What Every New Mom Should Know to Survive the First 3 Months

what_i_wish_id_known_about_having_a_newborn


*If you have already survived the first three months (Way to go!), here are tips for the rest of the year!

The last three months have been both the BEST and HARDEST three months of my life, and the later I didn’t see coming. I was either over confident or clueless….I guess it doesn’t matter. The point being, having a newborn is no small undertaking. And if I had known the following 12ish things (like I will next time) I think it might have been a little easier! *I must note that I know all babies are different and what works for one doesn’t work for all, so take all my advice with a grain of salt!

Now, get ready because it’s about to get wordy! In no particular order….

1. White Noise We discovered TRUE white noise about 3 weeks into parenthood, and it was a game changer folks. Who would have thought that babies would actually LOVE a constant shhhhhhhhhing sound. Apparently the womb is loud and the world we bring them into is quiet…most don’t like it. They miss the noise of the womb, so enter white noise. Chickadee would be screaming her lungs out and the second you turned it on the screaming would cease and within minutes she might even be asleep. Plug it in and turn UP (we keep ours on the bookshelf that sits on the wall opposite her crib). If you are worried about it being too loud you can download a decibel reader app and don’t go above 65. Here is the noise machine we have, along with an app on our iphones for when we are on the go. Seriously folks this changed our lives.

2. Put your baby to sleep for naps I thought babies napped when they are tired, which in those early days meant they would sleep all the time. If you have one of the babies that follows this theory consider yourself winning the jackpot. Chickadee was NOT this way. If I had a quarter for every time we were told how “alert” baby girl was, she would be set for college. “Alert” to me meant she wanted to be awake all the time! And she was for about the first month it seemed. Then I realized my baby needed to be put to sleep (This mom has no idea where the term ” they sleep like a baby” comes from….it should be ” the sleep like a dad!”) So I paid attention to her mood and figured out that about an hour after she woke up/nursed she was starting to yawn. I took this as a cue and “put” her to sleep. Sometimes I rocked and held her (or wore her in the K’tan Baby Carrier or ERGO, these carriers ROCK) while she slept, sometimes I sang, I’d let her sleep in the swing, other times I swaddled, turned on the white noise, put her in the crib and walked away. If I timed it right she fell asleep almost immediately without any fussing and turns out she became a great sleeper (by around two months she was napping about 4 times a day for at least an hour and sleeping 10 hours at night). I figured out her schedule instead of putting her on the ones I found in books and things have worked beautifully! 

3. Swaddle I’ve heard from several friends that their baby didn’t like to be swaddled. Now, maybe this is true, but stick with it and they will expect it. Swaddling will become a cue for them that it is time to sleep. There are two key elements to a good swaddle. The right blanket and the right technique. I suggest these blankets by aden + anais . LOVE them! They are a little pricey but will be worth it! As for how to swaddle I found this YouTube video from Moms on Call extremely helpful and effective.

*I should note we dropped the swaddle about 4 months!

4. Ask for Help & Find Someone in Your Shoes I was lucky. Both my parents and in-laws took turns staying with us the first few weeks. The best part was that while they did help with the baby, they were willing to do “everything else” so I didn’t have to worry and could truly “sleep when the baby slept.” They washed clothes, cooked dinner, did the dishes, helped keep the house in order, and ran errands. It was amazing….I could give 100% to our precious newborn because I wasn’t having to worry about anything else. Also find a friend, or friend of a friend, or a girl in a nursing support group, etc. who is in your shoes (as in also has a newborn)….those middle of the night texts, and “is this normal” conversations are priceless to your sanity. Thanks Lindsay for being my “go to!”

5. Don’t Compare Your Baby or Yourself to Others I found myself in the middle of the night googling everything under the sun. “When do they start sleeping through the night?” “How many wet diapers?” “How long should a baby take to nurse?” “When do you truly let them cry it out (if ever)?” I would run across posts where moms would say “My baby came home from the hospital sleeping through the night…” or “My baby could change their own diaper…” Folks, EVERY baby is different. You have to do what works BEST for you….trust your gut. God made you a mother and along with being a mother comes maternal instincts. Trust them.  There is no one right way to be a parent, there are many right ways to parent. And while you aren’t comparing your baby to other babies don’t compare yourself to other moms, especially those who came home from the hospital weighing what they did pre-pregnancy. Can I get some love from anyone else out there still trying to lose those last 5-10 pounds????

6. Let your Husband know how he can Help Chances are your husband doesn’t have a lot of experience with babies and so him taking the initiative with your new little one might be a little scary for him. Remember maternal instinct/old school babysitting know how might not come naturally to him. However, chances are he is ready and willing to do anything you need him or ask him to do! III became a diaper changing master, was great at bringing me things when I was glued the the glider nursing yet again, and is quite successful at putting Chickadee to sleep so I can slip away to finally take a shower. I think sometimes they just don’t know what to do, so let them know!

7. Keep a Changing Station Close By Holy Cow, newborns go to the bathroom A LOT. We have a two story house….having a changing station (in the form of a Pack ‘N Play) set up downstairs was fabulous to remedy all those wet & poopy diapers. And while we are on the subject…if your baby has one full poop everywhere blow out per day, consider yourself in good company. Even in the finest Pamper diapers it’s going to happen. Oh, and another thought….you don’t have to change a wet diaper the second the line turns blue. It’s a great marketing strategy by the diaper folks to lead us to believe the second it’s blue you need another 30 cent diaper….but I promise you don’t. You’ll be able to tell when it is full enough to need changing…promise. 

