Becoming a mom is one of the most exciting times of a woman’s life. But we’d be lying if we said it didn’t come with some feelings of nervousness. This is completely normal, but sometimes you just need some realistic advice from other moms who have been in your shoes and know exactly what made their journey as a new mom a little easier.
So we asked you — the Serenity Kids community — for your best advice and gifts for a new mom. Here is a round-up of your feedback.
Advice for new moms from real moms
1. Sleep when you can
This is one of the most common pieces of advice given to new moms. But let's be honest — we all know it can be hard to sleep when it feels like the dirty bottles, dishes, and laundry are piling up around you. Not to mention, putting down a snuggly sleeping baby is hard.
However, according to studies, sleep plays a vital role in helping your body heal from delivery and may reduce your risk for postpartum depression. It will also help improve your overall mood, patience, and your ability to actually soak in and enjoy these early days with your new baby.
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Remember that you don’t have to nap every time your baby is sleeping, although nobody would blame you if you did. You can find a balance between holding your baby when they sleep, taking a nap yourself, and catching up on chores. Just find what works best for you and your family.
Learn more about breastfeeding and how it affects your energy levels in our article "Does Breastfeeding Make You Tired? Tips to Keep Your Energy Up".
2. Shower when baby is awake
Showering when the baby is asleep is probably more common, but showering when your little one is awake is an easy way to free up some time during nap time to actually sleep.
Simply bring a bouncy seat into the bathroom with you — if your bathroom is smaller, you may have to leave the door open and place their seat in the doorway. Replace the shower curtain liner with a clear liner and fold the decorative shower curtain over the top bar or use a ponytail to tie it, so you can easily see your baby during your shower.
Aim to take your shower after a feeding and a nap, so the baby is less likely to get fussy. However, the sound of the shower is often soothing for little ones, and the change in scenery could keep them distracted and buy you a little extra time.
Some of our favorite bouncers include:
3. Keep track of feedings and naps
Although it may seem like wearing a baby out will help them sleep better, it actually has the opposite effect. In fact, an overtired baby will have a hard time falling asleep and may sleep for a shorter period.
Keeping track of when your baby eats and sleeps will help you anticipate when they will be hungry or tired, so you can be prepared and hopefully avoid some tears.
Some of our favorite ways to track a baby’s schedule include:
- Daily Baby Log Whiteboard By Mewl
- Baby Tracker - Newborn Log App (Also available on Google Play)
- Huckleberry: Baby & Child App (Also available on Google Play)
4. Visit a lactation consultant
If you’re breastfeeding, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant early on — ideally during the first few weeks of your baby’s life when they’re still learning to breastfeed.
An experienced lactation consultant has seen it all, so even if you aren’t struggling with breastfeeding, they may notice something that you didn’t. They will also most likely have some additional tips or tricks that will help ease your breastfeeding journey.
5. Be realistic
You can’t do it all. Be realistic with what you plan to accomplish in a day. Going into motherhood with a long list and expectations for yourself will set you up for disappointment. Try to set boundaries for yourself and lean on your friends and family for support.
Focus on spending these early days soaking in all the newborn snuggles, resting, and allowing your body to heal. As your little one gets a little older and figures out their routine, you may have time to start catching up on your household chores and other projects that you’d like to accomplish. There is absolutely no need to pressure yourself to start going after your to-do list when you have a newborn baby at home.
6. Give yourself grace
Once again, you simply can’t do everything. Prioritize what’s most important to you and give yourself grace for everything else. Most importantly, remember that your baby and husband think that you’re Supermom at the end of the day, even if you don’t stay caught up on all the household chores.
But if we’re being honest, the last thing anyone will notice when they come to visit a new mom and baby is some dishes in the sink.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
New moms often feel like they’re doing everything on their own. But sometimes, this results from not asking for help or not accepting the help when it’s offered.
Be open and honest about what you need and how someone can help you. It may not be apparent to your partner or anyone else exactly what you need, but your loved ones will want to help however they can. Even if you’re breastfeeding, there are ways a partner can help along the way. For more information, check out our article, "How Dads Can Help Nursing Ms''.
8. Remember that babies are only babies for one year
Everyone will tell you to enjoy this time with your baby and family because it goes by quickly. And it’s true. Soak it all in while you can and be as present as possible.
On the other hand, don’t feel bad if you find yourself struggling more than you expected. That’s completely normal. Motherhood can be challenging, and sometimes the first year is one of the most difficult. It takes time to adapt to having a new baby — you are getting to know them, and they are getting to know you. Sometimes it helps to remember that this stage will pass, and motherhood will get easier.
