Buy newborn clothes. Everyone tells you not to buy newborn-sized clothes because your baby won’t need them long. So, of course, I bought mostly 0-3 month clothes. However, every baby is different, and my son stayed in newborn clothes for almost a month. So, buy those newborn clothes. Worst case scenario, you can always return them.
Take tons of pregnancy pictures and make a belly cast. This will be something you will truly cherish forever.
Work out while you’re pregnant. With your OB’s approval, of course. I walked and exercised every day, but I really should’ve worked my biceps and back muscles more. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did when you’re holding a baby all day long.
Don’t worry about planning your birth.
Every birth is different . . . and completely impossible to plan for. The best thing you can do is get a general idea but remain as open-minded as possible. And remember, you are your biggest advocate and it’s your birth.
Sleepers and onesies with feet are everything. Chances are, for the first six months or so, you’ll be dealing with lots of spit-up anyway. Don’t waste too much time trying to piece together the perfect two-piece outfit every day because you’ll probably end up changing it three or four times. Socks fall off and T-shirts rise up. Just go for the easier option. Swaddles and sleep sacks are also amazing. They are SO easy and comfy for your baby. Especially when it comes to those 2 a.m. feedings.
The first month is tough, but you’ll get through it. You’re exhausted, your hormones are all over the place, you don’t know if you’re coming or going, and you feel like you might be crazy. But, you aren’t. This is normal and you will get through it.
If you have a husband/partner, let them help. As a mother, it’s natural to think that you’re the only one capable of taking care of your baby. However, it’s also extremely beneficial to your relationship and helps your partner build confidence if you let them help out.
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
Seriously. Everyone likes to give new moms this same piece of advice, but we never listen until it’s too late. We think there’s too much to do and we simply can’t afford to take a nap. But the truth is, you can’t afford to not take a nap.
Track your baby’s sleep patterns early on. This will make for a much smoother transition once they are out of the newborn, sleep-all-the-time phase. If you know what time (generally) they wake up and go to sleep, you can start planning their naps accordingly.
The “cry it out” method isn’t for everyone. Babies cry for one simple reason—it’s their only form of communication. So, if they are crying, it’s for a reason. Sometimes it’s something as simple as just being uncomfortable or having a belly ache. Either way, your mothering style is up to you and no one will agree with every decision you make. Don’t let anyone make you think you’re not right for your baby.
Have your placenta encapsulated. This may not be for everyone, which is fine, but the benefits are mind-blowing. Decreased risk of postpartum depression, decrease in stress hormones, increased oxytocin production, increased milk supply, restoration of iron levels (due to blood loss during birth), increased energy—just to name a few. You should really consider it. It literally changed my life.
Get a baby nail file.
The first time I cut my son’s nails, I nicked the skin on this thumb. I cried like a baby. He didn’t cry at all. After that, I did some research and found out they have nail files made just for babies. I didn’t cut his nails again until he was a year old.
Allow for a normal level of noise while your baby sleeps so they can get used to it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing what I do each day, tiptoeing around for two hours at nap time. This doesn’t allow for much housework, especially vacuuming.
Your baby is your new full-time job. Whatever you had in mind as free time, go ahead and throw it out the window. There won’t be much of that. Half the time when your baby is actually sleeping, you’ll probably catch yourself sitting there staring at them instead of doing chores. And that’s OK. Your house will be a mess for quite some time. Do what you can when you can, but don’t work yourself to death.
Nothing is more important than your new baby.
Take care of yourself. Once the new baby arrives, I think moms have a tendency to be kind of put on the back burner. It was all about you for nine months, and then all of a sudden. it’s all about the baby. Birth is hard on the baby, but it’s hard on you too. Your body is healing in ways you never expected and you have pain in very uncomfortable places. The detachment from the placenta alone leaves an open wound inside of your uterus. You are recovering from giving birth, so remember to take care of yourself too.
One last thing . . . you are a beautiful mama, doing the best you can. Give yourself a little love.