First Time Mom Seeks Advice

Updated on April 23, 2007
S.K. asks from Minneapolis, MN
12 answers

I will be 28 this fall when I have my first baby. This is the first grandchild on both sides, so everyone is very excited! I have been hearing lots of advice. I like some of it, and want to throw the rest out the window. What do you know now, that I should also know?

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a few bits of information that I found helpful, but, once again, it is different for everyone.

I used Halo Sleepsack/Swaddlers (where you velcro their arms down) - it helped immediately in terms of getting my baby to sleep for longer stretches. She loved it, and they are the only product approved by SIDS foundation.

I also bought a Moby wrap (, and it was a lifesaver when she was a little baby to carry her around the house and get things done. She loved it and would fall asleep immediately when I put her in there. Plus it helps with bonding.

After the baby was born, I didn't sleep enough. I felt obligated to clean and entertain visitors, but I would NOT recommend that now. Sleep when you can!!!

Other than that, it's just a learning experience. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Here's a few things from my experience:
The first few weeks watch out at diaper changes. Both my girls would sneeze or cough and poop squirted out and it goes far.

I personally fed both my girls when they wanted. With my first I was up every 2-3 hours until she was about 7-8 months old. I was told at my 6mo. appt. to let her cry it out during the nights so it establishes good sleeping habits.

I don't agree with my ped. when she said that my 6 month old can eat adult foods and that I can stop feeding the baby foods and cereal.

It's very frustrating when the baby cries and cries and you can't stop him/her. I had issues with leaving the house for a breather but it does come to the point where you just have to walk away and that's okay.

They say you can't spoil a child until they are a year old but I think if you always rock your baby then you start a bad habit in my opinion. Try not to start habits unless you are okay to do it in the long hall.

Read as much as you can even when the child is itty bitty

If you have anything specific let me know. I have a 2 year old and 6 month old.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I know that giving birth is one of the biggest opportunities you will ever get to feel your inner strength. People can be great parents regardless of the type of birth they have, but there is an opportunity in preparing for birth and giving birth to discover yourself more fully and really to empower yourself as a partner, a woman and a mother.

The way a woman approaches pregnancy, labor and birth continue on to form the way she molds her family. It starts now. So I guess my advice is this: deepen your committment to advocating for your family by becoming as informed as you can about your birth options. The techno-medical model of birth doesn't aim to empower you, it just aims to "deliver" your baby. You're in charge of honoring your passage into motherhood. Do your best to wring out every last drop of strength and blessing from your birth. It will help to sustain you when things are challenging down the road.

The way you birth your baby is the way you are birthing yourself as a mom. Fill your birth up with respect and awareness as best you can.

Congratulations and Blessings!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

This would have saved me a lot of money, Do not open and wash all of the cute clothes and blankets you receive before the baby arrives. If you have a big baby they will not fit or out grow it in a week. My son was 9 lbs when he was born. I did not know he was going to be that big. Two days before his birth the midwife predicted 7.5-8lbs. My son could not be swaddled by receiving blankets because they are too small. It was really sad after one month packing away all of the adorable 3mo. outfits that I looked so forward to dressing him in. Also, save the gift receipts. Target will only let you return 2 items per year without the receipt.

Also, in the early months, all you really have to do is keep everyone alive. Don't over stress yourself.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.!!! Congrats and I totally understand what you are going through...but remember bottom line when the baby comes you will know what is right. That is the one thing I learned, no matter what anyone else says you know your baby the best, as well as what will and will not work. I did get some really good advice from people but then I also got some really silly advice! And remember HAVE FUN with all of it - it truely is the most amazing thing EVER!!!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

I can tell you my slight regrets and what I'd do different with my next if I ever have a second child.Or some things I'm really glad I decided to do. As far as advise you'll find what works for you and your husband and what doesn't.

I was told to wake my daughter every 4 hours to feed. I did that and next time will not do that. I will let the baby sleep so I can sleep. My daughter wasn't waking up to feed when she came home in the middle of the night. If I would have just let her be I probaly would have had her sleeping through the night earlier.

I would take the bottle away promtly around age 1. My daughter was attached to her bottle til 2.5 years old. Very hard to break that habit the longer they have it.

If I have more children I will NEVER buy any baby products by Cosco(eddie bauer) or Evenflo. Had alot of problems with those brands. I will stick with Graco,Britax,Macclaren,Peg Perego and Fisher Price. Graco is one of my favorites can't beat the price or quality.

If I have more kiddo's I will stick with ONE brand of diapers, switching around irritated my daughter's skin bad.

If I have more children I will relax more and not be so pushy,competative at my child reaching their milestones , I'll let them do their own thing at their own pace. (my daughter was a preemie so I pushed that she be on track by her first birthday crawling,walking etc. and she was)I'd relax a bit the next time. They walk when they want to.

I think I would continue to co-sleep it's been wonderful and I don't have bedtime issues or fighting everynight. Which means I wouldn't waste my money on a crib or toddler bed so we just wouldn't buy those.

