This post lists the best first time mom tips learned from baby’s first year for first time moms.
I understand finding first time mom tips can be challenging.
Before you have a baby, you don’t know what to expect from having one or what parenting lessons you may learn.
Based on social media and what some people may tell you, you have all these ideas of what it entails.
However, we can never fully understand life as parents before we become them.
Many women say transitioning from zero to one is more challenging than one to two kids.
The reason is that you have a better understanding of what to expect.
Although, not one baby and baby experience are the same.
One thing that remains consistent is how demanding and challenging that first year is with a baby.
That first year will push you beyond what you believe you are capable of.
There is nothing like experiencing your first year with your baby as a parent.
Parenting is an extraordinary experience; here are the five parenting lessons and tips I learned after my baby’s first year as a first time mom!
This post lists the 7 first time mom tips I learned going through baby’s first year.
You Can’t Predict the Journey or Outcome
So As a First Time Mom Just Enjoy The Ride
One of the most valuable first time mom tips I learned was how prominent birth plans have become within our culture and how they can often set us up for disappointment.
Women take the time to decide what kind of birth experience they wish to have.
Do they want a non-medicated home bathtub birth?
Or a vaginal birth at the hospital?
Or even have a natural water birth at a birthing center?
There are many options for giving birth, and it is great to have options and choices.
However, one of the first time mom tips I learned is that it isn’t up to us when it comes to our bodies and when it’s time to give birth.
Our bodies have a mind of their own and are on their timeline regardless of how many pages long your birth plan is.
I have talked to many women who gave birth whose birth plans went out the window.
One woman desperately wanted an un-medicated vaginal birth.
She spent a ton of time on her birth “plan” and required an emergency C-Section 2 weeks early due to low amniotic fluid in the womb.
Or even a woman who wanted an epidural birth, like I wound up having excruciating labor due to the epidural wearing off.
I undoubtedly couldn’t have predicted that.
With labor and birth, we can’t predict anything about our experience, no matter how much we plan for it to go a certain way.
Birth Plans Could Lead to Disappointment
I know this will trigger some first time mom that put a ton of effort, money and energy with a birth doula that put together an extensive birth plan.
However, one of the biggest first time mom tips I learned was, life has a way of doing what it wants regardless of your ‘plan.’
Understanding that your birth plan could go out the window so fast is one of the most critical first time mom tips.
If you are a pregnant first time mom, nature can do what it wants regardless of the birth plan you wrote.
Birth plans can be a recipe for disappointment, resentment, and trauma when they don’t go the way you want.
It doesn’t hurt to have a general direction of where you want to go with your birth, but understand that life generally will do what it wants regardless.
Women holding on to their frustrations and disappointments on how the birth didn’t go how they wanted can cause disruptions in the bonding process after the baby is healthy and home.
Many of them wind up seeking therapy to help them through their disappointment.
As frustrating and disappointing as not getting the birth experience you planned for, it can make you lose sight of the bigger picture of the greatest triumph you have ever worked through;
Birthing a baby!
” ‘She wanted to give birth on a balloon, give birth in a bath” he recalls the doctor told her ” It is not a zoo here, or a circus. Basically, you will give birth like everyone, on your back legs open. The reason is that if there is a problem, then I can do something.’
When Jennifer went into labor, it became clear that all her birthing plans were for naught: she needed a cesarean.”
Even though birth is a natural process, it doesn’t mean it isn’t an extremely dangerous process that could go array at the drop of a hat.
There is a reason maternal mortality rate was so high back in the day; lack of modern medicine.
It is important to remember that birth giving is dangerous and with the rising trend of more home births than ever before in our country, it has correlated with higher maternal mortality rates.
The mortality rate for birth at a hospital with certified nurses and midwives is 3.27/10,000 births where the mortality rate when certified nurses attended planned home births was almost three-fold higher, at 9.28 per 10,000.
I hemorrhaged after giving birth to my daughter. If I had been at home in a tub or inflatable pool, I would have been a part of that statistic.
But I wasn’t, I was at the hospital where nearly 10 nurses and doctors rushed to my aid and saved my life.
At the end of the day, the mission is to deliver baby safely from your womb to your arms whilst keeping you alive and safe.
Write Down Birth Goals Instead of Birth Plans
There was a study done on Harvard graduates in 1979 to determine the success rate of MBA graduates who either wrote down their career goals versus those who did not.
Writing out your goals significantly improves the odds of you achieving them.
The question was as follows:
Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?
The results were:
- 84% had no specific goals at all
- 13% had goals, but they were not committed to paper
- 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them
They met up with these graduates 10 years later, in 1989, and surveyed them again. The results were noticeable:
- The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals.
- Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
That being said, it pays off to write down any goals you have for yourself, including your birth goals.
Not only are you more likely to achieve them, but it also puts less pressure on yourself for things to go “according to plan.”
Writing down your top 3 goals for your birth is a much more ideal, relaxed, and doable task than living out the 3 paged birth plan a Youtube birth guru who sold you her course said you needed.
Set yourself up for success, not disappointment.
Write down birth goals, not birth plans.
Parenting is a Skill, Not an Instinct
It’s Normal to Feel Like a Deer in The Headlights
This is one of the most valuable first time mom tips you will learn on your parenthood journey.
Many of us think parenting is more instinctual than anything since we have had babies since, well, forever.
That we will be able to get the hang of things, no big deal, and you will be able to ease into it as well your baby.