8. Breastfeeding is Hard Someone told me if you can commit to the first six weeks you’ll make it. I know it’s not for everyone, but I was adamant about wanting to breastfeed. True orgnaic milk, right? Truth be told it definitely hurts in the beginning, but there is a light at the end of the Lanolin tunnel! After about two weeks and a few meetings with a lactation consultant the pain was virtually gone. Engorgement will happen but your body will get itself under control in a few weeks. And while we are on the topic of breastfeeding I cannot stress enough the importance of a fabulous breast pump. Call your insurance, they all have to cover one in some form or fashion! It helps immensely when you are engorged (which you will be at some point or another). Also if you ever want to be able to leave that precious little one for more than 3 hours (I know you don’t want to now but at some point you might) you’ll need to leave some of that liquid gold behind. Enter….a breast pump. I use the Medela Freestyle and have nothing but positive things to say! 

9. Don’t Spend Too Much Money on Baby Clothes Do they look precious in that little smocked dress or seersucker suit? Yes. Will it be covered in spit-up or poop in about 4 minutes, yes. It’s the truth folks.  And It’s Okay if Your Baby Spends Their First 3 Months in PJs. I prefer pajamas of the zippered variety or long gowns with the elastic at the bottom. The zippers or gowns make for easy changing in the middle of the night or any time of day for that matter. Button pajamas work great too, just a little trickier. Also in all of your excitement you don’t necessarily need to try to get “ahead of the game” by washing everything newborn to six months. Chances are they aren’t going to wear some of it and if the tags are still hanging from the sleeves you can exchange it for the next size or a few sizes up!

10. Going Shopping the First Time by Yourself With the Baby is Scary But you can do it! Make the first trip a short trip…go to Publix and buy some bread. Leave them in their car seat and set them down in the buggy….turn on the white noise app if you need to to keep them calm. If they start to fuss try picking up the car seat for a minute. Somehow they seem to know when they are “in the air” and this calms them down. Another suggestion is to “wear” them while shopping either. I can’t stress how helpful I found wearing Chickadee. Ago we used the K’tan and Ergo, etc. I found it a lot easier to calm Chickadee down when she was strapped to my chest, a little bouncing would do the trick! Once you get the first few trips out of the way you’ll realize it’s going to be okay, and if they start to cry you can handle it. 

 11. Once nursing is established try and get your baby to take a bottle. This will be so freeing. I am not really a nurse in public kind of girl, but it is not always convenient to have to head home every 2.5 hours. So sometimes I pump and bring a bottle with us wherever we may go. At first I felt guilty about giving her a bottle when I could be nursing, but when a friend asked why? I didn’t really have a good answer. Another reason a bottle was great was because when I was trying to urge her to sleep through the night I would give her the bottle for the last feeding of the night. That way I was sure she had taken in enough to make it through to morning. Having your breastfed baby be able to take a bottle really will help you break out of “baby jail!!” If your little one isn’t feelin’ it, here are a few tips that might help!

12. Take Pictures Take soooo many pictures, make sure a camera is close by even if it is your iphone. Remember you can always delete ones you don’t like or don’t need, but you can never retake pictures of these moments. I’m trying to take one picture a day of baby girl. Then after a year I’m going to put them all together in a little book. Also, get in the pictures with them…chances are you aren’t going to remember a lot of this later unless you have it cemented onto your SD card. 

12ish.  Other tips.…big picture everything is going to be okay, if they are crying they are breathing…if you need to set them down in the crib for a moment while you take a deep breath that is okay, keep snacks & water near by when nursing, it’s okay to say no when someone asks to visit, buy consignment, they will wake up in the middle of a nap but give them a few minutes before you go in because chances are they will go back to sleep, join Amazon Mom, watch them sleep, if you have a fussy baby try wearing them…they like to be close to you, remember the chores can wait, breathe.

. . . . .

So do you have anything you would add to this list? I’d love to hear them because I will be the first to admit I’m still trying to figure this thing out on a daily basis…. However, I truly think there are some things you can’t know until you experience them for yourself…and other things I think moms truly forget (unless you write them down for a blog post). Just remember it’s all worth…every sleepless moment, every tear you both shed, every blow out diaper, and every ounce of spit up because having a newborn is the best thing in the world!

*Also remember I am not an expert, so please do your research & only what you feel is best for your precious little one!

Here are a few more posts about getting ready for your little one and surviving once they are here that I think you might find helpful!!

Pregnancy Announcement Ideas

announcement ideas

DIY Nursery

diy_nursery

Breaking Out of Baby Jail

playtex_ventaire_tips

Books that Should be on your Child’s Bookshelf

must_have_childrens_books

Make Your Own Baby Food

make_a_weeks_worth_of_baby_food

Want to read more about how Chickadee and I are doing?? Check out this five month update, six month update, seven month update and eighth month update!

*This post contains affiliate links.

 

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Comments

  1. Preparation is soooooooooooo important! It would be so much harder for me and my husband if we didn’t read Susan Urban’s guides – ( we have read 2 guides: “how to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” and “how to make breastfeeding pleasant and easy” ) We got them on I think the author’s website http://www.parental-love.com My midwife told me about this series of guidelines and I really recommend them – especially these 2 guides. Helped us so much!

  2. I’m a first time mom! thank you for sharing i literally noted everything down! thank you!
    Juana Perez recently posted…Meet Poppy!My Profile

    • Laura Beth says:

      Congrats on your new bundle of joy! I hope a little of my advice makes this new chapter even better than it already is!

  3. Thank you so much for this post!! I’m expecting our first any day now and I can’t tell you how reassuring this was to read. As excited as we are, I’m also pretty anxious about everything. I will for sure be coming back to this information multiple times over the next few months!

