This post is sponsored by Mirum but the opinions expressed are my own.
Nothing is as rewarding or as overwhelming as becoming a mom! Children are simultaneously wonderful and challenging as they can fill your heart with joy and, occasionally, drive you to your absolute mental limit. As with everything in this imperfect life, there are great days, there are good days, there are tough days, and there are days that feel unbearable.
Something that I’ve been wanting in my own life is a greater personal relationship with older, more experienced women and mothers. Many societies still put great value on family and community where the older walk with the younger and give advice and encouragement where it is needed. I know there have been many times that I could have used the wisdom and encouragement of more experienced moms than myself to help get me through life’s trials! Our modern society, unfortunately, seems to have lost the emphasis on community in many ways. However, that doesn’t mean that it has to remain so!
Sometimes social media and the internet can seem like such a negative place but, in reality, there are so many wonderful supportive people who are more than willing to help you (a perfect stranger) with your struggles. There is a lot of good to be found on the internet and social media.
Last year, while pregnant myself with my 5th child, I created a Facebook group for pregnant and new moms. I had no idea at the time how much that group would grow but boy did it! Now the group has over 16,000 moms from all over the US and even around the world. I love that women have come together to support each other in motherhood! I also love that I have been able to accumulate some of the best pieces of new mom advice.
Top 10 List of Best Advice For New Moms
10. Take videos that capture candid life with your baby.
Everyone takes photos but sometimes we don’t think to capture video as well. While photographs are great, video captures little things that will be incredibly valuable to you later on. A photo can capture a smile but not the sound of your baby’s laughter or their small voices as they learn to babble in their baby-talk later on. I’m telling you, these things will be precious to you! Capture them as often as you can!
9. Get a simple high chair with no nooks and crannies.
Unless you want to go outside to hose off the high chair every day, do yourself a favor and keep it simple! Those fancy multi-position high chairs with cloth seat covers can quickly become the bane of your existence if you have a messy eater… and you will have a messy eater! The fewer seams, the less time you’ll need to spend cleaning it!
8. It will take time for both of you to adjust after your baby is born.
It’s so easy to forget that your baby was attached to your body for almost 10 months. That baby isn’t going to want things to be different for a while! Even though your bodies are now separate, your baby doesn’t see it that way and will want to be “attached” to you anyways. Be patient and realize that it’s because you are your baby’s entire world. When you think of it that way, it’s kinda flattering. Enjoy this season and love on your baby as much as you possibly can.
7. Your baby isn’t giving you a hard time… your baby is having a hard time.
It’s easy to say this when you aren’t in the midst of a baby screaming in your face at 2 am but try as hard as you can to keep everything in perspective. Your baby isn’t trying to make you hate life. Your baby is having a hard time with something and can’t express it! Our son, Jacob, had extreme colic. My husband and I agree that it was probably the worst six months of our life and marriage. Then, just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. Remember, it will pass.
6. Let sleeping babies lie.
In the early months of life, there is no need to stress about a nap schedule. Each baby you have will probably have their own unique sleep requirements. Go with the flow! Let your baby nap as long as they want to and don’t feel like you need to wake them up unless you have somewhere you need to be. Their sleep pattern is going to change as they get older and you’ll find them sleeping less frequently during the day.
5. Breastfeeding is going to be uncomfortable at first.
This goes for physically as well as socially. There are people out there who are going to give you dirty looks for feeding your baby in public. Ignore them. Physically, you’re going to get sore and uncomfortable. It’s a fact! As I said above, this will pass. Do yourself a favor, though, and invest in some good nipple cream. You’re probably going to need it!
4. Take care of yourself.
Self-care is not a bad thing! You need and deserve a break now and then so don’t feel bad. It’s a good thing to give your body and mind rest! Leave the baby with your spouse for a few hours and take a nap, get some fresh air, go out with your friends, or do a hobby. You don’t need to feel bad about not being attached to your baby 24/7/365. Breaks and rest do not make you a bad mother!
This also means you need to trust people with your baby! Relax and remember that people aren’t going to harm your baby!
3. Let people help you.
When my husband and I decided to start having children, by all accounts we weren’t “financially ready” to grow our family. Money was already tight between both of us bringing in an income and we mutually decided that once the baby arrived, I would quit my job. The days were filled with money-saving strategies like coupon-clipping, cloth diapers, and anything else we could possibly do to stretch a dollar until it begged for mercy! Even today we live on a budget, albeit not as tight as it once was.
My point is, I know how hard life is when you live paycheck to paycheck. Most of us in the world today do! There always seems to be more month left at the end of the money.