I don’t know why we have this idea, though, especially when we have never learned to be parents in the first place.
Expecting ourselves to be great at something we have never done before doesn’t apply to anything unless we are some sort of prodigy.
Even then, though, there is a substantial learning curve.
One of the enormous first time mom tips I learned was we would have many moments that first year with a baby where you have ZERO clue what you’re doing.
It will make you feel like you aren’t cut out for motherhood when we shouldn’t know what to do as new parents.
That is uber unrealistic.
Parenting as humans is a skill and less of an instinct like many of our friends in the animal kingdom.
Why Isn’t It More Instinctive?
We have evolved to be brighter than our instincts.
We have become the ultimate problem solvers with bigger brains, higher consciousness, and intelligence than our fellow animals.
That is what the first year is: flexing that problem-solving muscle daily.
You get better at parenting over time as you learn better skills to improve your ability to child rear.
For MANY of us, child-rearing DOES NOT come naturally at all.
It is something you have to get used to, get better at, and grow into, just like any project or self-growth journey.
So don’t be so hard on yourself or your partner if you haven’t figured it all out after 3 weeks postpartum.
There is so much more ahead of you, much more growing and learning to be done, and you WILL get better and feel more confident the longer time goes on.
Babies Can Be an Endless Bucket of Problems to Be Solved
Another one of the most important first time mom tips is there is very little peace in a house with a baby under one.
They are demanding and stressful and go through a lot in their first year on Earth.
As hard as it is for us, it is also extremely difficult for them.
They are constantly going through something that needs remedying.
With them being non-verbal, this can make it SO HARD to try to figure out what is going on with them in the first place and how to fix it.
Sometimes it can feel like you are slinging mud at a wall and seeing what sticks.
They go through teething episodes that can leave your child utterly unchanged in temperament or miserable until the tooth finally cuts through.
Guess what, though?
After that tooth cuts, they start a developmental leap leaving them in an unsettled state for a couple of weeks until they get through it.
You aren’t out of the woods yet, though.
Now that the leap is over, they caught their first cold, are coughing, snotty mess, and aren’t eating as much.
After that is over, you feel like you can finally breathe.
Until they start having problems pooping and are constipated.
It is a never-ending story of problems to navigate that first year that can leave you and your baby utterly exhausted.
Your Baby’s Happiness or Temperament Doesn’t Define Your Parenting
This is one of the harder-to-swallow pills of parenting lessons!
You can’t take things personally.
I felt that it was my fault if Annabelle was going through something or wasn’t happy all the time.
If she was unhappy, fussy, or complicated, I took it to heart.
I believed it was because I wasn’t doing enough or a good enough job.
It can quickly defeat you and make you feel like a crappy mother.
The reality is that babies are HARD AF and can sometimes be impossible.
It doesn’t matter if you are the mother of the year.
There will be times when your kid is inconsolable and has nothing to do with you.
Babies cannot manage their emotions or rationalize.
My daughter would have meltdowns whenever I took her away from the cat’s litter box and brushed off her hands.
They will fight and have meltdowns over things that are good for them, like some adults.
Some babies are more strong-willed and spirited than others as well.
These babies are harder for a parent than others.
They could be more adaptable, easygoing, and cooperative.
If this sounds like your child, know that parenting your kid is more challenging than others experience.
This can help you put things into perspective better and prevent you from blaming yourself.
You can give your baby every love, support, direction, and empathy.
Sometimes, it just STILL isn’t enough.
If only babies could tell us:
“It’s not you; it’s me.”
Even Though it’s Short, It Feels Long
As long and grueling as that first year can feel when you’re in the thick of it, it doesn’t last forever.
Many say you should cherish this year because they are only young once, and it goes by quickly.
Even though it was finite and temporary, it didn’t feel like it went by fast.
It dragged on forever.
The whining, fussing, crying, non-verbal crankiness and screeching, endless demands, and short attention spans made me feel like I was dancing in circles like a chicken with my head cut off.
Another one of the important parenting lessons I learned was, the days are long, SUPER LONG.
For some, this can translate to long years too.
There are times when I would think to myself:
“OMG, she is never not going to be baby. “
“She is going to be a baby forever.”
“I just can’t envision her ever walking or talking.”
It is hard to think the baby stage will never end.
You don’t know it any other way up to this point, so it’s weird seeing 2-year-olds walking and talking.
So, in that case, it is finite but feels SO LONG.
The first year of babiness makes it hard to envision a life where they aren’t a baby.
Great if you love babies!
Not so great if you aren’t a fan.
Hang in There
Those are the most substantial first time mom tips I learned as a first time mom after the first year with baby!
The first year is challenging, especially as a new mom and a couple if you are in a relationship.
Not only does the baby go through crazy changes that first year, but so will you.
You will become stronger, more confident, able, and comfortable in your role as a parent.
You are on an incredible journey of self-growth and character development as a parent, buckle up and hang on!
There is a whole new person who you don’t know yet that you have to cater to completely.
In addition to yourself and your partner or any pets or family members who rely on you.
It can feel like a long year of just being taken from and can feel endless.
Even though that time is finite, it doesn’t make it any easier.
Now that my daughter is nearing a toddler, I can see aspects of how it will be better.
However, as I have said before, I don’t think it does get easier.
We become more robust as parents, and our ability to eat shit strengthens.
You will become more able to learn, strengthen, and grow stamina and love for your child.
Parenting is an extraordinary journey.
This is just the beginning.