  4. I wish I knew this 10weeks ago. This is so true and on the point. Best advice ever..I went through every single word with my little one. Thank you for this as this IS all you need to know.But as you said: somethings you just have to experience yourself.. uhh I think the worst is over!! And I love my little one in pj’s all day/everyday. Hehe.. xoxo

  5. I love that you talk about wearing your little one while shopping. This has been the best thing for me and baby, even if I look crazy bouncing and swaying all around the grocery store. But. My little princess loves it so I’ll look as crazy as I need to in order to make her happy!! Great article!!

  6. I have a 2 week old and this is so accurate! Thanks for posting! I sent this to 3 friends who are all due in about a month. Wish I read this 2 weeks ago! But it’s still nice to know that everything I’m experiencing is normal! So thank you!

  7. Love love love the 12 ish tips Xoxox thank you looking forward to trying them all in 11 weeks

  8. 100%!! It’s like I was reading something I could have written after my 1st was born. All of the things you’ve mentioned absolutely saved me from going bonkers!! Excellent advice here ladies. I’m now pregnant with # 2 & have almost everything already lined up. I just need to get my breast pump coz I don’t want to be a prisoner this time round.

  9. Thank you so much for this post! We are trying to get pregnant and I’ll keep this post for when baby comes :-)

  10. Kellie Miller says:

    I am pregnant with baby #2 and want to TY for this article. The most PRACTICAL and common sense advice I have read thus far!!

  11. Great post! I have a 2 month old and can totally identify with googling absolutely everything! I actually asked my mom how she did it before Google lol. My brother calls it Google parenting :)

  12. I just want to say THANK YOU☺️

  13. I am a mom of 7. Very good info. One of my lifesaving tips is to use a burp cloth between you and baby with every feed. When baby needs soothing when you aren’t there your smell will comfort them. Our kids then used them as their security blankets. Also with our newest baby born 11/2015 we are using cloth diapers and it’s a life savor! No needless trips to the store for more diapers. They are actually pretty easy to use. White noise is a lifesaver. Kids all sleep well where ever we go.

  14. As a suggestion for anyone wanting to try white noise, but not willing to actually buy a machine right away – just turn on a fan (ceiling fans will work, but don’t produce quite as much noise as a plug-in one). If you’re worried about the fan making your baby cold, just face it into a corner or lay a light blanket over it.

    As an adult whose mother used this trick when I was a baby, I know I still go into “sleep mode” almost the instant a fan is turned on (even if it’s not bedtime). My mom also used this with my brother, who was born when I was 14, and you’d be amazed how much background noise a fan covers up. Saved me a lot of “you’re taking care of your brother if you wake him up” moments when my friends and I were noisy after his bedtime.

    Best of luck to everyone!

  15. Thank you for sharing. I read this at the perfect time. I’m pregnant with my third but because of lovely people and their comments of “how in the world are you going to handle 3?!” Or “rest now because it’s going to be so hard when the baby gets here”, I’ve started to feel anxious and scared again. All these tips reminded me that truly it’s ok and you’re so right on all your tips, especially the one about not comparing yourself to others. I would add to that pick and choose what advice you take from others; most mean well but just because your 60 year old great aunt “use to always do something with their baby, and they turned out fine” doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do or that you have to feel like your less of a mom because you didn’t start jogging three miles after the baby was born or you didn’t breast feed as long as someone else. You have to do what’s best for your baby, you and your family.

  16. That’s the most difficult time after birth… Those were the times where new moms feels post natal depression. But that’s normal! Thanks for sharing this article… A great hand for rookie moms. :)

  17. Good article! However I have been doing a lot of research and white noise machines can actually harm a baby’s hearing. The noise levels are usually too loud for a baby’s sensitive ears. Some of the white noise machines exceed 93 decibels when 85 is the limit for adults! (50 decibels for babies). Constant noise does help a baby sleep, but the kind that is best is background noise like a nice breeze or parents talking in the background or the television! Or better yet, a mom or dads heartbeat when napping on their chest :)

  18. I absolutely loved this article! Thank you so much for sharing. Our little guy is due in February and I’m in the stage of reading every piece of advice I can. This article was down to earth and matched so much of the advice I’ve heard from my own mother. Thank you again for sharing!

    Take care,
    Caitlin

  19. I suggest bouncing on an exercise ball during pregnancy and then bouncing on it postpartum to nurse and calm them down. When nothing else works bouncing on that ball does.

  20. I cannot thank you enough for this blog post. I currently have a three week old and every one of these is extremely true and helpful. The end brought tears to my eyes.

  21. Tiffany says:

    You have some really helpful advice here. Sharing experience can do so much for others.
    I do have to add though, our pediatrician educated us at last check up that the swaddle should be dropped by 6weeks. Swaddling apparently contributes to hip dysplasia when used longer than that. we had no idea.

  22. I have BCBS state plan with SC, I am a teacher. They do not cover breast pumps in any fashion. Believe me I asked. I just had my baby June 17th.

    • Laura Beth says:

      That stinks! I thought under the new Obamacare all insurance companies had too, even if it’s just a hand pump (that is what mine did.) Congrats on your new baby :)

    • It’s actually a new law, they do have to supply one, just may not be electric. Worth the money to buy electric though if they don’t provide that.