While I wouldn’t want to return to how strapped for cash we once were, I wouldn’t trade those days away either. It taught me a lot of things about life and what is truly valuable. One of the biggest things I learned is the profound impact that a gesture of generosity can have. One day I was doing our grocery shopping at Walmart and, being around Christmas time, I was pushing an overflowing cart full of groceries and some holiday-related items to prepare for our family get-togethers throughout the season. As I was nearing the end of my shopping, I made eye contact with an older gentleman in the produce section. I figured he was marveling at my mad cart stacking skills. Honestly, I’m not sure how groceries hadn’t started to fall off of my cart at that point. There was no room left for anything! I added a last bunch of bananas and headed to the checkout as he went to the next aisle. When my order neared its completion, the man suddenly approached the checkout line and simply said, “Your groceries are on me today”. I was stunned. I kind of stammered over my words as nothing like this had ever happened to me before.
“What? Seriously? Are you sure? This is a lot of stuff!”, I said. “I’m positive. This is something I do for someone during this season every year.” was his reply. He paid for my groceries as I attempted to thank him as best as I could manage. Then he left. Just like that, no strings attached. When my husband got home from work, I told him about the amazing act of generosity we received. He was just as stunned as I was! The effect that this had on our struggling family is difficult to put into words that do it justice. The word that comes to mind most is “relief”. Since that day, I’ve tried to give greater consideration to my own generosity. Do I do enough to help my fellow man? Even “small” gestures of generosity can make HUGE impacts on the life of someone who is struggling. Which leads me to the next bit of advice:
2. Help others.
One small thing that I like to do is donate baby products to moms in need in my area. When a family is struggling to make ends meet, having to purchase formula can be a tremendous financial burden! I’ve heard of families who are forced to “stretch” their formula out (by watering it down slightly) at the expense of nutritional value to their baby. This breaks my heart! I don’t want anyone to be in that kind of position to have to make that choice! The truth about life is that we all need help sometimes. To say otherwise is to be dishonest. People need each other.
You are bound to be given gifts or have leftover baby items your little one will not need. Why not donate them to someone else who can use them? I have given so many baby items away over the years and it’s such a blessing to be able to bless others!
Locally we have a special program for teen moms. I love it because it pairs seasoned moms who have been there, done that, with young moms-to-be that have so many questions, concerns, and often not a lot of support at home. It allows girls to get advice on everything from formula to diapers to safe sleeping and so much more! While this season in life has made it difficult for me to volunteer in person (with 5 young children at home myself) I look forward to the day when my little ones are older and I can donate my time to the girls. In the meantime, I share my knowledge by donating products that I know and love. Speaking of products:
1. Expensive or name-brand products aren’t always best.
Some moms think that just because something costs the most that it’s also the best product. That’s just not accurate – at all! In fact, I love Parent’s Choice diapers and wipes from Walmart and they are far from the most expensive brand out there! They are typically the most affordable brand at Walmart and yet they work SO well.
It’s not just the diapers and wipes from Parent’s Choice that I love. When I’m donating to the teen moms in my area, my go-to brand for formula donations is always Parent’s Choice.
There are a number of reasons I go with Parent’s Choice formula over a national brand. The first benefit is the price! With the price point of Parent’s Choice formula, I can afford to donate more containers than I would if I purchased a national brand. Depending on the product, Parent’s Choice formula can cost 50% less!
However, while affordability is great, the product needs to be beneficial and effective. Even though I breastfeed, I know from talking to lots of other formula-feeding mom friends of mine that it’s also a brand that’s trusted by moms. Since I worked in daycares for years before having my own children, I saw firsthand how babies who drank Parent’s Choice formula thrived. I know so many moms who make the switch to Parent’s Choice formula and regret not doing it sooner. Not surprisingly, Parent’s Choice was named 2018’s best baby formula by Baby Bargains.
If you take a look at Parent’s Choice formulas, you’ll find that they are on par with the national brands. For example, their formulas marked “HMO” include “human milk oligosaccharide”. Essentially HMO is a prebiotic found in human breast milk that helps to foster beneficial bacteria which in turn supports baby’s immune system. You’ll find HMO in Parent’s Choice Sensitivity and Parent’s Choice Advantage formulas. What this translates to in benefits is that the formula more closely replicates breast milk and helps your baby’s immune system to compare to the immune system of a breastfed baby. In short, Parent’s Choice formulas offer complete nutrition for baby’s first year, HMO prebiotic to support immunity, DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E to support growth, and non-GMO ingredients.
Because I try to donate to local moms in need a few times a year, whenever I notice a good deal on Parent’s Choice products on the Ibotta app, I’ll go ahead and stock up.
This advice extends beyond formulas or food and applies to all mother, baby, and child products. Do your homework and read reviews. Bonus piece of advice: when I read the reviews, I ignore the highest and lowest scoring reviews and read the middle score reviews. I find that they’re often the most honest and complete.