Best 2022 postpartum gift ideas from our community
Food, food, and more food
Worrying about cooking dinner and cleaning up afterward is not what any new mom should be thinking about, especially while healing from delivery. Any help in the food category will be appreciated during these early days. And if Mom is breastfeeding, you can expect that she will welcome the food with a loving heart and open mouth.
You could drop off a home-cooked meal or pick them up food from a local restaurant. Other ways to help out a new mom with mealtime include:
- Setting up a meal train
- Buying gift cards for Doordash or specific restaurants
- Stock up on easy food options for older kids. (We love the Meat & Veggies Puree Variety Pack and the Grain Free Baby Puffs Variety Pack.)
- Stocking up on delicious snacks for Mama, such as Bee Free Warrior Mix, free of grains, gluten, and dairy. (The company started as a mom making her son snacks that would help his autism while still tasting great.)
After having a baby, comfort is your friend. Although nobody would fault you for staying in your pajamas all day, we’ve all done it — cute loungewear is a great way to feel comfortable while looking a little more put together.
Any super cozy clothes or house slippers are great to have during the postpartum period. Some of our favorite items include:
- Drawstring Midi Dress by Latched Mama
- Eleanora Bamboo Maternity & Nursing Lounge Dress by Kindred Bravely
Functional bags for on-the-go
As a new mom, you can never be too prepared, and sometimes one bag isn’t suitable for every occasion. Having a larger and smaller bag will make it easy to prepare for whatever the day may bring, whether you are just leaving for a quick run to the store or a day-long trip to the zoo.
A smaller bag, like the Kibou, was recommended as a great way to carry the essentials while remaining hands-free. On the other hand, a backpack-style bag will also keep mama hands-free and provide more storage space for longer trips.
Some of our favorite diaper bags for new moms include:
Help with household chores
After having a baby, the last thing a new mom wants to worry about is household chores. There are many different ways you can help out, so you can find something that works for your schedule and budget.
You could come over to visit with mom and baby, do the dishes, take out the trash, and make her a cup of tea or coffee — she most likely needs it. If you’re able to spend money, you could pay a lawn care service to mow the grass a couple of times.
Other recommendations from the Serenity Kids community included:
- Gift card for laundry folding services
- Offer to pick up groceries
- Pay for a housekeeper to come a couple of times
Help with older kids
Helping out with older kids is a huge help for new mamas. It doesn’t have to be an overnight visit or an elaborate trip. Taking them on a bike ride, grabbing ice cream, or going to the park could be a great way to make them feel extra loved while giving Mama a little time to rest and enjoy some quiet baby snuggles.
Self-care for mama
As any mom will tell you, self-care is easy to put on the back burner once you start having kids. One great thing about self-care is that there are many different ways to practice it. It could be as simple as using a wonderfully scented body butter first thing in the morning, including a full bath soak or watching an entire movie.
Other top self-care product recommendations for new mamas included:
- Massage gift certificate
- Replenishing Powder by Majka
- An E-reader, like the Kindle
- Lavender oil roll-on, like the one from Grove Collaborative
- Body butter, like the one from Cocokind, is made with natural ingredients and smells great
- Pack of different teas, like the Postpartum Recovery Tea by Pinkstork
- Disposable Postpartum Underwear from Fridamom (although this may not classify as a self-care item, it’s certainly wonderful to have)
The gift of sleep
Motherhood is exhausting, especially during the early days when the baby is getting up regularly throughout the night to eat. You can almost bet that any new mom is tired and probably even exhausted.
Offer to watch the new baby for a few hours while mama gets a quality nap in. If she is nursing, have her feed the baby right before she lays down to get the longest stretch of sleep possible. If she’s bottle-feeding, you can give baby a bottle when the time comes and allow her a little extra time to sleep.
Other recommendations for how to help a new mama get some extra sleep included:
You got this, mama!
Motherhood is a whirlwind of emotions — it’s exciting, scary, invigorating, and exhausting. Whether you’re a new mom yourself or have a new mom in your life, we hope this article gives you some ideas of what other moms have found works best for them.
Author: Jennifer Wirth is a professional writer and SEO specialist for the health and wellness industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and is passionate about providing accurate and engaging content backed by scientific research. As a mom of 3 boys, she enjoys uncovering the most interesting aspects of infant nutrition, pregnancy, and parenting. When Jennifer isn’t writing, she loves spending time with her husband and kids — most likely at the baseball field.