  23. As a mom of 3, I can definitely say that your advice is excellent! We started using a sound machine when our first was a baby and it has been an absolute life saver and one of my top recommendations for baby must-haves! We tried swaddling, but honestly, all 3 of our babies hated it. They like being wrapped, just loosely and so that is what we did and once I discovered Aden + Anais blankets, they have been all that I have used!
    Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom recently posted…Our $200/mo. Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved This Week (5/24-5/30)My Profile

  24. All of this is great! The only thing I would add is that it takes TIME and TRIAL AND ERROR to figure out how to make your baby sleep sometimes. I tried everything and it took me almost three weeks to get him to sleep at night. It turns out he a stomach sleeper and he screams if he’s swaddled. So I guess all I’m trying to say is don’t give up! All babies are different and moms need to know there’s no black and white. I really enjoyed reading this. I think I’m going to try the white noise!

  25. Tricare does not cover breast pumps. They will in certain situations cover them if you have a preemie that meets certain criteria and your doctor can find a medical necessary justification that meets their needs. Ridiculous right?

    • Laura Beth says:

      Lynn, that is so disappointing! I’ve been told that under the new Obamacare every insurance must cover a pump (it may be a manual but they must cover some type of pump…)

    • Lynn, You should look into how they need to be covered for the new Obama care laws, because I’m not sure what level they need but they do have to be covered! Happy hunting.

    • They do now! Check on the website, they just had an article on it and they will back day payment and supplies. Only catch is that you have to have a prescription for it.

  26. I shared this post on my blog at http://www.pinterestaddicted.com/top-10-must-reads-new-moms/ Thanks for the post!! It was a great read!

  27. Thank you for a great post and being honest! Sometime it’s so easy to feel like a bad mom. As a mom of a 2 month old, it’s so helpful to hear another opinion and know we are all figuring it out. I also have found the baby k’tan to be priceless! Thanks again for a great post!

    • Laura Beth says:

      Oh yes, LOVE the K’tan! Will definitely be using it again for baby #2! You are doing a great job…those first few months are the hardest I think, but know you are almost over the hump and we are ALL in this together!

  28. How did you get your baby to sleep 10 hrs through the night? Mine is breastfed and the most she will go is 3-4hrs. I’m not for letting her cry because I know she is hungry. I do feed her often before bed (every hour or so for a couple hours) to get her belly full.

    • Nancy,

      Try a dream feed. You go in and slip a bottle nipple into their mouths. They will reflexively suck and swallow. Don’t pick them up or jostle them, just let them drink. Try this about 2 1/2 hours after they have fallen asleep, should give you another long stretch before they wake up. I usually put my baby down around 6:30, dream feet around 10ish, and they will sleep until 2 to 4 if I am lucky.

    • How old is your LO? I think at any age below one, he or she is fine and normal. Just do what you’re doing of feeding your baby on demand and ignore the comment above that they can go all night. Sheesh

    • Laura Beth says:

      Chickadee started sleeping around 10 hours at night at about 3-4 months old. I know that all babies aren’t ready for sleeping that long, that early, but she was gaining weight & so I decided to let her sleep. I was fortunate we never had to let her cry to push her sleep. I have read that you can try pushing nighttime feedings 15 minutes ever few days to help their tummies make it through the night.

  29. Very interesting ! However I would like to know how do you transition your baby from sleeping in a bassinet by your bed the first six weeks, into sleeping into his own crib? Any advice would be wonderful☺

    • Laura Beth says:

      Sorry I am just now getting back to you! Life has been crazy at Christmas :) This is by no means the only way, but what we did with Chickadee was start by having her nap in her crib so she was able to get used to the new room. We kept thinks consistent like swaddling and white noise. After a few weeks we transitioned to sleeping at night in her room as well and she made the transition smoothly! Good luck!

  30. Thank you so much for this! I am 32w pregnant and feeling a little lost about what is to come! I feel better having read this and having some sort of guide to follow!

  31. Anastasia says:

    Great info! Love how you explained “putting the baby to sleep.” I have been doing this ever since I read your post & I feel confident that she is going to be sleeping better and longer through the night.
    I do have a question, do you know how long one should swaddle? Baby girl is almost 7 weeks and I still swaddle her & it is a life saver! But how long can you actually swaddle them?

    • Laura Beth says:

      I am glad she is sleeping better & hope the hours continue to increase!! I am not a doctor, but we swaddled Chickadee until about 4 months…research says lots of different things so I suggest asking your pediatrician.

  32. In the sea of new mom advice – this list actually satisfies! Great tips. I was fist-pumping #1, 3, & 8. #8 in particular surprised me. Breastfeeding is like discovering you own a high end home appliance that didn’t come with an instruction manual. It took me about 6 weeks, some sore nips, two bouts of mastitis and an ongoing yeast infection to figure out what works for me and my nursling…which isn’t anything I read about. It’s an art not a science, I suppose. High fives for a great post!

  33. What a great post. I wish I’d read it sometime in June. My baby is 4.5 months now, and she sleeps through the night with the help of one of those little heartbeat bears (our version of white noise machine). You can turn that sucker up pretty loudly and it drowns out a bit of what’s going on downstairs.

