I remember standing at the bookstore; 38 weeks pregnant with my big round belly staring at a gazillion books with big bold headings trying to grab my attention about parenting. “Which one should I choose?” I kept thinking.
I wanted to know everything about parenting but the truth is that the only way that you will ever know about parenting is when you actually become a parent yourself.
A book cannot prepare you, it can only guide you.
I don’t know if I’m the only one that feels this way but I think that when you become a parent the second time around you feel more confident about your decisions and you learn to just let some things go because you know that if you don’t – it will just be a never-ending battle.
They say: “Sleep when the baby sleeps” but honestly can you? I know that I couldn’t.
One of the most common questions in mom groups is: “What advice would you give a first-time mom?”
Let’s hope that today I can answer that… Thanks to the moms who shared their opinions in several groups that inspired this post.
1. Start taking folic acid the day you decide that you want to have a baby.
2. Try to avoid being heavily pregnant in summer because it’s a lot like being a volcano waiting to erupt.
3. Download a pregnancy app to track your baby’s development every week.
4. Eat what you feel like eating during your pregnancy and stop worrying about getting fat.
5. Cravings and baby kicks are the best part of being pregnant!
6. Love your body and the beautiful miracle that it is busy creating inside for you.
7. Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of morning sickness so make sure that you take your vitamins every day.
8. The fish oil tablet tastes like crap but is extremely important for your baby’s development. Try drinking it with fresh juice.
9. Morning sickness is the worst part of pregnancy – It can occur any time of day and anytime during your pregnancy. It can even stop and come back at a later stage.
10. Pregnancy can make you tired and emotional. Relax when you can and take a nap.
11. Pregnant bellies are the cutest – so flaunt it.
12. Yes, it is possible to fart and burp at the same time.
13. Your feet will swell a little or a lot! Don’t freak out, just keep them elevated.
14. Enjoy the shiny healthy hair because soon it will be falling – a lot.
15. Don’t feel guilty if the baby’s sex isn’t exactly what you were expecting. It’s completely normal to feel that way.
16. Wash your baby’s clothes before use. Some clothing may contain chemicals like formaldehyde.
17. Don’t buy too many newborn sizes because babies grow extremely fast.
18. Onesies are more comfortable than 2 pieces. It is also so much easier to take out when there’s an explosion. 😉
19. Pack your hospital bag early and make sure that all of Dad’s and baby’s things are packed as well.
20. Birth plans are not necessary.
21. Don’t listen to other people’s “horror stories.” It will only scare you.
22. 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.
23. Giving birth is the happiest and scariest day of your life.
24. Let your body heal. Don’t rush back to gym.
25. It’s okay to not fall head over heels immediately with your newborn.
26. Spend a lot of skin-to-skin time with your baby so you can bond.
27. It’s okay to hold your baby as much as you want – you can’t spoil a baby.
28. Crying is how newborns communicate.
29. Listen to your instincts, not Dr. Google.
30. Babies have their own schedule; they will guide you. Don’t try to do everything by the book.
31. You can buy a breast pump and baby monitor on most medical Aids from your savings.
32. Nursing is natural but doesn’t necessarily come naturally – Don’t be disappointed if breastfeeding gets difficult or painful.
33. Watch breastfeeding videos and hire a lactation consultant if you need assistance.
34. What you eat after birth matters because it affects your baby’s diet if you decide to breastfeed.
35. Feeding on demand is 100% acceptable.
36. You are not a failure if you can’t breastfeed.
37. Formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mother.
38. Never leave home without extra breast pads and another set of clothes for you and baby.
39. You will lose the baby weight but you may never wear those jeans again – your body shape may change.
40. You will have bad days, but loads of good ones too.
41. Don’t forget to take time for yourself.
42. Don’t forget to take time for your partner.
43. Remember marriage will never be the same after a baby, a lot changes.
44. Date nights are important.
45. Make time for sex. Schedule it if you have too.
46. Sex can be painful the first few times after birth.
48. Don’t lie to make it seem like you have it together.
49. Don’t ignore how you feel.
50. Accept any help you can get for cooking, cleaning and babysitting.
51. Trust yourself.
52. Don’t ask Facebook for medical advice.
53. Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing.
54. It is okay to have a meltdown.
55. Invest in a baby carrier – it will make life easier when you alone at home and need to get work done.
56. Your baby will puke or poop all over you at least once.
57. Not all diapers are created the same. Cheaper is not always better.
58. Stock up on wet wipes. You don’t need a wipe warmer – hot water in a flask is fine.
59. Nappy rash? Leave your baby’s bottom in the sun for at least 5 minutes every day. The sun helps “bake” the rash.
60. Use cotton wool and water to wipe your baby’s bottom during the first couple months to prevent nappy rash or help heal one. Sometimes the material of the wet wipe can be too harsh for a newborn.
61. Epi-max works wonders for baby acne and eczema.
62. Buy lots of bibs and teething gel.
63. Buy a bottle of gripe water and nasal spray.
64. Invest in a non-slip bath mat.
65. Cut baby’s nails when he is sleeping.
66. Rub vicks/karvol on baby’s thigh before they inject to prevent a temperature if you are vaccinating.
67. The yellow line on the middle of the nappy is an indicator. Blue means your baby’s diaper is wet.
68. If you have a son – make sure his private part faces down when you put the diaper on. Trust me, this definitely does matter!
69. Always cover his private part when you changing his diaper so you don’t get pee in your mouth and face like me.
70. If you want to have a shower while baby is awake, put baby in a bouncer inside the bathroom with you. That way you can sing, watch baby and enjoy your shower. 😉
71. Get out of the house with your newborn. Take a stroll down your street with baby in the pram.
71. Sleep deprivation is the worst. Babies don’t always sleep.
72. Download a baby schedule app to see how much sleep your baby is getting.
73. No matter how much you love your baby, nap time is never long enough.
74. Co-sleeping is acceptable and might be the only way you get some sleep.
75. You won’t stay friends with the same people once you’ve had a child. That’s okay
76. Find support groups.
77. Everyone feels unprepared.
78. If you don’t want to be judged, stop judging.
79. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
80. Expect that each baby will be unique.
81. Let the laundry pile up.
82. Your mom and mother-in-law might get pushy and expect you to do things a certain way. It’s okay to tell them you’ve got everything under control, even if you entirely don’t.
83. Let your husband or partner do things his own way.
84. Don’t isolate the baby: he won’t break.
85. Make a to-do list of tasks big and small before you go to bed.
86. You will appreciate your own mother so much more now that you a mom too.
87. Stay at home moms feel guilty just as working moms do but it just may be for different reasons.
88. Parenting isn’t a competition.
89. Spending the entire day in pyjamas is acceptable. .
90. It’s okay to have a cocktail once in a while.
91. Research Growth spurts.
92. Every baby reaches milestones at different ages.
93. Babies are very forgiving.
94. Time really goes fast with a baby around and soon she will be a year old… than 2-years old.
95. Politics become more important now that you have a family.
96. Take pictures with YOU in them.
97. Write down the special moments… like the first walk, first time baby said “Dada”.
98. You don’t have to enjoy every moment.
99. Forgetting things is normal.
100. Laughter is the best medicine.