Did you deliver your baby and have a running list of questions you want to ask?
You are in the right place!
I was in your shoes just a few months ago, and I know how you feel.
As an OBGYN physician and new mom, here are my top 10 first-time mom tips to help you in those early days and beyond.
Let’s get started.
Disclaimer: Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
What should first-time moms know?
Here are the top 10 things you should know as a first-time mom after coming home with your new baby!
1. You don’t have to have it all figured out
No one has it all figured out. If you feel clueless, you are not alone.
Even as an OBGYN, I still felt lost!
You will make mistakes, and that’s okay. Remember to be patient with yourself and your baby- everyone is learning.
The transition to parenthood is a big learning curve, and you will get the hang of it with time.
2. You will feel like you are failing
The early days and weeks of motherhood can be overwhelming and exhausting. You may feel like you are failing, but I assure you, you are not.
You are doing a fantastic job, and you are exactly what your baby needs.
Don’t forget that you are taking care of a tiny human that is 100% dependent on you. It is no easy feat!
Give yourself credit where it’s due, and cut yourself slack.
*With that said, if you are feeling down and not yourself, reach out to your healthcare provider ASAP to ensure you don’t have postpartum depression!*
3. Breastfeeding is hard
Breastfeeding is hard, especially in the beginning!
Your nipples will be sore and cracked, and you will be sleep-deprived.
But if you stick it out, it is so worth it!
Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby, and it provides them with phenomenal nutrition and the immune support they need to thrive.
Not to mention, it is a bonding experience like no other.
So, if you are struggling, please reach out for help. A lactation consultant can be a great resource to help you with latch, positioning, and breast milk production.
Support groups are available- both online (on social media) and in person.
You are not alone in this breastfeeding journey!
4. There is no shame in asking for help- we have all been there!
Asking for help is probably the best tip for new parents, and for a good reason.
You will have bad days.
When you are sleep-deprived, everything is harder. You will be less patient, more emotional, and more likely to make mistakes.
So, if you need help- ask for it!
Help can come in many ways, such as:
- Doing household chores
- Doing the dishes
- Doing laundry
- Getting healthy snacks for you, etc
Whether it’s from your partner, a friend, or a family member, don’t be afraid to reach out.
And if you are struggling with symptoms of baby blues, depression, or anxiety, please seek professional help immediately.
5. Pooping after delivery can be scary
I know, I know- this is a weird one.
But trust me, it’s something that all new mothers worry about!
After you have a baby, your perineum (the area between the vaginal opening and the anus) will be stretched and possibly even torn.
As a result, pooping can be painful and even scary for some women.
But there are a few things you can do to make it more comfortable:
- Use a peri-bottle to cleanse the area after each bowel movement
- Take sitz baths (soaking in a shallow tub of warm water) to help soothe the area
- Avoid constipation by staying hydrated, eating a high-fiber diet, and taking a stool softener.
6. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
This advice is easier said than done, but it is so important.
Whenever possible, take a nap when your baby naps.
Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, it will make a difference.
If you find sleeping difficult when your baby sleeps, try to at least rest. Close your eyes and relax, even if you don’t fall asleep.
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on you.
7. You will find your own unique parenting style
As a first-time mom, you may feel pressure to do things a certain way.
But the truth is, there is no one right way to parent.
Everyone you know (parent and non-parents alike) will have an opinion about how to do things.
It’s okay to take some advice, but you will develop your unique parenting style as you go.
So, don’t compare yourself to other moms, and don’t be afraid to do things your way.
8. It’s okay to say no
In those early days, you will be bombarded with visitors, advice, and well-meaning people.
And while it’s nice to have support, it’s also okay to say no if you need time for yourself.
In addition, your baby might not like seeing dozens of strangers all at once every day.
If you’re not up for visitors, don’t be afraid to say so. The same goes for advice- politely decline if you don’t want it.
9. Take time to do something for you
Becoming a mom is all-consuming, and it’s easy to forget about yourself.
But it’s essential to take some time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.
Whether reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk, or starting some gentle postpartum exercises, do something that makes you happy.
10. In the end, remember, “this too shall pass.”
The early days, weeks, and even months are tough. But it does get easier.
So, hang in there.
The sleepless nights, the crying, and the diaper changes will eventually end.
One day, all the challenging moments turn into great memories.
And your baby will be a little person and then off to school before you know it!
Next, let me share some of my must-have items for new mamas!
My First-time mom checklist
Here is a short list of useful things every first-time mom should have in the first week.
- Peri bottle
- Postpartum pads
- Witch Hazel pads
- Postpartum panties/shorts
- Abdominal binder
- Breast pump
- Nursing bra
- Nipple cream
- Stool softeners
- Water bottle
It’s also a good idea to go to the grocery store as you get close to your due date to have some healthy foods ready and available for you when your baby arrives.
What are the top 10 things you need for a baby?
The top 10 things you need for a baby are:
- Crib or bassinet
- Baby carrier or stroller
- Cloth or disposable diapers
- Baby wipes
- Newborn clothes (which they grow out of so fast!)
- Diaper bag
- Cream for diaper rash
For more information on important things you need in the postpartum period, check out my Top Postpartum Essentials Post (To Add To Your Baby Registry!).
Other Related Questions
What do you do with a newborn all day?
Deciding what to do with a newborn all day can be stressful, but the good news is newborns eat and sleep frequently.
On average, a newborn will sleep every 60 to 90 minutes.
You can try to use this time to rest and catch up on your to-do list.
When your baby wakes up, you will likely need a diaper change.
Then, you can feed him.
Depending on your baby’s efficiency at the breast or bottle, feedings can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
After that, you can cuddle, play, read, practice tummy time, sing, dance, walk to get a little fresh air, or spend some quality time talking to your baby.
Of course, every baby is different and will have different needs.
So, go with the flow and do what feels right for you and your new family.
How often should you bathe a newborn?
You should bathe your newborn one to two times per week.
But, if your baby gets dirty or messy, you can bathe him more often.
When you bathe your baby, make sure the water is warm (not hot) and that the room is also warm.
If the umbilical stump is still present, you should not submerge your baby in water but use a wet soapy cloth to clean their body.
Once the umbilical stump falls off, you can start giving your baby baths in a sink, small tub, or even the bathtub.
Lastly, feel free to use a soft wet washcloth to cleanse the genitals after each poopy diaper to ensure proper hygiene.
How often should I hold my newborn?
You should hold your newborn baby as often as you’d like!
Babies love to be held, cuddled, and touched.
Skin-to-skin contact benefits you and your baby- it can help promote bonding, milk letdown, and body temperature regulation.
So, don’t be afraid to pick up your little one whenever you can.
Final Words on The Best Tips For First-Time Parents
Being a first-time mom is definitely not easy.
Between the lack of sleep, the postpartum recovery, and taking care of the baby, there’s a good chance you will be overwhelmed.
Nonetheless, having kids can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever.
So, hang in there and enjoy this exciting time as much as possible!
Now I want to hear from you.
What is the best advice you received as a first-time mom?
Leave a comment below!
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Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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