Becoming a mom for the first time can be exciting and terrifying all at once. Having a baby is probably one of the most life-changing events you will ever experience, and it’s only natural to want to prepare as best as you can. From the day you announce that you’re expecting, you’re likely flooded with advice from friends, family, and even strangers.
It can feel overwhelming to filter through all of the things you need to do physically and mentally prepare for. While you’ve probably covered the big stuff like diapers, car seats, and strollers, you may be searching for advice on some of the real stuff you need to prepare for. You know, the kind of advice you won’t get from parenting books or classes. The kind of advice that only real moms can dole out.
A member of our Everymom Tribe group recently reached out and posted asking for advice regarding preparing for her baby – she was three weeks out from her due date and feeling the weight of impending motherhood. She asked for practical advice from experienced mothers, and the advice came pouring in.
The Everymom Tribe delivered with real, down-to-earth, and practical advice for this first-time mom. Read how these real moms weighed-in on how to really prepare for a new baby.
We wanted to share our favorite comments with you because there is nothing better than the sisterhood of motherhood.
On mental preparation
“It’s so hard to know what to say as everyone’s experience is different. Mentally prepare to love yourself. You are enough. Give yourself all kinds of grace. Whatever decisions you make about delivery or nursing or anything are okay. You are not alone. It’s okay to ask for help. Keep this in the back of your mind. Tangible things: If you plan to nurse, be prepared with a couple of comfortable nursing bras (don’t bother with underwires!). I would also bring your own pajamas to the hospital.” –Renee A.
“Know that it’s OK to feel overwhelmed when coming home from the hospital. After my second day at the hospital, I felt so comfortable and confident, and once I stepped foot in my house and set the baby down, I started crying. Because of hormones and because I felt like I was overwhelmed in my house and that confidence was gone. Just know it’s OK to feel that way and you WILL get a routine down. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world to love someone so much. But, it’s OK if you don’t feel that deep love right away. You will get there.” –Cortnie S.
“Take as much time for you as possible. Honestly, once baby arrives, I felt like it was expected and normal to do very little for my own self-care. The best advice I got once the baby arrived was to shower each and every day, get sunlight or get outside every day, and get ‘dressed.’ Dressed for me was getting out of pajamas and into spandex lol, but out of pajamas seemed like a total win.” –Lexi B.G.
“The only other heads up I wish I was given was that your hormones will be allllll over the place. I wasn’t prepared for that, and it was tough.” –Ryann D.
“Prepare for exhaustion (to say the least), frustration, and battling both shame from others and also self-generated shame. Just remember you are NOT alone and it’s OK to ask for help.” –Courianne W.
“Take a deep breath and remember (during the good, but especially during the struggles and the hard times) it will not be like this forever, this is just a temporary state, and you will get through it!” –Emily M.
On what to stock up on
“Stock up on lots of thick pads and granny style underwear. Stock up on your favorite treat. You’re going to burn a lot of calories in the first few days.” –Carey H.
“If you plan to sleep in your own pajamas after you deliver, pack WAY more than you think you will need. You will sweat more than you ever thought was possible when sleeping. And, buy Depends. A good friend of mine recommended them for the post-delivery bleeding as a more comfortable option over the giant pads and mesh undies the hospital gives you.” –Sarah T.
“If someone wants to set up a meal train for you, I would take advantage of that. But, I wish I had asked them to do every other day since it was just the two of us eating, and there was SO MUCH FOOD. It’s nice not to have to cook and also pack some away in the freezer for later days.” –Courianne W.
“I was STARVING the first couple days as I got used to nursing and the extra calories burnt. Make sure your fridge is stocked or you have people bringing you food. I could have prevented some meltdowns (on my end) if I had enough food on hand lol.” –Kara A.
“So this may be weird, but I stocked up on household basics. I made sure I had plenty of detergents, hand soap, trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Basically anything bulky or really annoying to run out of. I found it to be super helpful. It was one less thing to keep track of and you start going through a number of those items a lot quicker after the baby arrives.” –Meredith P.
“If you plan on breastfeeding, take your Boppy or whatever breastfeeding pillow to the hospital! I was kicking myself for not bringing mine. Hospital beds are super hard to try to nurse in.” –Heather O.
“Get a dimmable light for wherever you’ll be feeding or nursing so you don’t have to wake your baby up too much in the middle of the night.” –Kara A.
“Something I feel isn’t talked about enough is how hard breastfeeding is. Be gentle with yourself – it takes work and time for both you and baby to pick it up.” –Nikki S.
“I got my daughter on a feeding schedule, and it made my life easier.” –Emily B.
On managing relationships
“You need a support system for you and the baby, but I also think it is important to have bonding time with your little and your partner, where you can have quality time to get to know your new family and adjust.” – Amber S.
“I feel like I wasn’t prepared for how challenging managing adult relationships would be in the first month or so. I learned quickly how to lovingly set boundaries and take care of myself. It’s okay to say you don’t want visitors, you need a nap, you do want help, or you don’t want help. Give yourself a lot of love and grace as you figure things out! It’s also OK to feel overwhelmed or not super happy and so exhausted. Mostly just know you’re going to do great! It’s a wonderful journey.” –Ann J.
“It is OK to want everyone around or no one around! Speak up and be unapologetic about it. You are about to meet the ultimate love of your life, and you deserve the space to do so in any way you see fit. Be prepared to sometimes need a minute for yourself too. Just say it out loud to your partner. Ask for it. Don’t internalize it. It’s tough, and that’s OK! Because the tough, tired moments are worth every giggle and smile – it’s really a love like you’ve never known.” –Teena O.
What practical advice would you add to this list?