Advice from real moms that have been there, done that.
Everyone says how wonderful new babies are, but until you have one, you have no idea how difficult it is to figure out what they need. My son screamed all day and night for his first three weeks. I was too ashamed to ask anyone for help, as I thought that I would then be a failure as a mother. However, after those first three weeks, the two of us worked it out. All of a sudden, I learned to read him very well and knew exactly what he needed. My advice is: Don’t expect too much of yourself. Ask for help when you need it. – LAURA ANNE M., CLEVELAND, N.S.
Do whatever you feel is right for you and your family and forget what everyone else has to say. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t work out the way you had planned. – MONIQUE N., WINDSOR, ONT.
Join a Facebook group with moms who gave birth the same month as you. Personally, it helped me a lot to find advice and support during pregnancy and after baby was born – CATHERINE L., SHERBROOKE, QC
If you feel overwhelmed, nervous or unsure…know that this too shall pass. Do not compare yourself to other moms…or compare your child with other children. Each child is an individual, and so is each parent. What works for one may not work for another. Beware asking yourself questions like, “What is he/ she doing now?” Or, “Shouldn’t he/she be reaching this milestone now?” Your baby’s milestones are you, your partner’s, your baby’s and his/her medical practitioner’s business – no one else’s. – DAHLIA F., ONT.
Know that it is normal to be happy one minute and crying the next (for both mom and baby!). – BRENDA M., CALGARY
Wearing sexy bras and undies underneath your sweats will make you feel great, despite the puffy eyes and lack of a hairstyle. Do little things that make you feel good. You are important, too! – LINDSAY S., HAGERSVILLE, ONT.
Know that you are not alone. Everyone feels afraid and unsure the first time bringing baby home. Just go with your gut. Baby will tell you what he/she needs. – CAROLYN W., PORT COLBORNE, ONT.
In the moment it seems overwhelming and insurmountable (dishes, crying, laundry, finding time to cut your own toe nails). The sweet will outweigh the struggle. – JENNIFER G., CHATHAM, ONT.
Prepare food in advance before giving birth (shepherd’s pie, lasagna, soups …) because once you’re back at home, tiredness, baby’s needs and breastfeeding demands leave you little time or desire to cook the balance meals that are so important. –CYNTHIA L., QC
Be firm setting limits on visitors in the beginning so your family can settle in. The worst thing is when a ton of well meaning relatives and friends keep the front door revolving, providing an endless stream of unneeded advice. – KIMBER B., BRANTFORD, ONT.
Wear your jammies when you get home! Don’t feel obligated to get dressed and entertain family and friends. It’s only natural that they want to visit your new addition and congratulate you and share in your newfound joy. But you are still recovering from a hospital stay, a new routine and all the exhaustion that comes with being new parents and you really do need your rest! The pyjamas act as a subtle reminder to your guests not to overstay their welcome. – ROBIN R., HAMMOND, ONT.
Sleep when baby sleeps. – LAURA M, LONDON, ONT.
If baby is healthy and gaining weight, resist the urge to look at the clock every time he or she wakes at night. Calculating how much or how little sleep you actually got will only make you feel more tired. – VANESSA J., TORONTO
Thinking back, I would have put a Moses basket in our room. I thought I would have my princess sleep in her crib, but finally, I much much preferred to have her close to me. – ROXANNE B., QC
Breastfeeding requires work and dedication. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lactation consultant to help you get all the kinks worked out. –HAYLIE L., EDMONTON
Get a nasal aspirator – not the bulb kind, but the one that you actually use your mouth to create suction. It sounds disgusting (and it is, a little), but the relief you can provide for a stuffed up little baby is worth it! – KARI S., WATERLOO, ONT.
My son had wicked cradle cap for his first four months. I think it bothered everyone but him and I! At his fourmonth vaccinations, our family doctor suggested trying Head & Shoulders shampoo. Lo and behold, that did the trick and within three weeks, it was all cleared up! – VICKY M., PETERBOROUGH, ONT.
There is so much literature that says breast is best and how natural it is, that I was a wreck when it didn’t work as easily as I thought it would. Through three months of pain and perseverance it finally worked. So, my advice is if you are adamant on nursing, like I was, give it three months, get help from La Leche, see a lactation consultant and don’t stress if you have to give formula! – CRYSTAL F., WINDSOR, ONT.
If you are having a hard time burping your baby. Sit him on your knee. One hand raising his two arms and supporting his chin, while the other hand pats his back. This really works wonders! – DAWN T., RENFREW, ONT.
If you plan to baby wear, I highly recommend trying out different slings/wraps/carriers in advance and knowing how they work. – CAPY B., WINDSOR, ONT.
Best cure for hiccups? Breastfeeding. Best way to get your newborn to sleep? Breastfeeding. Pink eye? Breastmilk. It really is the cure for everything in newborns. – LUCY G., CAMBRIDGE, ONT.
Use any kind of white noise to calm your wailing baby. The dryer and vacuum worked wonders for us! If you’re in the car, use the static from the radio as white noise. Crying stops instantly! – IDA W., MARKHAM, ONT.
Taking baby in the tub with me (or Dad) always calmed him down at night. A little skin-to-skin contact and warm water with the sound of running water is very calming. Five months later it still works for getting through that evening fussy time; now we just add some toys. – TONIA T., HAMILTON, ONT. BW
Baby socks also make good baby mitts! – LINDA L., MISSISSAUGA, ONT.
On Doing Your Own Thing
I wish I knew to trust myself more. I spent a lot of time crying after being told I wasn’t nursing well enough. I knew Baby was getting enough, and she was. She was just small like her Mama and didn’t have the genes to get rolly poly. – JENNIFER R., SALMON ARM, B.C.
I wish I would have told my mother-in-law to shut up. I was not starving my baby by exclusively breastfeeding. – EMILY M.
When I had my first baby, my Oma (mother of four) said the folowing to me, “If it makes sense, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t.” When she said it, it really meant nothing more than a lovely German woman saying soothing things to a scared young woman. But, after three kids, I get what she meant. She meant that you need to do what works for you, for your child and for the situation. Don’t worry about being perfect. Just do with love, the very best for your family. Best. Advice. Ever. – SHANNON D., WINDSOR, ONT.
Originally published in 2013.