I’ve survived ten months as a first time mom and I feel like I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought was possible. These past ten months have been filled with so much love and happiness but they’ve also been filled with anxiety, frustration, fear, and an overwhelming feeling that I’m screwing everything up. I never realized just how many emotions it’s possible to feel within 24 hours. I can go from feeling so relaxed and relieved that Nate is finally down for his nap to feeling overcome with anxiety from missing him so much even though he’s only a room away from me within five minutes. I know I’m still a first time parent and I have years and years of learning still ahead of me but I have discovered a few tips for you other first time parents out there!
Firstly, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help! I’m the type of person who thinks I can do anything and everything. I rarely ask for help from family and friends because I feel like I can handle anything life throws my way. But after having Nate, I realized just how important it is for you to have someone there to help. Maybe not every day or even every other day but once in a while it’s good to ask and let people help you. In the first few months everyone will want to be over at your house to see your brand new bundle of joy. Take this time to ask for any help you can get. Whether it’s simply having someone hold your baby for you so you can shower or get some house work done; every little bit helps. I found even having a visitor for say 30 minutes one day during the week just to have adult conversations with helped my sleep deprived self.
Secondly, if family or friends ask if you would like them to bring you over something for dinner, say yes! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or store bought. I had my mom, step-mom, and friends bring Kurt and I over all types of casseroles or dishes that we could easily freeze then just reheat at dinner time. This took so much weight off of my shoulders knowing I didn’t need to be in the kitchen for hours prepping dinner for us while taking care of a newborn. I could grab a Tupperware container from our deep freeze and just throw it in the oven or microwave. You’d be surprise just how happy and relieved you are that you don’t need to cook when you’ve got a screaming baby on your hands.
Thirdly, I would suggest keeping a changing station in your main living area (or where you’ll be spending most of your time). It was super easy not having to carry Nate upstairs every time he required a bum change. The first week we brought Nate home we quickly realized he was the type of baby who needed to be changed the instant he got the tiniest bit wet. He would scream and scream and scream until he was clean and dry. This meant sometimes we were going up and down stairs four times in the span of 20 minutes. Yes, that doesn’t seem like much but after giving birth and having a second degree episiotomy and third degree tear; the stairs were NOT my friend. So Kurt suggested we create an area in our family room where I could change Nate without constantly going up to his room. We bought an extra diaper genie and then a few small storage bins to fill with diapers, wipes, creams, etc and just placed it off the the side where it wasn’t as visible. This also made it easier for guests we had over because they didn’t need to go upstairs to change him either.
It’s also important to remember age appropriate toys. Nate was two months at Christmas and for his present my dad and step-mom bought him an exersaucer like I had asked them to. I knew that Nate wouldn’t be able to use it for a few months since he was still so small but I figured eventually we’d need one so getting it as a present seemed like a smart idea. Kurt was so excited for it that he set it up immediately when we got home. However; he quickly realized that there was no way Nate was big enough to use it yet so it just sat in our family room taking up space for the next 2.5-3 months. While I love how excited Kurt was to see Nate jumping around, it’s important to think “Is my baby going to use this soon?” If the answer is no, just keep it in the box in storage until he/she is big enough for it. Otherwise, you could end up staring at an unusable exersaucer for a long time.
I also think it’s important to double check your diaper bag before going out somewhere for longer than say an hour. I can’t tell you the number of times Kurt asked and I swore up and down that yes there were enough diapers, yes I checked to see if we had wipes, yes I put a change of clothes in his bag only to find out that we only had three diapers or the wipes were almost empty or no I didn’t pack a change of clothes and he peed through the diaper he was wearing. You can never be too careful! Check, double check, and even triple check if you’re as forgetful as me (and yes, you will be because “mom brain” is totally real!)
Sleep when the baby sleeps is not always an option! Everyone will give you this piece of “advice” and let me tell you that sometimes you just can’t! Whether it’s because you’re doing housework or eating lunch because you’re starving or trying to catch up on the mountains of laundry that are starting to pile up, it’s just not always possible to sleep when the baby sleeps. Which brings me back to my first tip! If you’re exhausted (and you will be) it’s o.k. to have someone come over and watch your baby for an hour or so while you take a nap. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! You NEED to be able to function in order to take care of a baby and sleep deprivation is a serious thing. You aren’t super(wo)man.
And lastly, it’s o.k. not to follow some of the advice you’re given. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I received wanted and unwanted advice from family, friends, and even complete strangers regarding my son. Sometimes, I took the advice given to me like when Kurt’s sister showed me ways that can help a baby expel their gas build up and sometimes I didn’t take it like when Kurt’s mom told me she started all her kids on infant cereal at eight weeks and therefore, I should do the same with Nate. Your baby is your baby and you will know them best. You’ll learn their cries and know what one means what. So don’t be afraid to not listen when someone suggests you feed your baby because he/she is crying or when someone tells you that you should wake up your sleeping baby because the line on the diaper is blue indicating it’s wet. It’s perfectly fine to listen to the advice someone gives you but at the end of the day you need to do what you think is best for not only your baby but you as well!
I hope these are some helpful tips for you soon-to-be first time parents or you seasoned parents out there who may not have thought about these things before! Thanks for reading and have a happy Sunday! Feel free to comment or leave any other tips or helpful advice below! I love hearing from you guys! 🙂