My 9 Best Tips For New Moms

new baby
Image via JJBrusie Photography

Yesterday, at the hospital where I work as an OB nurse, I admitted a young mother onto the floor who was pregnant with her fourth baby. When I looked at her chart, I realized she was 29, only a few years older than me.

“Wow!” I thought to myself. “That's a lot of kids!” And then I realized, oh yeah. I have three of them myself.

“Wow!” I thought to myself. “That's a lot of kids!” And then I realized, oh yeah. I have three of them myself.

To be completely honest with you, sometimes it surprises even myself that I am a mother of three. In a lot of ways (especially if you look at my outdated wardrobe) I don't feel that different from the slightly nerdy, awkward girl – with unfortunately flat hair – that I was in high school. But judging by the tyrants three people who insist on me caring for them day in and day out, I am officially a mother of three. And I guess with that in mind, it qualifies me to pass on my best tips for new moms, so here are some that came to mind. 

pregnant belly
Image via Flickr/katechin

Expect the Unexpected. From a birth plan that may not go according to plan, to a baby that sleeps through the night right after coming home from the hospital, surprises are often the first rule of motherhood. And sure, sometimes those surprises may not smell the best; but other times, they can be great, I swear.

relaxing in sun
Image via Flickr/simon_music

Give yourself a break. There is so much ridiculous pressure on parents to be all things to their children these days. I mean, think about it. All throughout history, new mothers would have been surrounded by experienced mothers and older women to help them through their journeys, share the burden of cooking and cleaning, and probably give their weary arms a break from holding a baby all day.

When you need a break, take one and know that your child will benefit from being with someone else for a change.

But today? Many moms try to do what's “best” by staying home alone all day with their children, isolated, and unsure of their parenting. It's no wonder we are stressed! It's just not always natural or healthy for a mom to be her child's one and only source of entertainment, conversation, inspiration, transportation, or education. When you need a break, take one and know that your child will benefit from being with someone else for a change.

bottle baby
Image via Flickr/Nanageyi

Consider starting your baby on a bottle early. Even if you don't plan on ever giving your baby formula, at least introduce your baby to a bottle in her first few weeks of life by pumping and giving breast milk in a bottle. I promise this will save you all kinds of heartache later on. My third child refused to ever take a bottle because I waited too long to introduce it to him. Not only was I wracked with guilt anytime I had to leave him (even to go to work), but it was hard to see my husband miss out on that bond with him as well.

 

exercising mom
Image via Flick/Ed Yourdon

Make time to exercise (eventually). Ok, so that may sound kind of confusing; but what I mean is this: don't fret about “bouncing back” right away after giving birth. And by “right away,” I mean the entire first year of your baby's life. (No, seriously.) Sometimes, things change a bit in the body department and honestly? It will be ok. It really and truly isn't worth wasting time feeling stressed about your body when your baby literally is growing up in your arms. That being said, however, I am a big believer in new moms taking care of themselves, so do make time to exercise or be active in some capacity every day as soon as you are cleared by your doctor.

big brother
Image via Flickr/katechin

Don't let your child grow up as the center of the universe. Wait, does that sound harsh? For new mothers, especially mothers who choose to stay home, it can be so easy to place the baby at the center of our day. The entire day revolves around the screeches and cries of this one teeny, little human being. And while I'm not being unrealistic, because of course, some days it really will be tough to get a shower in. For the most part, I think it's best to let the natural ebb and flow of the day include your children learning that sometimes they will have to wait for mom, whether that means that it's ok for you to have a conversation with your husband without being interrupted 10,000 times or working from home. Realistically, becoming a mother doesn't always mean catering to your child 24/7.

mom child cuddling
Image via Flickr/alenka getman

No one is judging you. I have a hard time practicing this one to this very day. In fact, the other day, I stammered and made excuses at the pediatrician's office because my daughter let it spill that I let them eat Lunchables and McDonald's all in one day. Fail. He just smiled and shook his head at me. “Chaunie,” he said sternly. “Stop thinking everyone is judging you! You're a great mom!”

And he's right.

