Let’s face it. Being a first time mom is never easy. Sure, there is excitement about welcoming a new human being that you have created into the world. But there is so much to think about. What should you buy/register for? What do you really need? How am I going to keep this tiny human alive and keep my own sanity?
When I was a baby, my mom laid me on my stomach in a crib surrounded by bumper pads. Apparently, she was laying me on my stomach to die in a death trap! Until my daughter was born, my mom didn’t even know what a swaddle was. Of course, I lived. And my mom did a great job raising me. But how is a new mom to know what to do and how to do it once baby arrives? The answer? Mom friends. Being an older first time mom meant that most, if not all, of my good friends already had 1 + children. Therefore, I benefited from all their wisdom (and awesome hand-me-downs)!
Registering for Baby Gifts:
First, registering for baby gifts took longer and was WAY more stressful than registering for wedding gifts. What brand of jogging stroller really is the best? Do I even need a jogging stroller if I’m not a jogger? Are the Dr. Brown’s bottles really that much better than the Medela bottles that came with my breast pump? Is a Sophie teething giraffe really worth it? Fortunately, a great friend of mine had created an excel spreadsheet with everything you could possibly need and/or register for.
This spreadsheet included five friends who filled in their own likes and preferences for brands as well as reviews of things you really don’t need. The best part of this spreadsheet? Not all the moms agreed on everything. Certain moms liked certain brands of bottles, while other moms prefered something different. I realized that not everyone agrees — and that is okay. This was a very important lesson to learn as a first time mom. I used this amazing spreadsheet to register for all my baby gifts.
Sleep, Baby, Sleep:
Second, will I ever sleep again? And will my baby ever sleep (without suffocating on a blanket/pillow/stuffed animal/bumper pad) in her crib?! Thank you mom friends for letting me know how awesome swaddles are! My husband and I joke that our baby girl can’t handle the freedom of sleeping without her “straight jacket.” My mom friends were so right.
Keeping our baby tightly bound in that Velcro straight jacket helped her sleep longer and allowed us to keep our sanity. My mom friends told us the swaddles that worked best and even gave us hand me down swaddles their little ones had preferred. As far as the crib goes, I only found out bumper pads were a hazard — you guessed it — when my mom friends told me. It isn’t like a doctor or other healthcare professional comes to your house before your baby is born and tells you everything that you need (or don’t need). But being an older first time mom means you’ve seen your mom friend’s nurseries for their babies, and talked to them about what is safest.
Third, hand-me-downs really are amazing! Sure, you would love for your new baby to be wearing only brand new, hand smocked, clothing every day to capture gorgeous photos of your little angel. But the reality? That is not happening. It is not only expensive, but babies tend to spit up, pee on, or blow out every new outfit you dress them up in. I gladly accepted any and all hand me downs. Please give me your once or never worn new with tags hand me downs. I will proudly dress my baby up in them. When friends give you easy access zip on pajamas, you really do appreciate them.
Finally, is breastfeeding as hard as I have heard? Will pumping be the death of me once I go back to work? Breastfeeding is really different for everyone. Some moms, like me, have it easy. I had no problem feeding my baby, and my baby was a good eater. However, not every mom has it so easy. Having friends to talk to, encourage you, and let you know everything is going to be okay is crucial! With so many friends who had been through the breastfeeding drama before me, I had a bevy of helpful advice and words of encouragement I could only receive from moms who came before me.