    Anyway! This is such a wonderful list of things. The best part about it is solidarity: you’re not the only one with a baby who can’t sleep, or who wants to eat constantly. You’re not the only one changing a blow-out in the middle of the night. You’re not the only one crying in your bed, googling “when does a baby go longer than an hour and a half between feedings?” The big thing I would add (sorry for the long comment, I have so many feelings!): GUILT IS A WASTED EMOTION. The first week I was home by myself, my husband came home from work one day to find me shirtless and bawling over my crying baby. I had SUCH a hard time with nursing, and it wasn’t that it was painful, it was that the baby just wouldn’t drink (flat nipples, yadda yadda). Anyway, I was crying and crying because I felt so guilty, like I had let her down, that I was doing it all wrong, that I was the worst mother in the world, that my baby was slowly dying of hunger, that I had failed at the one thing I really thought every mother could do if they just put their mind to it… Ladies, DO NOT HAVE THESE THOUGHTS. You won’t be able to help it, but try, TRY not to waste your tears on that stuff. Pour all your efforts and emotions into loving that baby with every ounce of your being, and if that means pumping exclusively, or supplementing with formula, or having your husband take the baby for an hour while you go get a coffee and read a book down the street, don’t even worry about it. It is all good. You’re a good mother. You’re doing the right thing. Only you know what’s right for you and your family. If mum’s happy, everyone’s happy!
    Courtney recently posted…no-sew tee-shirt craft. also, we had a baby.My Profile

  34. My mom always said that once they hit three months it is the end of the “4th trimester” and everything will be easier… She just kept saying, “just wait till u get to that magic milestone…” And she said when you do plan a special date to celebrate because u made it… She was absolutely right! … And I celebrated :)

    • Laura Beth says:

      I have heard that before too Mandi & love it! Couldn’t agree more with making it through the first three months!

  35. What a revelation! Babies need to be made to nap…I hadn’t grasped that AT ALL. Bean is 3 and a half weeks and until last week was pretty much a sleeping, feeding, pooping machine, then 10 days ago the world became enticing and she wouldn’t shut her eyes and nap on her own and has cried out every time I’ve tried to put her down, so much so she was giving herself hiccups, which lead to vomiting, which meant she was hungry, which meant I nursed again…almost constantly!
    Reading this blog (during a feeding session) I watched the swaddling video and downloaded a whitenoise app…she’s now been asleep, for her first proper nap, for the last 2 hours! I’ve had a shower and a nap myself! Thank you!!

    • Laura Beth says:

      That is amazing Katy! Thousands of moms just like you and me are the reasons I wrote this post…somethings we just don’t know, but when they click or we discover a way to help our little ones, it is incredible. I hope she has continued to nap like a champ!

    • My daughter is now 4 weeks old and I realized this week that she isn’t sleeping as much during the day as she has been. I kept thinking to myself, “she just ate! She can’t still be hungry!” Then I thought of my older daughter. When she is fussy and throwing a fit, its usually because she’s tired. We don’t have one yet, but we will be getting a swing soon so I can put her down! :-)

  36. Wow! What a great list! The white noise was a real saver for us too! Ive been a pumping mom since my baby turned 3 mths. So yes, I too swear by the breast pumps. I liked avent pump though!
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  37. Is it weird to say I love you a little bit right now? It was SO good to read through that post – my kitten is six weeks old now and I have experienced every last thing on your list – right down to the “super alert” baby. Thank you!
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  38. Love this list because its very realistic. I have two kids and my experience with my first was similar. I think one thing I would add is to go on walks either outside or at a local mall if the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor walk. My son would cry with colic-gas pains and always stopped the moment I walked outside. By his 4th month we were walking nearly every day and it really kept him calm and also was something consistent in his life outside of nursing and pooping ALL OVER. :) Plus its GREAT for you as the mom to get out and get a new perspective and VIEW other than the stacking dishes and piling laundry. :)

  39. You could not have said this more perfectly, it’s like you spoke every helpful thought I had after getting through those first months!

  40. So true. Wish there had been such a thing as blogs back 38 years ago when I had my first. All I can add is right on and it does get easier. Be gentle with yourself for the first three months and things will start looking up. My youngest son’s wife is expecting our 14th grandchild and it is so exciting to be on this end of the equation. Love love love those tiny little people.

  41. In terms of shopping for clothing, I say go for it. I didn’t receive any dresses small enough to fit my wee one as a newborn… The dresses I got were for when she was older. But my little girl was only going to be 6 pounds once and never again, so I didn’t splurge… but I did find sales at Carter’s, Target, Old Navy, and had a rough limit of $5 – 7 per dress with only 3-ish dresses per growth stage. One ulterior motive to putting her in dresses? Sooooo easy to change diapers!!! (No, I did not put the cute little undies over her diapers. Babies pee sooooo much that would have been ludicrous.) And, yes, sometimes she stayed in that dress for a straight three days. (If it wasn’t dirty. Mine didn’t spit up much until about 5 months old.) And sometimes I stayed in my travel dress (great for nursing, sleeping, shopping, dinner with friends!) for 3 days in a row, too!!!

  42. This is a great post! It made me smile and laugh, and I couldn’t agree more with all 12ish points. Our daughter is 2 and we just welcomed our little boy almost 2 weeks ago. While it’s still tough to adjust to a newborn, learning all the points “the hard way” the first time around has definitely helped us with our new little one :)

    • Laura Beth says:

      Congrats on your second little one. I am so glad we are on the same page! I’m hoping remembering these points will help next time around!

  43. Gramma here, and I loved this! Pinning it so my daughter who is expecting in October can read it. The things you don’t think of but are all very true…you’ve nailed them. Thanks

    • Laura Beth says:

      I’m so glad you this it will be helpful! Our baby girl was born in October too :o) Great month to have a baby…congrats to your daughter and you on the soon arrival of your little blessing!

  44. It is a common misconception that insurance companies are required to cover breast pumps. Many companies are considered “grandfathered” and did not have to make all of the healthcare reform changes. Some have choosen to exclude breast pumps. Check with your insurance provider to be sure.

