11 Things I Wish I’d Known as a New Mom

Today we’re talking all about things I wish I had known as a new mom. This post has been sponsored by MAM. All thoughts and opinions are my own

We welcomed baby number 3 almost three months ago, and it is amazing to me how different this newborn stage has been than when our first was born four and a half years ago. I know all babies are different and that Westley is a very calm baby, but at this age, Lincoln was sleeping 9 hours straight and Westley is still up every 2 – 4. Send us all the sleep vibes.

We have all learned a few things along the way, and I WISH I could go back to my 24-year-old self and tell her a few things about babies and motherhood. It would have saved us a lot of headache and let us have been able to focus on the joy a little bit more in those first hard months. 

 11 Things I Wish I’d Known as a New Mom

White Noise:

We discovered white noise a few weeks into life with baby #1, but it made such a huge difference. I wish I’d had it from day 1. This time around, I used white noise for myself at the hospital. (I could NOT sleep when Westley was in the nursery getting his hearing tested because every time I heard a baby cry, I thought it was mine – it wasn’t. He was too far away for me to hear and supposedly didn’t make a peep). I also didn’t realize white noise was something I should leave on all night and not just for a while to help a baby fall asleep. This time around, we have a white noise machine that stays right by his crib and is a great signal that it is time to go to sleep. 

Anti-Colic Bottles:

I vividly remember a night in the early weeks of motherhood where Lincoln screamed for almost the entire night. I spent 90 percent of the night holding him and could NOT figure out what he needed. Fast forward a few days, and we figured out the bottles we were using (hand-me-downs from coworkers that I wasn’t planning on using because I was convinced nursing would be a breeze) were horrible. He was gulping air while he ate, and the consequent gas was really painful for him. This time, we had anti-colic bottles on hand. I’d recommend EVERY MOM have at least one, even if you plan on nursing. A few weeks ago, we switched over to the MAM Easy StartTM Anti-Colic Bottles and Westley won’t drink from anything else now (opinionated little boy). I find he needs to burp less and gulps less air since we’ve switched. The most convenient part? The MAM Easy StartTM is the only self-sterilizing bottle—I can put it straight in the microwave with just a little bit of water for three minutes to sterilize it without needing any additional bags. You can grab them on Amazon. 

Abdominal Separation – and the exercises to avoid it:

When I was cleared for exercise after baby number 1, I set out to strengthen my non-existent abs WITHOUT realizing certain exercises could cause more harm. I wish my OB had talked to me about my separated abdominals at my six-week postpartum checkup and given some resources. So much of what I found online was conflicting, and this time around, I know which exercises to avoid – and to go ahead and schedule a physical therapy appointment. 

Go With Your Gut:

Everyone giving you advice has good intentions, but that doesn’t mean you need to listen to them. I found advice from other moms is consistently inconsistent because each baby is different! The important thing is getting to know your baby and trusting your gut (although talking to a few friends, reading a few articles, or skimming a book doesn’t hurt). 

Back Pain:

New motherhood brings its own sets of aches and pains that are very different from pregnancy. I wish I’d had the stretches and strengthening exercises from a physical therapist the first time around to help with the back pain that sneaks up on me with each newborn stage. This time around, I’m trying to be better about cat + cows (my favorite stretch for back pain), holding the baby with both arms, and lifting from my legs. 

Humidifier to the Rescue:

This is a non-baby product every new mom should have on her Amazon registry if she doesn’t have one at home already. You really need it the first time your baby gets congested, and the last thing you want to do when your child is sick is run out to the store to pick one up. 

Dream Feeds:

A dream feed is when you feed a sleeping baby right before you go to sleep to hopefully extend the time until their next feeding. There are few things worse than drifting off to sleep only to be awoken ten minutes later by a hungry infant. I was too intimidated to wake a sleeping baby the first time around, but this time, we almost always feed Westley right before we go to sleep—whether he has woken up on his own or not. This means I can count on at least a 2.5 hour first stretch when I go to bed. 

The Power of Vibration for Sleep:

It is possible that they weren’t around when my first child was born, but we have since learned about the miracle of vibrating bassinets. Adelaide had one, and it was really helpful in getting her to calm down and fall asleep on her own. This time, we have a little thing that goes under Westley’s mattress with vibration settings. If he’s particularly squirmy and having a hard time settling, it seems to do the trick. 

update: It looks like Halo has discontinued the Snoozy Pod we were using under Westley’s mattress but it is the same vibration feature as in their bassinest.

Skip the Outfits for the First Few Months:

Tiny little baby clothes are the cutest, aren’t they? If you’re anything like me though, you won’t want the hassle of dressing a tiny (floppy) baby most of the time. So many of our early outfits went unworn because my babies wear sleepers for most of their first few months. Plus, sticking with sleepers makes me feel better about buying 2-3 outfits I love in each size for the occasional time I get them dressed (pictures, church, an occasional outing). 

You Get Better At It (It Might Not Get Easier):

You’ll be able to have more kids! In those hard early days, I remember despairing that I’d never be able to have more children. If it was this hard with ONE newborn, how in the world would I do it again while having another child? For me, there haven’t been any months of motherhood more difficult than those first ones with only one child. This time, with a newborn, 3 and 4-year-old, things feel MUCH more manageable than they did back then. Objectively, motherhood is more work now—but it FEELS easier. It is nice to know after 4.5 years, I’ve gotten better at this job. 

Pacifiers Are Great:

With baby #1, we avoided introducing a pacifier until he was six weeks, at which point he WOULDN’T take one. We have used one since the beginning with every child since. We’ve used a couple of different pacifiers over the years, but I just learned that the MAM ComfortTM Pacifier was developed as a result of the complaints of medical professionals about the pacifiers that are commonly used in hospitals. The nipple on popular hospital pacifiers is large and tough and puts unnecessary strain on the baby’s jaw (which can eventually lead to open bite). The lightweight MAM ComfortTM is soft and flexible and the box it’s sold in doubles as a sterilization box. Westley has been using these pacifiers in his crib, and his siblings are always trying to give him another one 🙂

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