I think I would pierce any future daughter's ears before 6mos. of age again because I am very glad I did that. I pierced my baby at 4mos. old(her father and grandfather had a fit) and she's now 5 and not a single problem, she never knew they were there, she didn't cry and I can let her ears go days without them closing up. Besides every girl wants earrings eventually.

If I had another one I would try harder to breastfeed. I gave up after a month. I regret that.

The one thing I'd be obligated to do equally is take ALOT of pictures. I did my daughter's pictures professionally EVERY month til her 2nd birthday. I know a little obsessive but I'm a photographer and I couldn't resist. My future kids would be left out if I didn't do that for them too.Take lots and lots of pictures you'll never have enough. I am a photo nut and wish I had even had more from the hospital and the first few weeks. I took pictures of things that I'd eventually forget about or that my child maybe curious about later in life. I took pictures of her nursery, of my big belly, my hospital room, I was very detail minded.

I took a huge rubbermaid box and that's for my daughters memory things like little hat from the hospital, outfit I brought her home in, baby book etc. It's all in the box and if I don't have time to fill something out or what not atleast I can get to it later and it's not scattered around the house.

I also took rubber maid bins and labeled them with clothing sizes. I got a ton of clothing that she wouldn't fit in for months or years so instead of losing it or getting it mixed up I had several bins labeled to like 2t and I would put hand me downs or stuff I bought on clearance for the next season etc. and just throw it in the correct size bin and that way I never lost it or forgot about. Several times she had outgrown a size and then months later I'd find a brand new outfit with the tags on it and wanna hit myself for forgetting about it or finding it in the way back of the closet hiding.

With diaper rash. I've found to put diaper cream on the bottom the minute it's even pink or slightly irritated. If I waited til it was truley diaper rash it was horrible. I did alot of preventative on her little behind.

The most surprising thing that noone ever told me about and I didn't realize til I was a mom was how boring they are as newborns. I hate to even say that because it sounds horrible but that was my biggest shock. I knew newborns slept alot etc. but didn't realize it til I was a mom. They don't really do anything til they're a few months old. I was impatient for the smiles, and real interaction. Of course now I totally miss the newborn stage.

And your a few years away from this but think about kindergarten way way in advance. The preperation, and investigating all our options was a bit overwhelming. Most preschools you need to sign up for like 6mos. to a year in advance. Alot of mom's don't think about it til preschool signup is closed. With kindergarten I was weighing alot of options and it took me a good 2 years to figure out what I wanted to do.By far the hardest decision I ever made. I had the late summer baby so do I send her at 5 or 6? I had the option of public school, private school, magnet schools, language immersion schools etc. if you want something other than public there are waiting lists. Then there is half day kindergarten and full day kindergarten and waiting lists and monthly fees for full day. I was very concerned about the decisions I made and what worked best for my daughter so I thought about it forever. I was just concerned that I atleast gave my daughter the best start in education that I could. I know this seems like you won't have to think about this for along time but it creeps up on you. But your a teacher so you probaly know most of this.

A lifesaver for you: You know those clear heavy plastic zip-up bags comforters come in? I took one of those and use it as my emergency bag in the trunk. Right now for my 5 year old I have a extra summer outfit, extra winter outfit, socks, underpants, swim suit. It's come in handy sooooo many times. She's had accidents, spilled on herself, went to McDonalds playland with sandals on and needed socks etc. When she was a baby I had extra formula, diapers, clothing, blanket, you name it in the trunk. It's always decent looking clothing but an outfit or two that would sit at the bottom of her drawer becuase I don't really like it. That way it can sit in the trunk and if we never need to use it oh well. I always have a swimsuit because we'll be out and about and at a spur of the moment thing stop at the lake or be at friends house and they whip out the kiddie pool etc. I've used all our "emergency" stuff atleast once. It's so much better than having to run home or stop and buy something. Being a new mom, stressed and in a hurry I forgot things all the time. I've been out in public went to grab the formula out of the diaper bag with a hysterical hungry baby and went OMG I forgot it on the counter. Luckily I could just run out the car and grab my extra.

Sorry I kinda went on and on here. Just listen to your instincts if you don't have a mommy instinct yet you will definately when your little one comes. I can't tell you how many times everyone told me not to worry about this or that but my mommy instinct lead me the other way and I'm glad I listened to it. My mommy instinct is usually always right. If you feel something isn't right your usually right. You'll be fine. Don't let other's advise get to you. I have a 5 year old and ppl still try and shove advise at me. Or think I should do something else. Just do what works for you and your husband and you will be just fine.



