100 THINGS FIRST-TIME MOMS SHOULD KNOW

You’re pregnant…congratulations!  This life-changing moment sure comes with its fair share of emotions: excitement, joy, relief, panic, and likely an extra dose of confusion over what to do next.  Here is a compilation of 100 things that moms from around the world have learned and shared about pregnancy, labour and delivery, postpartum recovery and life after baby.

PREGNANCY
  1. Start taking your prenatal vitamins.

  2. Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of morning sickness so make sure that you take your vitamins every day.

  3. Morning sickness is the worst part of pregnancy – It can occur at any time of day and anytime during your pregnancy. It can even stop and come back at a later stage.

  4. Pregnancy can make you tired and emotional. Relax when you can.

  5. Take more naps. Don’t wait for the baby to be born so you can “nap when the baby naps”… He might not be a good napper.

  6. Stay active to reduce stress, improve circulation, and boost your mood.

  7. Yes, it is possible to fart and burp at the same time.

  8. Baby kicks are the best part of being pregnant! These flutters start between weeks 16 and 25 of your pregnancy.

  9. Enjoy that beautiful skin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last.

  10. Enjoy that thick shiny hair. You will soon be losing it in copious amounts.

  11. Don’t feel guilty if the gender of the baby on the ultrasound isn’t what you were expecting (or hoping for). It’s normal and will pass. (And you will be so happy about your little boy or girl that you’ll forget about it anyway.)

  12. Love your body and the beautiful miracle that it is busy creating inside for you.

  13. You are going to pee all the time. Especially in the first and third trimesters.

  14. Your sense of smell will be as good as your dogs and there are a lot of weird smells out there, be ready.

  15. Love those stretchy comfy maternity clothes. You don’t have to struggle to get into those skinny jeans anymore.

  16. Sex is amazing when pregnant.

  17. Speaking of sex, do those Kegels.

  18. The second trimester is the best – you don’t feel sick, you don’t have to pee so much, you get a cute little bump, people smile at you and hold doors (for some reason this all stops once the baby comes when you need it the most)

  19. You can get priority parking in most malls.

  20. Nesting.  It’s fun to get your baby’s room ready and imagine how they will look in their giant crib!

  21. When you hear yourself say “this baby is going to fit into our lives and we’ll carry on as normal”. Don’t believe a word of it.

  22. Wear those fitted clothes – your bump is beautiful and you look cuter without extra frump.

  23. Save receipts because you really don’t need that bottle sanitizer.

  24. Use your birthday money on yourself, silly girl. I know you’re excited, but that little baby will get more presents than you know what to do with.

  25. Don’t buy too many newborn sizes because babies grow extremely fast.

  26. Pack your hospital bag early and make sure that all of Dad’s and baby’s things are packed as well.

  27. Pregnancy is not a time for making lasting decisions. You may think that you will be an attachment parenting devotee or you may know that you know that you want to formula feed, but give yourself permission to change your mind. It will be the best gift you can give your baby.

LABOUR AND DELIVERY
  1. If you want to speed up labour once your contractions have begun, use a breast pump.

  2. Have a birth plan but know that it’s just a plan, not a prophecy.

  3. You do have a say in your labour and delivery.   Whether you have your eye on that room with the whirlpool tub or the nurse who delivered your neighbour’s baby, you are entitled to the birth you want.

  4. Preggo-scaping is really not necessary.  Besides, who’s going to blame you for not shaving when you can’t even see over that belly?  The same rule applies to painting your toenails. Trust me when I say your birth team does not care at all.

  5. Having your waters break is not a one-off gush…it continues for hours into labour. (Birth is so glamorous.)

  6. Know that every woman experiences labour and birth differently.

  7. Giving birth is messy. Really messy.

  8. Poop is good.  You may have heard the rumour going around that some women poop while giving birth.  I have news for you: It’s true. As horrifying as it may sound, pooping on the delivery table is actually a good thing.  It means you are pushing the right way.

  9. Make sure your husband knows how to quickly and efficiently find the ice machine.

  10. Labour is hard work, but you were totally made for it. Go for it, girl.

  11. Educate yourself about C-sections and Vaginal births. Anything can happen, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t go the way you wanted it too.

  12. The most important piece of advice from childbirth class is…find something, anything, to look at during your contraction. Focus on that thing and that thing only through the contraction.

  13. Giving birth is the happiest and scariest day of your life.

POSTPARTUM
  1. Let your body heal. Don’t rush back to the gym.

  2. If you wake up drenched in sweat a week or two after giving birth, get excited about it. You’re sweating off those extra baby fluid pounds.

  3. It’s okay to not fall head over heels in love immediately with your newborn.  It will happen.

  4. Deal with your disappointment about things that went wrong with the birth and don’t let it steal the joy of birth from you.

  5. Spend a lot of skin-to-skin time with your baby so you can bond.

  6. You are going to feel so overwhelmed with love, just soak in it.

  7. It’s okay to hold your baby as much as you want – you can’t spoil a baby.

  8. Crying is how newborns communicate.

  9. Listen to your instincts.

  10. Babies have their own schedule; they will guide you. Don’t try to do everything by the book.

  11. Yes, the world really does want to see a bazillion photos of your baby on facebook – load ‘em up.

  12. Nursing is natural but doesn’t necessarily come naturally – Don’t be disappointed if breastfeeding is difficult or painful.

