What I’d Go Back & Tell First-Time-Mom Me

As a first time mom, in my child’s first year of life, I worried about my daughter’s development, eating habits and sleeping schedule. With hindsight being 20/20 and all, I now have perspective more than a year removed, especially after accepting that there’s no one right way to parent. Here’s what I’d go back and tell myself in all my shiny, new mom-ness.

Was she getting enough to eat?

I pumped. I supplemented with formula. I nursed every hour around the clock. I ate lactation cookies and swallowed fenugreek capsules.

Why the doctors were worried about my ten-pound-at-birth, ninetieth-percentile baby’s weight, I haven’t figured out. But as a new mom rife with raging hormones, I wasn’t questioning, just following direction.

What I’d tell new-mom me

I’m fairly certain my daughter wasn’t starving; that extra pumping sessions post-feeding and other measures to increase my supply may have been excessive. And by supplementing I did what I needed to maintain my sanity and, contrary to theories on breastfeeding, saved my nursing relationship with my daughter.

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Were we doing enough together?

I tended to worry about the breadth of experiences my child was getting in her first year of life. Social media sites are great for comparing yourself to others and making you feel like a lesser parent, right? I saw pictures of my friends’ newborns at the beach, infants in carriers on hiking trails and the backs of road bikes, and babies on a variety of vacations with their parents.

I felt guilt for not taking my child anywhere of real significance in her first year; hell, we barely made it out of the house those first couple months.

What I’d tell new-mom me

It took me a long time to realize that those trips and outings weren’t for the kids; they were for the parents. No child needs their first boat ride in infancy. Those experiences are great for children of any age, but I wasn’t depriving my daughter of anything by not being more adventurous in her first year, either.

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Was she sleeping enough?

My daughter slept rocking in her swing, for the first 3 months of her life. It was the only way she’d stay asleep. She didn’t sleep through the night until she was one and a half years old. She took nearly every nap when with me in my arms, in a post-nursing coma. Slowly the motion of my moving car became necessary for her to nap. I worried about the quality of her sleep, the amount she was getting, and if she’d ever figure out how to do it better.

What I’d tell new-mom me

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What were the things that plagued you as a first-time mom? If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself ?

4 thoughts on “What I’d Go Back & Tell First-Time-Mom Me

  1. Oh my gosh! My fiance and I took our 18 month old to the beach for the first time last weekend….and we looked around and said to each other “why does it feel like we didn’t do ANYTHING when she was first born?!” We saw little bitty babies in the water, in strollers on the boardwalk….when we, too, BARELY left the house the first few months. Heck, the first year we were THRILLED if we could manage a full night of sleep once we both resumed a full-time work schedule LOL It’s nice to know that we aren’t alone!

    I’d go back and tell “new mom me” to not buy so many clothes. I never honestly realized how FAST they grow out of things, and things I bought in prep, she never got to wear b/c she skipped about 2 sizes overnight and the seasons were all wrong. I’d also never buy anything with snaps or anything super frilly b/c zippers and comfy-ness reign supreme! I’d also go back and tell “new mom me” that despite my insecurities, to truly listen to my gut….and while asking for advice *can* be helpful…sometimes the 10000 opinions can be overwhelming and drown out your instincts and shake your already faltering confidence even more!

  2. I would tell myself to enjoy every minute before the cliche is true – it goes way too fast. I also was dreading the end of my maternity leave since the day it started – I’d go back and tell myself not to think about it & live in the moment!

  3. Oh yes, I can relate to all of this. I’m not even a year in, but all the issues you mentioned have also plagued me at one point or another. Feeding has probably been the biggest deal. I, too, went overboard trying to increase my supply, and the result was that I ended up stressing myself (and probably my baby) out. Now wish that I had supplemented sooner. Praise formula! I have second-guessed myself on so many issues, but at the end of the day, I look at her, how gorgeous and happy she is, and I know that I’ve done just fine.

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