  45. White Noise, I’ll have to try that! Our foster baby gets cranky and because he hates being put down, I invested in a sling. He loves it and I love it. Multitasking at its finest!

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  46. Thank you so much for this post! I am due in about 3 weeks and a little nervous about what to expect being a first time mom. These are great tips for my husband and I, we will definitely be referring back to this post often. :-)
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    • Laura Beth says:

      You are welcome! Congrats on your bundle of joy….the first few weeks are tough but worth every second!

  47. angeliqie says:

    I wish I’d read this before my daughter was born! I can relate to so much of this! We’re working on a second and the thought of going through the sleepthing again terrifies me (fdaughter still doesn’t initially fall asleep on her own). And I’m not sure I can avoid the same “mistakes” the second time. Come live with us??? Jk of course. But great post and helpful as always!

    • Laura Beth says:

      I am hoping round two is a little better, although I know all children are different. Good luck on #2 :o)

  48. Nice list and great ideas. With your first baby sometimes you feel like you are in survival mode. It does get easier and you are right about paying attention to their sleep patterns. I didn’t swaddle my kids though or use white noise. My first was a very fussy baby and I wasn’t sure I wanted any more after him, but now I am having number four in a couple weeks. We did all kinds of things to try and keep him calm and nothing seemed to really work, he eventually grew out of it. With my other kiddos I tried to get them used to our home environment and the noise and schedule of our home, which actually was fairly easy to do, I think they were really used to it already from the hearing and feeling things quiet and slow down. I was able to get them on the same nap schedules, although the baby always slept more or took more naps, but the toddler took a nap in the afternoon at the same time as my baby. It sure does get easier though, at least it has for me.

    • Laura Beth says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I know different things work for different kids. I hope it does get easier like you say. I’m sure I’ll think I’ve figured it out with the first one and the second will be soooo different!

  49. Thanks for this! I’m expecting my first… TWO and this helps to calm some nerves. =)

    • Laura Beth says:

      I’m so glad you found it helpful & calming! Congrats on your little one (ones? do you mean TWO as in twins!!), hopefully you will be able to use these tips with they arrive :o)

  50. LizBailey says:

    don’t forget skin to skin is very important it helps ur milk to come in

  51. Marilyn says:

    Great article!! Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’d like to add that the $180 I spent to see a lactation consultant was the best money I ever spent. My son would not latch and I did not produce milk until Day 6. Now, he is 10 weeks old and although I still nurse with a ‘nipple shield,’ he’s finally on 100% breast milk now!! :-)

  52. That is a very helpful list for first time moms! I would suggest eliminating the white noise. Studies have recently come out saying how hard it is on babies’ ears. Secondly, they become so dependent on it that they won’t sleep without it. That sounds fine and until you’re in the car on a road trip, or in a hotel, or visiting family out of town, etc.
    the same thing applies to the swaddling. It’s great in theory until the baby wakes up all night long when they become un- swaddled. Or when they are too big to be swaddled and won’t go to sleep with out it. All they really are is just a different form of a pacifier.

  53. Another thing to consider – baby wearing! Then you won’t need to worry about baby being upset in their carseat! And no one will be able to come up and try to touch baby!!! :) Great tips, I’m on #3 and am still terrified!!!

  54. For those who will be breastfeeding (or trying it….b/c let’s face it, you don’t know if you will be able to until you do) I would say GET THAT PUMP READY. There is no worse feeling than having your milk come in all at once, being engorged beyond belief, and then fiddling with those darn wires and bottles. Read the directions and practice before hand and then keep everything together and ready to just be turned on when the time comes. Wish someone had told ME that.

  55. My little guy just turned 1 month, and he is my first. Thankfully, he sleeps great, during the day. :) he gets up usually twice at night. Unless he is too sleepy to nurse and get a full belly, no matter how much I try to wake him. I swaddle him at bed time. He fights it a little bit bit sleeps better if he is swaddled. If he isn’t, he will be fidgety all night and wake himself up since he still does the fidgety newborn thing right now. We introduced a bottle on day 3. I felt very guilty, but have him a similac sample we had that helped with gas. He was so fussy and wouldn’t let me feed him. And since I had contractions for 3 days, in labor for 25 hours, pushed for 3 hours, and was a new mom… I literally got about 1 hour of sleep while in the hospital. So I was too exhausted to fight with him to eat. It was worth giving him that bottle though. I have been nursing and pumping since too, and given him pacifiers (when he takes it, which is rare), and it hasnt effected nursing. We got him gripe water too. That helped with his gassiness a lot, which the pediatrician said was most likely from introducing milk to him when he’s used to getting nourishment from me inside the womb. Also, I couldn’t believe how dry and cracky his skin got. But it’s normal! And I don’t know if it’s just my son who poops almost instantly when he starts to eat! Ha ha! But he sure doesn’t go days without pooping. At least not as of now. Ha ha! I want to put it out there too, check for strings in babies clothes and socks. My sisters soon got string wrapped around his toe twice! It cut off circulation really bad. Its something I always check! Great post!

  56. What a great list! I especially agree about the napping…babies need a great deal of sleep and are only awake for about an hour during feeding time. As a mother of 3 and grandmother of 9, I can offer this…if you baby is screaming crying and you have no idea what is wrong,~ you’ve tried feeding, changed diaper etc. Take all of his clothes off and wrap in a soft towel and hold him. Something about being naked calms them almost immediately. Unless it’s colic, then hold them, try to soothe them as best you can…colic ends almost to the day they turn 3 months….it will get better. My daughter had colic and I held her for the first 3 months of her life…it did not spoil her and she was on a schedule almost immediately after 3 months. Babies need to be held. So don’t worry about spoiling a baby that tiny….great post!
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    • Laura Beth says:

      Thanks for adding to the tips. Our little one loved skin to skin too when she was fussy! Great advice.

