Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Became a Mom

I had my first son when I was 23.  Although I went through the classes at the hospital, read every page of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and talked with the moms in my life, I still had a lot to learn.  Looking back, I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby, so I didn’t have many mothers my age to turn to for advice.  Now, as my friends are getting married and having babies, I find I michelle baby 2want to pass on some hard-learned lessons of my own, as a “seasoned mom” of three boys under 5.  Here are some things I wish someone had told me before I became a mom:

Breastfeeding is a team sport

You and your baby have to learn together.  Give yourselves a break and don’t expect it to happen perfectly right away.

Eat Breakfast

With a new baby, you know you won’t get much sleep at night.  No one told me that babies also wake up ready to play very early. I found getting up was better than trying to go back to bed, and eating breakfast helped me wake up.  I really like coffee cup eggs.  Try this recipe and remember: you can always take a nap later in the day!

“Sleeping Through the night” may take awhile

My mom told me I slept through the night at 3 months old.  In fact, statistically, that is the average age babies sleep through the night, so that’s what I was expecting.  HOWEVER, none of my children slept for longer than 6 hours until they were 6 months old.  So don’t get your hopes too high too soon.  Your baby will sleep longer when he is ready!

Routine is Important

Doing about the same thing at about the same time helps you and your baby form expectations for how the day will go.  Start your Michelle babyroutine early, and adjust it to your baby’s needs.  Everyone will be happier when they know what to expect.

Don’t Micromanage
When my oldest was 4 weeks old, my husband gave him a bottle so that I could continue to nap one afternoon.  I freaked out and yelled at him, which is something I regret now.  If someone offers you help, feel free to take it.  Give guidelines, but don’t overdo it.  If you trust someone to watch the baby for a few hours while you sleep, or fold your laundry, or cook you dinner, let them do it!  If they need more advice, they will ask!

Moms and Dads out there, what other tips would you give new parents? Sound off in the comments!

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  • Great tips, Michelle! The routine has been really helpful for me. With 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl under the age of 7, I’ve heard it all. Tell other women about labor vs. don’t tell them about labor. Share children-war stories vs. don’t. Do this, not that. Even if the first three did THIS, the next one may do THAT instead.
    I think my favorite piece of advice came from an old Irish grandmother (not mine) who said, if the baby is fussy while breasfeeding, have two bottles of Guiness – one for you and one for the baby. Never tried it, but it makes me laugh every time!

    Each mother, father and their children will have different relationships, varying needs and all of it will make them feel like Supermom and a slug on the sidewalk, alternatively and sometimes all at once! Remember – as moms, we’ve been there too!

  • My son didn’t sleep through the night until ten months old. He was sensitive to noise and we lived in a one bedroom in New York City–right next to a hospital with noisy ambulances nightly. It wasn’t until we moved to a quiet little town in Ohio that he started sleeping better.

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