There's no one out there patrolling to make sure you're doing things the right way … probably because a “right way” doesn't exist. Although, admittedly, not letting your kids eat junk food all day is probably a good place to start.

mom and daughter
Image via Flickr/seth stoll

You don't get a medal for doing it all by yourself. I came across this tip the other day and it floored me. One writer pointed out that so often, moms take on this attitude of “I do everything, without any help!” and wear it like a badge of honor, like it's a sign of how great of a mom they can be. But really, who's handing out the motherhood trophies on who did the most with the least amount of help? Who's handing out the motherhood trophies on who did the most with the least amount of help? It doesn't work that way, my friends. Although maybe your daughter might just share her tiara with you…

Image via gemling
Image via gemsling

Even moms of 8 struggle. One of my favorite authors, Danielle Bean, is a mother of eight; and in one of her books, she confessed that she actually found the stage with three young children and babies to be harder than having eight children. On days when I wonder if I am ruining my children forever because I am the worst mother in the entire world, remembering this inspires me, because it's really not me. Having little people really can be that hard. 

Image via Flickr/eren {sea & prairie}
Image via Flickr/eren {sea & prairie}

Every mom is different. I mean, really. There are so many types of different mothering styles out there. Moms who stay home, moms who work in an office, moms who are in rock bands, moms who work nights, mom who have recently taken a job out-of-state (ahem), moms who embrace TV, moms who ban TV. It really comforts me to know that, seriously, none of it matters except that our kids know they are loved. They are the true yardstick to which we can measure our successes as mothers. So don't waste time comparing or contrasting your life to anyone else's, because it just.won't.work.

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My 9 Best Tips For New Moms

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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9 comments

  1. Profile photo of clara clara says:

    i come from a single mom of 3 im the last and only baby girl and now i got a baby girl on her way this was great advise and memory recaller

  2. last tip is the best for me

  3. Great to be able to delve into the insights of a 3 time Mom! I’m about to be a first timer (due in November) and the staying calm/taking a break messages really resonate with me. I tend to be the type that needs ‘permission’ to take the chill road, but I’m starting to realize the mass benefits of keeping my cool and letting myself get away with not being perfect all the time! 🙂

  4. Profile photo of Mika Mika says:

    There is so much great advice here!
    For one thing, I was on the fence about how to deal with bottles when I plan to breastfeed exclusively. I’m not completely informed yet, but you made some good points.
    I have a feeling that I’m going to feel like the people around me are judging the way I parent. I’m 20 years old, and look a few years younger. I also suffer from social anxiety, so I feel like everyone around me is judging me anyway (even if they aren’t).
    Thank you for posting this!

  5. Profile photo of Crystal says:

    Good Advice. I’m 18 with my first child on the way!

  6. the very best advice I ever received is don’t try to do it all if you have people willing to help…take it once in a while and nap whenever you can!! when I became a new mom I took pride in doing everything for my new baby girl that when my mother or anyone else offered I said no thank you but shortly after I started work and I was literally falling asleep standing up and just in pure exhaustion so when I had my second baby girl I decided to let someone close to me help out once in a while and just took a nap whenever I could and I was less insane the second time around

  7. Profile photo of Ellamiek says:

    Wonderful advise. Calmed my nerves a little too!

  8. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    Amazing advice, these will help new moms for sure. I’m not so nervous of becoming a mom as much as a nanny and a mom. I get to take my son to work with me, I nanny, so I’m nervousness can I do both equally. Waiting to see what my schedule is then I will know a little more on how nervous I will be.

  9. The two pieces of advice that I want to share have really helped me out. 1)even though it may not make sense why you feel a certain way(ie: why you don’t want someone holding your baby or doing a certain thing with your baby) listen to your intuition, but be nice about it. Don’t offend someone to get your way, and if things don’t go your way, evaluate why you may be feeling that way and ask yourself if its really worth arguing over. I sometimes have a difficult time with my mil because she does things against my wishes when it comes to my daughter, but I know she means well so I try not to be upset.
    2)don’t correct your husband when he’s helping out, unless it’s going to cause harm. I was so happy when I heard this before our dd was born. Let your husband be a father, let him help out and find out what your LO needs his own way. You don’t know everything about parenting so you may learn a few things by letting your husband do things on his own, even if it’s not how you would have done something

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