  57. Wow! What and awesome read! Im having my 5th baby and i usually read stuff like this and roll my eyes, alot of it is usually so untrue, but this is amazingly spot on. Awesome tips and advice ive just sent it to my sister inlaw to read as shes expecting her first baby! :) xx

    • Laura Beth says:

      Thanks! I really wanted to share honest advice to help new moms. Congrats on your 5th bundle of joy :o)

  58. I would add to take some time to enjoy your baby. It seemed the moment my little guy fell asleep I would have to put him down so I could play with his big brother, or do laundry, or shower, or whatever. Those moments when you get to just stare into his eyes, or watch his little eyelashes as he sleeps, or nuzzle him into the crook of your neck and just breathe him in are so important. They help strengthen the bond, and remind me of how precious it all is.

    • Laura Beth says:

      I couldn’t agree more!! I sometimes find myself wishing for the next stage, but then remember she will only be like she is for a short time & I need to soak it in!

  59. One thing I would like to say asking with all the breastfeeding posts is that if for some reason breastfeeding does not work for you and your baby, it will be OK!! My baby was 5 weeks early and spent 17 days in the NICU she was nursing fine for a while then one day she just was not eating enough (I was producing enough she just could not get it) it was really hard for me to stop, but it was either always feed her with a bottle or let her starve. I am defiantly an advocate for breastfeeding but sometimes it just does not work, so remember not being able to breastfeed does not make you a bad mom.

    • Thank you for adding that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone! I have 4 kids and have tried to breastfeed all of them, but have never produced milk. I end up an emotional wreck and my babies end up sick and literally starving. Despite my best efforts (and the efforts of lactation help), we have always had to turn to bottles and formula. I am surprised at how many mothers criticize and judge me for this. It has always left me with so much guilt! So mama’s who are blessed with the ability to nurse, be grateful for that wonderful opportuniy. And mama’s who bottle feed, know that babies who are raised on formula grow up to be happy, healthy, successful adults too!

      • Jennifer says:

        I totally agree. Not everyone can breastfeed. That is OK! My 5 year old is adopted. We had 16 hours notice before we became first time parents to a new born. She was formula fed & is perfect. We now have a 7 month old foster baby also being formula fed & also perfect.

        My 2 cents to add to the list. Don’t forget you are also a wife. Don’t forget that fabulous man that you married. Make time for him, make time to talk to laugh to cry just make time. He will appreciate it & you will be reminded how awesome he is!

  60. Exclusively breastfed babies do not always poop everyday. Both of mine would wait for 2 or 3 days and then a blowout would occur. The doctors say it is only worrisome if it is more than one week. And it will regulate better around 4 months of age. But I learned to expect a blowout around day 3. White noise is amazing! However, my little boy will not fall asleep to it, just quiet down until I am done. He also cries when its time for a nap, but fights it until I find the perfect position for him. He hates being swaddled. Absolutely hates it. Our doctor suggested a heavy blanket or PJs and to keep his arms out. I suggested it may be because I hate my arms contained so I thought they might as well. She thought there may be something to that. My first child hated being swaddled too. They are great when their arms are out.

    Like you said every baby is different. Every breastfeeding experience is different. For some reason my nipples are becoming sensitive again and we are on week 9. My doctor and I think it may be his latch. He latches on great, but he may just be stronger. Either way, nipple butter is great! And goes on easier than lanolin.

    So the only thing I add is not to expect poop everyday. Some do, some do not.

    • Also, growth spurts. They throw you off! I’ve just figured out my little boy will stay awake most the day regardless of how we try to get him to nap when he’s growing. He’ll fall asleep and wake up again shortly after,not always to eat. When he’s done with his growth spurt, he’ll go back to normal sleep patterns.

  61. I had my little guy in early January and WISH I had seen this list of tips before, especially tip #2 (put the baby down for naps). We did utilize white noise and swaddling, and it has been a lifesaver. I will add that we added the bottle very early (about a week after he was born) and it was helpful to be able to have my husband stay up late and give a late bottle so I could get at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sometimes we “chunked it up” with formula added to the breast milk if we thought he was more hungry that day.
    One additional tip is that your baby is an individual. Our little guy was fussy right up until 10 weeks, and sometimes I just needed a break. I got friends to come watch him for an hour (NOT while he was napping, that was my down time) so I could go to the gym or go shopping or just get out of the house. My best friend is a pediatrician, and I called her one day and said “he won’t stop crying.” She said I could leave him in the crib for a while (not hours, but if I was at the end of my rope I could at least take a relaxing hot shower and dry my hair) and it was not going to disrupt my bonding and he wouldn’t remember it. I only had to do that once or twice, and it made me feel refreshed and ready to attend to the baby once more. He is 11 weeks now and finally like a different baby- lots of smiles and easier to read. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do- remember that!

  62. So funny to see this Mom’s on call video! We actually hired Laura (the founder of MOC) and she came and did a session with us when my son was 3 months! Her sleeping tricks were a saving grace and after 3 days had our baby boy sleeping through the night! Totally agree with everything here!
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  63. Love this list. I am having twins this fall. But have taken care of infants before…. totally found myself on fb talking to another friend during a 3am feeding one time. Its amazing how much better you feel when you are talking to someone in the same situation. :)
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  64. Samantha says:

    Something important to be aware of… SickKids hospital recently did a study on infant sleep machines and found that almost all of them produces volumes and frequencies far too high for infants. You mentioned turning it up to about 65 on a decibel reader, but according to research that’s far too high. Infants should only be exposed to a maximum of 50 decibels and only ever for one hour at a time. These machines, used I’m excess of that, can damage babies’ ears and impair hearing and language development. This is a great article but please be careful about advising parents to turn sound machines up ‘LOUD.’