answers from Minneapolis on

Good for you for trying to get ready!! I wish I had read some books about helping your baby sleep when I was pregnant. When you realize you need the help, you're too exhausted to do the research! Dr. Weissbluth is a good one, also Sear, Brazelton, and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Teaching You to Ask the Right Questions. You might have a good sleeper and it will all be for naught. But I think most have trouble with this one.
Beyond that, I've taken on a philosophy that has served me well. Get information (read, talk to others, surf online) then DO WHAT WORKS!! If rocking your baby to sleep works for you, do it! If it is exhausting and your baby wakes 10 times a night to be rocked back to sleep, try something else! I'm a teacher too and always thought this of children in my classroom. You can know a lot about kids, but they are, after all, human. Sometimes we just have to learn as much as we can about a problem, then do some experimenting to see what will do the trick... for now at least!
Enjoy! The first is so fun! I'm 30 and have a 10 month old. Decided to take a leave from teaching until my little guy is in school. Salary minus daycare costs make it hardly worth it (unless your dependent on the insurance). Especially to work the many hours teaching takes. I got a nanny job 26 hours a week and was able to ask for pretty good $ because of the teaching license and masters in ed. I bring my little boy to work with me, we're only gone 26 hours a week, and we hang out at home, go to museums, zoos, and parks. The feeling that I can allow a woman to go back to her career and feel that her child is in good hands and not in a huge daycare center is a good one.
Best of luck!



answers from Portland on

Hi S.,

You are so wise to ask this question now! I wish I had done so, myself. Here are a few key things that I wish I had known ahead of time:

1. It's all about sleep. As another mom noted, buy a good sleep book, read it carefully, and follow it (to the extent that it's working for you). My husband (who is a pediatrician!) and I didn't realize how short a period of time babies can be awake: just 1-2 hours at a time. We thought our son was colicky until we read Weissbluth and realized that our baby was just plain tired. He cries when he's tired, but almost never cries otherwise; we had him overtired all the time early on, so he cried a lot. We feel so bad that we didn't get him the sleep he needed from the start. (BTW, Weissbluth has a lot of good info, but he can't write to save himself. I'd suggest looking at a few books and seeing what you like. Looking for sleepy signals and not keeping your little one up too long at a time or too late at night are probably the most useful tips early on.)

2. It's all about sleep, take 2. As much as humanly possible, sleep when your baby sleeps. I wanted to do stuff, entertain visitors, etc., rather than sleep during the day when my baby was first born. But now that it's been nearly 6 months since I enjoyed a full night's sleep, I wish I hadn't let myself get quite as far behind on sleep at first.

3. If you plan to breastfeed, get lots of help from the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital (or wherever you plan to birth). The 2-day stay is short, and I wish I had been more proactive about asking for help with breastfeeding. Doing so might've saved us A LOT of worry, heartache, time, and money in the first few weeks.

4. Also if you're planning to breastfeed, introduce a bottle as soon as breastfeeding is well established, and keep giving a bottle regularly thereafter. We didn't introduce the bottle soon enough, and now my son won't take anything but the breast. It makes it hard for me to leave him with anyone else, even my husband, because they can't feed him.

5. If you have stuff you want to get done soon, do it now, before your baby is born. Pregnancy can be a busy and exhausting time, but I found that it didn't compare to what comes next! You probably won't have time/energy for special projects once your little one is here. Also know that you will have a physical recovery period after the birth, yourself, no matter how you end up delivering. Make sure that you have good help for those first few weeks, and make sure that your helpers know that, in addition to your baby, you will also need to be taken care of.

6. Try to enjoy this time whenever you can! It is draining and challenging, but also so amazing. But know, too, that it's totally normal to not love every minute of it, especially when you're sleep deprived. Be sure to cut yourself some slack in that department.

7. Do go ahead and throw out the window whatever I've said that you don't like. Whatever you do as parents has to feel right to you and your husband, both, or it won't work for you, no matter how "good" the idea is.

Congratulations, and all best wishes!



answers from Minneapolis on

Becky H said it so well, that is just what I was going to tell you. Every woman's experience is their own: from pregnancy to birth and beyond. Trust your instincts, you know your baby better than ANYONE because you have had 9+ months with them before anyone else gets their grubby little hands on him/her :)



answers from Minneapolis on

The two best peices of advice I received"

"This too will pass" - use if for any behavior you are having a hard time with, it will pass.

"Relax, it will be easier" - breastfeeding is best for baby. When you relax it will go much better.



SAHM to 2 year old Charlie and 4 1/2 month old Joey



answers from Minneapolis on

It's not alot of advice but hopefully it helps...Remeber that this is YOUR baby and nobody elses. Take into consideration all of the advice that your family will throw at you because they are only trying to help. Don't feel like everything that is told to you is the correct/best way to do things. I became totally overwhelmed with everybody telling me how to raise MY child. I got to the point where I told them you raised your kids now let me raise mine. They have backed off now but are still open to any questions that I have. Good luck and Congrats!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

I remember being a first-time mom, and feeling overwhelmed by all of the advice and good intentions of family and friends. Crib sleeping vs. co-sleeping, formula vs. breast milk, cry it out, sleep training, pacifier, no pracifier, it's all so much to get your arms around when it's all so new!

My very best advice would be to follow your heart/gut instinct when it comes to mothering and parenting your child. If it feels right to YOU, go with it, even if others criticize you for it. You know your child best, and a mother's instinct is a very powerful thing!

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