Unsolicited advice to new moms

Home from the hospital, hoping I don't screw this up too bad! Photo credit G.Golas
Home from the hospital, hoping I don’t screw this up too bad!
Photo credit G.Golas

You didn’t ask, but here’s my two cents for new moms. While there’s no one right way to parent, some of you may find the following helpful:

Feed ‘em good stuff.

While you’re able to control every single thing that goes into their bodies, try making your own baby food. It’s easier than you think, inexpensive (one sweet potato can feed your kiddo for a week!) and gives you something to do with all those veggies from your CSA box you have no idea how to prepare otherwise.

Take the time now to put good food into them, because pretty soon that baby will be a toddler who insists on surviving on nothing but cheese puffs.


This phase won’t last forever.

Whatever they’re doing right now, your child won’t and can’t keep it up forever. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been bored to tears over a game my daughter wanted to play, or a book she wanted to read, or how I wanted to scream when she’d systematically remove all of my folded laundry from the basket, over and over.

This applies to the big stuff too, like teething or night waking or nap skipping. It can be hard to see it when you’re in the middle of it, but this too shall pass.


You will feel hopeless and helpless in the first two weeks postpartum.

Well, I did, at least, and in case you do too, I want you to know that it’s okay to experience those emotions. I was hit hard by my wildly swinging balancing hormones, recovering from a c-section and mysterious full-body rash, the difficulty we had nursing, and my occasional panic about being trusted with another human life. I definitely called my parents at 2:00AM one morning in those early days, begging them to come help. Of course, by the time they arrived I had regained some perspective, but knowing that they would come to me instead of brushing it off as new mom jitters made me feel validated instead of crazy.

No one is expecting you to do this motherhood thing perfectly when you’re newly postpartum. And, PS, there’s no such thing as doing it perfectly, ever. It’s okay to doubt, it’s okay to question and worry; but please know that what you do and how you do it is good enough.


Take a breastfeeding class.

If you plan on nursing your child, I strongly recommend taking a breastfeeding class before the baby arrives. I didn’t. So how can I suggest something I didn’t do? Well, I wish I had. I’m guessing it would have at least added a few more tools to my breastfeeding box and maybe could have alleviated some of the anxiety I had over nursing in those first two weeks.

Nursing my daughter is one of the things I’m most proud of in my life, but I do wish I was more informed going into it, and that I hadn’t ignored some of the resources available to me.

6 thoughts on “Unsolicited advice to new moms

  1. I would add “try to keep a sense of humor about things.” My 14-month-old son is fascinated by the clean laundry and will pull it piece-by-piece off the couch, then put it all back up there. The laundry basket has provided me with quite a few moments of respite — I sit at the table drinking a cup of hot (!) coffee and making my Scrabble moves while he very determinedly unfolds every bit. Happy baby = happy mama.

  2. Yes yes to the breastfeeding class. We all think it should be so NATURAL and then when we’re home alone with the baby and it isn’t working, we feel even more alone and even more of a failure. I had NO CLUE what I was doing and my poor child starved until I somehow figured it out (and there was no internet or youtube back then!).
    In fact, I would suggest to hospitals that they BAR THE DOOR and not let moms leave until they have had 3 breastfeeding lessons. When I am Queen, this will be the rule.

  3. Such wonderful advice here! I totally agree about the first 2 weeks postpartum being extremely challenging when you’re a first time mom and I think it’s great that you’ve put this pep talk out there.

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