Advice for new moms is about more than diapers, feeding, burping, and postpartum hormones. These tips will change your mom life!
I have had 3 doctors and lots of midwives take care of me and deliver my babies.
5 babies in 5 years is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it was not even our plan. No siree.
Let me just say, there was crying weeping and gnashing of teeth on the floor of Walgreens one shocking Sunday morning. But let’s move past that.
It resulted in a squishy bundle of joy we all love.
With each new baby I was more and more confident. Confident I could meet their needs before they needed to cry. Keep scrolling and I’ll tell you how to do that as well.
Confident I could handle this motherhood gig.
With my personal experience, years of training to become a parent coach, and endless hours spent studying to become a certified infant and child sleep consultant, I can tell you one thing.
Being a new mom can overwhelm you, but it doesn’t have to.
Advice every new mom needs to hear
After 5 kids in 5 years and some hard knocks, I have got some wisdom to share with you. We’ve lived on 3 continents and seen countless doctors and midwives… and no one told me this stuff.
Routines (rhythms, schedules, etc.) are your friend
There is an abundance of evidence showing how routines make life with a baby more settled, peaceful, and manageable. I wish pediatricians gave this advice for new moms, but alas, if they do not I still will!
You don’t have a rigid routine you can’t manage, but something predictable will help you to take care of baby, yourself, and all your other adult responsibilities without sacrificing your mental health.
- Newborn sleep schedule
- Newborn sample routine
- 3 to 6 month routines
- 6 to 9 month routines
- 9 to 12 month routines
- 1 year old schedules
- 2 year old schedules
Skip “avoidable habits” that are hard to break and make you pay later
My uncle likes to talk about “avoidable risk” a lot in conversation.
Why do something that is kinda risky when you can do something that isn’t? Indeed.
Risky, for the purposes of this conversation, meaning habits that create strong and difficult to break sleep associations preventing baby from getting deep restorative sleep.
You can learn to settle baby to sleep, help them go back to sleep after night feeds, and avoid fussy witching hours without getting into habits that are very time consuming (e.g. rocking for 30 minutes every nap).
- How to get a baby to sleep later
- 28 things to try if baby won’t sleep
- The surprising reason baby fights sleep
Give your baby’s feeding habits some thought
If you prefer to demand feed your newborn, still be sure your baby is taking full feeds, not feeding every 20 minutes.
New moms often fall into the habit of feeding every time baby makes a noise, and this can be counter productive.
- This prevents you from viewing your child’s cries as communications you need to interpret, not shut up with a teat.
- And, if you’re nursing, it prevents baby from getting the nutrient rich hind milk needed for development and sleep. In addition, it gives baby an overabundance of the fore milk which leads to more upset tummies and irritability.
In my infant and child sleep certification we spent countless hours going over all the research behind babies and sleep… and while proper feeding habits don’t make a baby sleep, lack of consistency in feeding DOES create sleep issues.
Signs you need to watch for (in yourself)
When you dive right into parenting as a new mom it’s easy to get lost in the day to day responsibilities. If you happen to survive the newborn period well, then you enter into a season of more predictability but different struggles.
If your baby doesn’t seem to sleep well or you are experiencing some depression, it can be disconcerting. There is sacrificial love involved with having little ones, but it’s important to keep an eye on your own emotional and mental health.
- Are you crying a lot? More than just being a tad weepy and more than just a week or two?
- Have you stopped doing basic hygienic habits? Showering, brushing hair, shaving, nails, etc. If you don’t care, no worries! If it weighs you down, take note.
- Are you feeling loneliness, anxiety, or worry to the point it is disrupting your life?
- Is the desire to escape super strong during most of the day?
If any or all of the above are affecting you, reach out to a friend. Reach out to your pastor, counselor, or spouse. Journal and keep an eye on yourself.
Signs to watch for with baby that signal need for change
A mother’s instinct is strong.
It helps signal to us something is off or that we need to go in a new direction. Remember, the issue with intuition is often that it signals something is amiss, but doesn’t necessarily tell us what that is.
So use your own instincts paired with these signs, to know if you need to make some changes to your daily routine and feeding habits.
One piece of advice for new moms that’s lacking is this idea: don’t just shove your baby on the breast at the first sign of discomfort.
Instead, act like an investigator.
- Baby is whiny a lot.
- It takes 20+ minutes to put your baby to sleep and then, when you try to put baby in the crib or walk away, he wakes right up and you have to start over.
- Frequent night wakings above what’s necessary. After 3 months, there’s no need for more than a dream feed and, max, 2 night feeds before morning.
- Inconsistent feeding habits. If baby frequently falls asleep while nursing, refuses some feedings, and seems to always want to nurse then never carry through with it. These are signs a consistent routine will settle things.
- Baby won’t sleep. Sleep is as much of a need as food. When baby won’t sleep they become extremely irritable, they wake frequently, they sleep shorter intervals, and wake early. A baby who won’t sleep is a recipe for a frazzled mom.
Follow your resentment
One of the most common – and destructive – behaviors modern moms engage in is burying their resentment then berating themselves for being resentful.
A better practice?
Letting your resentment be a red flag. When do you feel resentful and bitter? Why? Realize that you can – and should! – make changes to alleviate that. Honestly, if you aren’t emotionally okay, then your family suffers.
If you are exhausted, teach baby how to sleep. If your house is overflowing with toys, throw some away. Also, if money doesn’t seem to stretch to the bills, get rid of bills that aren’t debts or utilities/rent.
My biggest piece of advice for new moms?
You can organize your life in a way that brings you and your loved ones life.
Need sample routines for babies 6 weeks to 5 years?
By now, you know how to handle the newborn days, but what after? The good news is this: you’ve set your baby up for a foundation of success.
Now all you need to do is continue to find routines that work for you and your baby as they grow up and begin getting bigger and bigger. Sob. After having had 5 babies with 5 different personalities, I know a thing or two about finding a good schedule.
This is why I’ve created a book of sample routines and schedules for babies ages 6 weeks up to 5 years.
The book includes information on how long to let baby stay awake, how much play time is good for each age, what to do with baby when baby is awake but not quite mobile, and even how to manage toddler and baby joint routines.
Chapters covered in Rhythms, Routines & Schedules include:
Section One: Sample Schedules
- 6 Weeks to 3 Months Old
- 3-6 Months Old
- 7-9 Months Old
- 9-12 Months Old
- 12-18 Months Old
- 2-3 Years Old
- 4-5 Years Old
Section Two: Tips and Tricks
- Tips for Managing the Day With Multiple Children
- Daily Rhythms for an Only Child Ages 1-4 Years Old
- Daily Rhythms for Multiple Small Children Ages 0-5
- Sample Bedtime, Mealtime, and Playtime Routines
- Tips for Keeping Kids Busy Throughout the Day
For more sample routines, mom tested and approved schedules for babies ages 6 weeks and up, check out Rhythms, Routines & Schedules right now.
Tell her that the days are really really long right now, but they will get better. Remind her she can ask for help for her problems. Tell her you’ll come over with a meal and take care of baby so she can shower. My biggest advice for new moms… be kind to yourself.
Very little, honestly. Diapers, onesies, a swaddle, a pacifier, a car seat, and somewhere for baby to sleep. After that, the rest is all extras.
Typically, if you are in a sedan, you’ll want to put baby in the back in the middle. If you are in a minivan and have to choose a side, you may want to choose the passenger side simply so you can keep an eye on baby at traffic stops, etc.
If you are stressed, overwhelmed, or drained… you aren’t alone.
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