You gave birth to a tiny human – the most beautiful, amazing, loud, needy, messy creature ever created – and now you’re a mom. Congratulations and welcome. After months of planning and daydreaming, your little love is here and maybe your experience so far isn’t quite the pulled-together-Instagram-mom situation you envisioned. Here to help are our tried-and-true tips for going from frazzled to almost fantastic!
Find a mom group. Having a baby can be really isolating and no one can relate more to what you’re going through than another new mom. Find a class or a local group or pick up a mom or two at the playground. Ideally with babies about the same age as yours. Ideally who live near you. These women will be invaluable to you as you navigate your baby’s first year of life. Trust me, you’ll need someone you can text random questions to when you’re awake at 5 am – who is probably wondering the same thing.
Let people help. Mothering is a marathon and burnout is real. Get as much help as you can, especially in the first 3 months post-partum (known as the 4th trimester) when you are still recovering from pregnancy. Let people cook for you, clean for you, come and sit with your baby for 15 minutes so you can take a shower, or even sit with you so that you have another adult to talk to. Pro help hack: Put your baby’s bassinet on your partner’s side of the bed so that when the baby cries he or she has to wake up to hand them to you – it will make you feel less resentful if they’re also awake – even momentarily.
Keep baby close with a soft stretchy wrap or baby carrier. Wearing your baby is so beneficial for bonding, regulating breathing for baby and having hands free for mama (for texting those adorable baby photos to friends and family.) I found baby wearing especially great for walks and trips to the grocery store. You can push your shopping cart while keeping curious people’s hands off your baby. There are lots of wraps and videos to watch – it can feel intimidating but it’s pretty simple once you get started.
Speaking of photos… A pop socket may truly be mom’s best friend. Having one on your phone practically ensures you don’t drop it on your precious sleeping baby during those lengthy feeding sessions or photo shoots.
Have the right diaper bag. The golden rule of baby stuff is, the smaller the baby, the more stuff he or she needs when you leave the house. A really well-organized diaper bag that’s loaded and ready to go is key. Here’s what I always have in my diaper bag: spare clothes, pacifier or small toy, swaddle/receiving blanket (can be used to drape over the carseat), diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer spray, baby wrap or carrier. Stuff for mama: wallet, sunglasses, keys, sunscreen.
How to hack baby poop fantastically. For the inevitable poopsplosion – Poop blowout? Poop-tastrophe? – simply roll those lap neck onesies down over the baby so that you don’t have to take it off over their head. Boom, you’re a genius. Honestly, learning this was almost reason enough for me to have another baby.
Re-evaluate your stuff and find ways to swap. There’s an overwhelming amount of baby stuff to try, buy, and wonder about. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “best baby bottles” or “best sleep sack” and felt even more confused. You may own things that you don’t need (that fancy swing your baby hates, anyone?) and despite all your careful planning find yourself making hasty Amazon purchases in the middle of the night (sound machine to make that shushing noise and give your tired lips a rest, brilliant!) To help curb spending and waste, find other moms to swap baby gear with. It’s a low-cost, low-waste way to try things out or use for a month and pass along to the next family. Facebook is a great place to find local moms groups or B/S/T pages for your favorite brands.
You are already fantastic. You don’t have to know how to do everything. You will make mistakes or try something that doesn’t work for you and that’s okay. Nothing is set in stone. You’re doing amazing. Lead with love and the rest will follow.