  13. What you eat after birth matters because it affects your baby’s diet if you decide to breastfeed.

  14. Feeding on demand is 100% acceptable.

  15. You are not a failure if you can’t breastfeed.

  16. Formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mother.

  17. Never leave home without extra breast pads and another set of clothes for you and baby.

  18. There’s no such thing as “bouncing back” after a baby.  It takes time, so give yourself time.

  19. You will lose the baby weight but you may never wear those jeans again – your body shape may change.

  20. You will have bad days, but loads of good ones too.

LIFE WITH BABY
  1. Your life for the next two years will feel similar to a constant hangover. Don’t worry, go with it, even try to enjoy it – it will get better.

  2. Don’t forget to take time for yourself.

  3. Don’t forget to take time for your partner.

  4. Remember marriage will never be the same after a baby, a lot changes.

  5. Date nights are important.

  6. Make time for sex

  7. Post Natal Depression is a reality.

  8. Don’t lie to make it seem like you have it together.

  9. Don’t ignore how you feel.

  10. Accept any help you can get for cooking, cleaning and babysitting.

  11. Trust yourself.

  12. Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing.

  13. It is okay to have a meltdown.

  14. Be prepared for spontaneous mama-tears when you have love-saturated-heart moments. (And don’t rush them – they are precious.)

  15. Don’t worry about changing your baby every time he spits up. You already have too much laundry to do. Just rub it in – ha!

  16. Don’t wake your sleeping baby unless you absolutely have too. Feeding schedules, shmeeding schedules. Let the baby sleep. (You’re welcome.)

  17. When your baby is a newborn, take extra care to burp him after a feed.   It’s worth the extra few minutes to avoid gassy baby meltdowns.

  18. Four months is not too early to begin teething. If in doubt, just keep sticking your finger in there to check.

  19. Decide on a lullaby song for your baby so that every time you sing it they know to expect that it’s naptime/bedtime. (Just make sure that you like it, you are going to sing it a lot!)

  20. Just because your baby sleeps through the night consistently at a few weeks old doesn’t mean they will continue as he gets older and hungrier. Just know that in advance. Sometimes this really feels like two steps forward, one step back.

  21. There will be some diaper blowouts that are not worth trying to clean up outside of the bathtub.  We’re talking a right, hot mess. That goes for both you and baby.

  22. There will be lots of times when the baby is crying and you don’t know why. That’s ok, babies cry. Sometimes they are trying to communicate something, but often they are releasing their big emotions and pent-up baby angst. Just do your best and remember that sometimes even you just need a good cry, too.

  23. Be prepared when you’re encouraging your child to learn to crawl. I know it’s fun and super cute, but there really is no turning back. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, you overly keen first-time mom, you.)

  24. Congratulations, you will now forever be known as “so-and-so’s” mom.

  25. Diaper bags are for carrying important things, like snacks for mommy.

  26. During those first few months, be prepared to go through baby’s clothes every 3-4 weeks and pack up the too-small ones and pull out the bigger ones. (And be aware that you might get a little teary on occasion about how fast it’s all going.)

  27. Even though it feels like a lot of work to think ahead and make double portions, it’s worth the effort to have homemade meals to pull out of the freezer instead of frozen pizzas on those nights.

  28. Plan for “quick errands” to take twice as long as they used to. Actually, make that three times as long.

  29. There will be days where you cry as much as your baby. This is normal. There will also be days when you cry more than your baby. This is also normal.

  30. Different babies have different milestones at different times. Do your best not to compare.

  31. If you’re having one of those days where you feel discouraged because you’re getting nothing done, take 20 minutes to play with your baby without multitasking. It will instantly give you perspective.

  32. Doing a load of laundry, folding it, and putting it away all within the same day will make you feel like wonder mom. (Go ahead and congratulate yourself and tweet about it when you accomplish this.)

  33. Make feeding yourself as big a priority as feeding your baby. (That way everyone wins.) You really do need to be intentional about taking care of yourself.

  34. Watching your husband be a daddy will make you fall in love with him even more. Relish it. Appreciate it. And make sure he knows how much it turns you on.

  35. You might find yourself accidentally speaking in a higher pitch or saying things like “bye bye”  or “night night” or “poo poo” when talking to other adults. You’ll grow out of it as you get used to this gig, so just have fun making fun of yourself in the meantime. You might also find yourself swaying the childless shopping cart back and forth during the rare kid-free grocery run. Again, just laugh at yourself and then tweet about it later. These days are over fast.

  36. You will re-define “sleeping-in” to any time past 7:00 am, and thankfully it will happen every once-and-a-while.

  37. Don’t put off buying a video baby monitor if you can afford to swing it. Not only will it provide endless entertainment for your first few days of having it, but it will save you from playing the guessing game about nap times.

  38. Be careful not to underestimate the small things. Starting your day with simple things like making the bed, having a shower, and eating breakfast will make the entire rest of your day better. Seriously, DO THIS STUFF.

  39. Don’t get defensive when friends without children (especially single friends) ask you what you do all day at home. They honestly have no clue what it’s like to maintain sanity as a new mom.

  40. Remember that you’re doing a great job. Being a mom brings out the best and the worst in you. Know that you’re normal and try to learn from all of it. And more than that, enjoy the ride — you’re a far better mom than you probably think.

 

 

I’d like to give a huge shoutout to the awesome moms who shared their experiences so candidly,  Chaunie Brusie a labour and delivery nurse and author of Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming Your Life, Preparing for Your Baby, and Moving Forward with Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy,  Shan Vijendranath the Lifestyle Blogger of You, Baby, and I, and Adriel Booker the author of Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss.

 

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