Consider this our pep talk for first-time parents.
The experience of becoming a new parent is incomparable. It's uncharted. And for a lot of people, it can feel intimidating. In fact, the flood of emotions it brings with it—fear, self esteem, joy—is part of what makes it so unbelievably personal.
Giving birth is only the start. No matter how your child came into your life, the responsibility of a new baby is a lot. We'll be addressing new moms, but this advice is as universal as parenting itself. No matter the makeup of your family, babies cry. Babies sleep. And babies bring with them a whole new level of worry and delight any new parent can attest to.
Here are thirteen ideas on how to take care, not only of your new baby, but for the new moms in your life.
Prioritize fresh air
Especially in early stages, even getting out of bed can feel like a feat. Sleepless nights aren't exactly conducive to long walks in the neighborhood. Whatever getting outside looks like for you and your baby, make sure to get lots of it. Try taking your lunch on the porch or opting to dine outside. Fresh air is open for interpretation.
Offer more than baby clothes
Preparing for motherhood can feel overwhelming. Advice comes from every angle. And it turns out, there is such thing as too many onesies. Instead of defaulting to more baby clothes, try asking the new mom in your life what she really needs. Maybe she's been eyeing an organic cream for her baby's skin or crossing her fingers for a newborn blanket from a brand she follows on Instagram.
New moms need new moms
It's normal for new moms to feel guilty or even feel bad about all they know and don't know about this new chapter. That's where other new moms come in. Other parents embarking on the tireless journey of bringing a child into the world can commiserate, inspire, and just show up as friends who get it. Sometimes the best advice comes from someone in the exact same position.
Get to know your baby's doctor
As a new mom, you'll be spending lots of time with your baby's doctor. Before birth, try checking with other moms to see if they have any recommendations. Details like maternity leave and doctors within your insurance might be dictated by your employment, but it's great to get a sign-off from a friend. A great doctor will be key to taking care of your child, even in the most overwhelming of times.
Delegate grocery shopping
This tip is perfect for a mother visiting in the first few days of motherhood. Don't expect her to pick up on the idea to stock the fridge on her own. Have a partner or friend send a list of all your usual favorites to her in advance. That way, essentials like milk, eggs, and butter will be ready when you get home. Don't forget snacks—the unsung hero of a happy mama.
Pay attention to feeling depressed
Postpartum depression is real. It's not just a phase or something to feel bad about. It's a completely normal reaction to the process of birth. Seeking advice for new moms is a wonderful place to start, but to seek professional help when faced with postpartum depression.
Everyone does things differently
Communities all across the world parent in their own fashion. What's normal in some cultures is considered bad advice in others. Being a first-time mom requires a certain level of walking to the beat of your own drum. Honor your instincts. Listen to your body and to your baby. Care for your family in a way that feel authentic to you.
Find space for quality time with friends
As new parents, it can be tempting to fill all your time with other people on an identical trajectory as your own. Take time to spend time with your dear friends who aren't parents, whose worlds don't revolve around a newborn. Don't forget all the ways they've supported you, made space just to talk, and eat whatever you were craving during pregnancy. These are relationships worth investing in, even in the newborn haze.
No one knows your newborn like you do
Ask any other first-time moms, and they'll agree. There's an untouchable bond between you and your baby. Mom tips only go so far. You're discovering the personality of a whole new person. Even at such a young age, your child is already displaying quirks and habits only you can pick up on. Trust that feeling.
Treasure the first few weeks
It seems like every new mom wishes they could go back to their first-time-mom self and offer the advice to slow down. Those early days with your baby are sacred and should be treated as such. Take time to rest when you need to, eat what sounds good, and lean on your partner for managing the endless administration that seems to be ushered in by birth.
Meet other new moms
Your world shifted with the birth of your baby. Just as it's important to pay attention to ongoing friendships, it's essential to meet other new moms. It can be as formal as joining a new mom group or as easy as offering your email to another first-time mom at the park.