lot of clothes for them in each size.
Related Post: 5 Ways to Save Money with Babies
Visit a Pelvic Floor Specialist
I think that this is one of the number one things that get missed by moms. Yet it is probably one of the most important for a mom’s health long term.
Visiting a pelvic floor specialist prior to childbirth can help your body get ready for that big day. The specialist can offer stretches and exercises to help prepare your body.
After the birth of your little one you will want to get clearance from your doctor to do any physical activity. This usually happens around the 6-week mark postpartum.
Once you have doctor’s clearance, schedule an appointment with your pelvic floor specialist. Postpartum is the most important time to see them.
They can provide you with exercises to help get your body back to the state that it was pre-pregnancy. Often times moms have issues that they do not even realize until years later.
Pelvic floor specialists can address things like diastasis recti, prolapse, and poor bladder control. The best part is that most insurance plans will cover these visits.
Even if you did not see a pelvic floor specialist before you had your little one, it is definitely worth a visit or two after.
Advice for New Moms – Recap
- Seek out baby & me activities
- Take pictures of your little one with you in them
- Keep a journal
- Skip the fancy diaper bag
- Travel as much as you can when your baby is little
- Buy more used, less new
- Visit a pelvic floor specialist
Advice for New Moms Final Thoughts
If I could go back and do it all over again, I’m not sure I would change much. The first year with my little one has been amazing.
That being said, this advice for new moms is exactly what I will try to do with my next little one. It is practical and based on real life experience.
With our next one I plan on carving out time for more baby and me activities, to take more pictures of us together, keep a journal, and travel as much as I can when they are very young. I have no plans on buying a new diaper bag and plan to re-use as much of the baby stuff that I have already that I can. Visiting a pelvic floor specialist will also be something I do both prenatally and postpartum.
Like I said, I’m by no means an expert, and I might be slightly biased but this is some great advice for new moms. Just wish someone had told me when I was a new mom myself.
What is some of the good advice for new moms you have heard?