Advice for New Mommies From A Village
By: Melanie Braga
To all the first time mommies, welcome to the world of parenting! I am sure you have read tons of books and articles of what to expect when your bundle of joy arrives. You may have even heard the ups, downs and maybe even the ugly from family and friends. All of this information can be valuable and may assist you at some point. But please remember that every child, parent and situation is different so your desired results may differ. That is in all honesty!
So I decided to dedicate a piece with some new mommy advice for all you amazing new moms. First off, great job! You have brought life into this world and you are trying your very best to provide and love your baby with all that you have. You are doing one of the hardest jobs in the world where you don’t get financial compensation for, the hours are long, there are no designated break times, you don’t get recognition for a job well done and your little boss is very demanding! But the rewards are SO much more than all that. So now, seat back and breathe because you ROCK!
Hopefully I still have your attention and that you are intrigued with what comes next in my new mommy advice article. This time around I decided since it takes a village to raise a child, I would ask some amazing moms in my village on their advice to share with all of you.
The question I posed to them, was what advice would they give to new moms or what they wish they knew before becoming a mom and the results are in. The beauty of this advice is that it comes from women of all ages and at different stages of their life. Each one has had girls, boys and even twins so we have a great mix of advice. Enjoy!
My offset piece of advice is….Don’t be a hero. Accept help. Ask for help. Use your village to assist raising your child. You’ll want to do it all yourself, it’s a modern societal need to succeed without help. But you’ll need it. As much as you don’t want to admit it, you’ll need the help. Let them hold the baby so that you can shower, nap, or go to the grocery store alone! Accept the help. And use their help to do something gratifying for yourself. You deserve it.
Colleen, Mother of 3
Don’t worry if your child walks or talks after others. Every child develops in their own time. You cannot spoil a baby with love.
Karen, Mother of 3 & Grandmother of 5
Listen to your instincts. Do what you think is right for you and don’t worry about everybody else.
Debbie, Mother of 1
I wish I had the knowledge of how to deal with a premature baby as my son was born prematurely and was very underweight. He stayed in an incubator in the ICU for five days and it was difficult to leave him there. I was unable to hold him for the first 2 days of his life and he had to be tube feed. There wasn’t a lot of information when I had my son 24 years ago and I wish I had the information as it would have helped me cope and better understand. It would have also taken away a lot of stress that I was feeling. The first month of having him home was difficult. For instance, it would take him 1 hour to drink 2oz of formula and for a new mom that is hard to see. My advice is to access and get the information that you need to help you. There is so much available and don’t feel ashamed to get it as it can help you.
Linda, Mother of 3
My advice would be to not listen to everyone as all moms are all different and to do what you think is best for your child and no way is the wrong way. It’s your way and no one can say it’s wrong. In the end, you’re the mom and you do what you feel is right for your child.
Jennifer, Mother of 2
Everyone will always try and prepare you and give you all their baby advice. Here are my top three: When your baby first comes home, just do what feels right, you will surprise yourself on how your natural mommy instincts take flight; Your capacity to love will grow bigger, not just for your new little one but also with everyone around you. Being a mom makes you be the best you and you will want to share that with others; and lastly, chores can wait….take a nap! I had this vision in my head of always wanting to be caught up with laundry, dishes, cleaning, groceries, etc. and you know I never did get my super mom award so just take it easy, rest when you can. Not all the time though of course.
Carla, Mother of 1
Follow your instinct. If you don’t feel is right, then go with what you feel. You will get over inundated with advice, but you know your child best. Follow that intuition.
Katie, Mother of 2
What I wished I would have done was to nap when my baby napped. Also to have trusted my gut instinct as a mom’s instinct is usually right and not to worry so much. My advice is to not worry about house work and it will get done when it gets done.
Norma, Mother of 1
As mothers, we all have fears and doubts and we all want to do what’s best for our children. Nobody knows your baby better than you do, so trust your instincts. What worked for another mom and their baby might not for the both of you. But do network with other mothers as parenting is one of the toughest but most rewarding jobs you’ll ever experience. To hear what other mothers say, know that your feelings are the same as many, and share stories will help ground you and guide you in your new role called motherhood. It’s a job that keeps on giving, frequent routine changes, learning new things, and reaching new limits and expectations. It’s a journey that travels many paths and mysterious corners lay ahead. Just know to be flexible, and live it to the fullest, because it’s your journey with your baby, a story that cannot be rewritten, but one you will always cherish.
Amber, Mother of 2
My advice would be on breastfeeding. People say, “It’s the most natural thing in the world” but it’s actually very difficult at times. You will get frustrated, you will cry, the baby will cry and you will wonder if they are getting enough. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I bought a couple of sessions at a local breastfeeding clinic to get help and we stuck with it till she was 16 months (with some supplements and eventually baby food). Don’t give up, unless it just cannot be done. And then don’t feel guilty! Anyone who ever said, “don’t cry over spilled milk,” has obviously never pumped.
Michelle, Mother of 1
I wish I knew how wonderful baby bucket car seats were. We started off with a convertible one but now we have both. So convenient especially when he falls asleep in the car.
Before baby arrived, we prepared some food and stocked up on cans of soup, frozen veggies, and fruit for smoothies which was a life saver. Some of our family and friends brought us meals, groceries and gift cards which were very much appreciated! The best present for new parents (and Starbucks!)
I didn’t realize how many diapers a new born baby goes through, especially a boy! Ask for different sizes of diapers for shower gifts or gift cards are great!
Kailey, Mother of 1
If you go on vacation and leave your baby with the grandparents, provide them with a sleep schedule. This will help when you return as it will keep them on a normal sleep routine.
Julie, Mother of 1
Asking for help doesn’t make you less of a mom, trust me, it takes a village to raise a child (and that saying rings true 6.5 years later). Life’s new change has brought so many new (and unknown) obstacles and we need to remember we don’t need to overcome them all on our own. Reach out to those who have experience for advice, support, etc.
Don’t be afraid to lean on daddy for support. Or ask grandma, aunty or uncle to tag in once in a while (if and when possible).
Not many people are fortunate to have family close by, so connect with other mommies in your community. Make your community your family.
It really does take a village.
Marissa, Mother of 1
You need patience in abundance. It’s ok to make mistakes, it does not make you a bad mother. I think that’s one of the biggest things. We are all, secretly, judging ourselves and other moms. And not always in a bad way. You got your kids in swimming and ballet, well then I probably should do the same. Or, you see how a parent reacted to a situation and you think it was awesome and you want to adopt the same thing with your child. I guess the one thing I can say is that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes as parents. It’s totally ok. As long as you wake up the next morning, new day, to try it again. We learn by practicing.
Susie, Mother of 2
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on enjoying your kids, rather than worrying about what they’re wearing, their haircuts or whether their food is always perfectly nutritious. 2. If you show your kids that you trust them, they’ll learn to trust themselves and make responsible choices. 3. Don’t suppress their creativity and autonomy. Get out of their way and let them try scary stuff. That’s how they learn. 4. Talk to them about absolutely everything. Don’t protect them, because it’s better if they learn about death, sex, etc through you than their friends.
Karin, Mother of 3 (includes 1 set of twin girls & 1 boy)
Hope you enjoyed this piece full of inspiring advice from some inspirational women in my village of awesome.
At the end of the day, continue to do what you feel is best for your child. No one could ever really write a book about your particular child but you sure can! Happy Parenting!
– Momma Braga