    Here is am article from Sick Kids about the research they have done. http://www.sickkids.ca/AboutSickKids/Newsroom/Past-News/2014/nfant-sleep-machines.html

  65. Lanolin is your best friend!

    Also, if you are nursing, don’t use pacifiers or bottles those first six to eight weeks. Nipple confusion is hedoublehockeysticks! It may seem frustratin, but honestly you’ll be thankful you didn’t use a pacifier. It was so freeing to not have one!

    • melinda says:

      Ha- that’s what the nurses told me when I had my first two babies- “Do NOT give a pacifier or bottle! Nipple confusion!”. I ignored this advice and listened to my common sense and multiple girlfriends who assured me it was fine. With my third, they’d just completed a study of infants at OHSU and found pacifier use actually HELPS babies nurse better. Go figure. I’ve also given them all bottles at least once a wk with no problems. So… Ask around. Trust yourself and other moms before the “studies show” folks, who change their opinion every year!

  66. I love the line there are MANY right ways to do things!!! My motto is that if it works for your family it it Your “RIGHT” way! Moms remember you know your LO best!!

  67. Google is not your friend. Any time the baby coughs or waits a little longer to poop…don’t Google it, you will convince yourself that your baby has the plague and is going to die. If you’re concerned about something, follow that instinct, but ask either your pediatrician or a more experienced (especially recently experienced) mom. I like #5 about not comparing yourself or your baby to others; you and your baby were designed by God and He makes us all a little different! Seek out advice from others, but use your judgement about what will/won’t work for you, and don’t despair if what worked flawlessly for one mom is disastrous for you. Just try something different, have a cup of Mother’s Milk tea and a lactation cookie, and kiss that darling little head.

  68. For a while I would leak so badly at night that I would wake up with my whole torso soaked in milk. I leaked through nursing pads, nursing bra, and pajamas. I was exhausted and just wanted to go back to sleep, but I found that if I took the time to change out of all my soggy clothes I felt so much better and can go to sleep so much easier. I have a really hard time falling asleep again after my baby wakes me in the night, so any tiny little thing that might help is a big thing if you know what I mean.

  69. I don’t have a baby, unless my puppy counts and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t! But my mother told me a few tips recently while discussing some other new additions to the family. She said she learned to set her alarm to wake up and nurse me before I had a chance to cry and feel hungry. She would set it for every 2-3 hrs that way she could control her waking up and put me in a schedule. Not sure if any mothers know this or if it’s a good tip but my mom said it was great for her.

  70. And multiply everything by 2 with twins! Exhausting but worth it!

  71. Very good advice! The only thing I can think to add is: Any first time mom who plans to breastfeed- Buy a nipple shield! I was at the point that I was going to cry the next time I nursed my newborn son. A couple of weeks ago both of my nipples were so horribly blistered, scabbed and cracked due to his inability to stay latched that I dreaded every time he would cry to eat. I bought a silicon nipple shield made by NUK at Walmart and it has saved me from so much pain and discomfort. It has actually helped him learn to latch on better and gave my nipples the protection they needed to heal finally after 2 weeks of destruction. I am really glad I decided to try using this miraculous invention!

    • Samantha says:

      Yes!! A nipple shield saved my sanity, and saved my energy-lacking, jaundiced baby from having to switch to formula. What no one told ME in advance, though, is that using it can drastically decrease your milk supply. Just something for people to be aware of. Definitely use one if you need it, but only for as long as it’s really needed. And be conscious of your milk supply in the process :)

  72. This is great!! Thank you!!

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  73. Can’t wait to put these in practice!
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  74. Loved this! The one thing I’ve learned recently, like in the last two days, is to just put the baby down! Just put him down! He’ll be OK! You do not need to hold him 24/7 to the point of driving you insane! It’s been quite a revelation for me. :)
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  75. Great list! And good reminders for this second time mom-to-be!:) Thanks
    Alyssa

  76. Such great hints! I totally found myself nodding my head to “sleep like a daddy,” ask for help, and keep water nearby when nursing.
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  77. hahahaha sleep like a daddy, i seriously laughed out loud on the truth there! :)
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  78. I love this list. Sometimes posts like this can get a little judgmental and “my way or the highway” but not this one! :) Our baby is due the beginning of April and I’m trying to find good nursing bras. Any suggestions? I bought two on Zulily that pull off the shoulder instead of unclasping but I’d like a few unclasping also. I love see your sweet girl on Instagram!! :)
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    • Go to Nordstrom and get fitted for a nursing bra. I have 3 kids and have tried different stores with each baby, but I keep coming back to Nordstrom (I actually hate the ones I have bought at maternity stores!). Getting fitted by a pro is crucial – they’ll know how to estimate what you’ll need after your baby arrives. You’ll love it!

      • I completely agree! Nordstrom will also turn any bra into a nursing bra in Alterations for around $16. Worth. Every. Penny.

    • Motherhood maternity has a bunch of different styles and they are actually cute!

    • I would suggest waiting to get properly fitted for a bra until after the first few weeks when your milk is established because you are going to change sizes after baby is born and your milk comes in. I like to use a stretchy sleep/sport bra until then, something that supports but has enough give for expanding breasts

  79. Awesome tips girl!!!
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