This post about what first-time moms should know is sponsored by Dreft, the smell of babyhood. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog 🙂
When you have a baby for the first time, there is so much advice thrown your way and a million different ways to be a mom. It can be completely and totally overwhelming, but now that my 3rd baby is not an infant anymore (we’re right on the brink of toddlerhood – cue all the tears), I’ve had some time to reflect on what it means to have a baby and what I wish I would’ve believed when I had my first daughter almost six years ago.
Here’s a letter to myself as a first-time mom & what all first-time moms should know:
Dear First-Time Mom Val,
I know you’re tired. You’re recovering, you’re exhausted, this new role is completely foreign. You’ve never loved anything or anyone quite like this and it feels like your heart may actually explode with pure gratitude and adoration of your new tiny baby. Here’s what I want you to do…
Take snapshots in your mind. This may sound so silly, but on my wedding day, someone told me to literally stop what I was doing and soak in the moment and to try to create a snapshot, literally like a mental picture, of that moment. I try to apply the same thing to my kids’ lives. Take an actual photo when you can, but sometimes committing a moment to memory is even better.
Savor the scents of babyhood. The sweet newborn smell. The baby milk breath. You’ll never forget it. One way to hold on to that baby scent is by using Dreft baby detergent. A new Dreft survey showed it can actually help parents bond with their baby. Washing baby clothes in Dreft is an easy way to hold on to the one-of-a-kind smell of babyhood; a recent study found that 94% of parents say that the scent of Dreft reminds them of baby and that when they’re apart from baby, 87% of parents agree that Dreft helps them feel more connected and closer to their little ones. Honestly, we weren’t using Dreft when Emmy was born but switched to hold on to the smell of babyhood a little longer. Even though scented products for babies have gotten a bad reputation, Dreft is a hypoallergenic detergent, the #1 Dermatologist Recommended for baby clothes AND it’s also the #1 pediatrician-recommended baby detergent. We’ve been using Dreft purtouch, which is a 65% plant-based baby detergent formula that cleans gently, yet effectively by removing up to 99% of baby stains.
It’s ok to say yes. And no. If someone offers to bring a meal, say yes. If they ask to load the dishwasher, say yes. If someone wants to help you, let them help. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom; it does mean you’re a smart mom. But if you’re exhausted and someone wants to come visit but it’s the only chance you’ll get to nap, say no. Just honor yourself and set boundaries that work for you and your family. If people don’t understand, they’ll get over it.
Savor the late night sessions.Sometimes I was absolutely exhausted and hated being up in the middle of the night for a feeding. But every so often I was able to actually *enjoy* that time. Snuggling a baby in the middle of the night, along with thousands of other moms up doing the same thing… what an amazing club to be a part of. So look at that baby’s little face lit up by the moonlight (or your smartphone, let’s be real) and soak it all in.
Truly enjoy those first weeks at home with one baby. There will never be another time to *just* focus on one babe. Someday, if you have another, your time is divided. No doubt that having one new baby is overwhelming but someday, you won’t be able to nap when the baby naps, or solely focus on one babe. You’ll have that new baby out of the house and out running errands on the way home from the hospital… not that I’ve been there ;).
Don’t rush the milestones. Yes, the next stage is fun, but this squishy baby stage never returns. Enjoy the immobile, happy-staring-at-the-ceiling-fan stage of infancy. In just a few months, that baby won’t be in the same spot you left her while you run to the bathroom.
Know that this overwhelmed feeling does pass. Every day, you and your baby get to know each other a little bit better. You’ll feel more confident leaving the house, your postpartum hormones will calm down, you won’t cry all.the.time. You figure it out, gain confidence in your decisions, you develop a routine. And you will develop techniques to rock motherhood; use the scent of babyhood to feel connected to your baby when you’re apart, savor the sweet moments and scents, and soak it all in.
You got this, momma. Buckle up, it’s going to be an awesome ride.
Third-Time Mom Val
PS – you’ll have two more kids in four years so sleep now, sucker! 😉
What do you wish you’d known as a first-time mom? Tell me what first-time moms should know!
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