Being a parent for the first time is scary. After all, kids don’t come with an instruction manual. You can read every parenting book on the planet and ask other parents for advice, but at the end of the day, you’re forced to go with your instincts and hope that it all works out.
I remember reading just about every baby book and parenting magazine I could get my hands on when I was pregnant with my first-born. I was only 20 at the time, so I was still growing up myself. Of course I made some mistakes along the way, but we all survived and my son is growing up to be a fine, young man. I didn’t know it then, but having him helped prepare me for twins down the road!
5 Things I Wish I Knew As a First-Time Mom
You’re Not a Failure If You Don’t Breastfeed
I had no trouble breastfeeding my son until he was 8 months old. He weaned himself and easily transitioned to baby formula and then cow’s milk once he was a year old. Breastfeeding my twins was a whole other story. It was hard. REALLY HARD. I felt like I was nursing or pumping all day long, which left me no time to do anything else. I lost a ton of weight and felt depressed. When my twins were 12 weeks, I made the decision to switch them to baby formula. It was the best decision I could have made. My girls made the transition quickly and easily and I felt healthier and happier.
From one mom to another, you’re not a failure if you have to supplement nursing with baby formula. And if you have to give up nursing altogether and switch to baby formula, that is totally fine too. There are plenty of high-quality brands to choose from, such as Well Beginnings from Walgreens.
Cleaning the House Can Wait
Yes, you will need to clean your house and cook dinner at some point, but it can wait. Your baby will grow up quickly, so take the time to bond and soak up all the cuddles while you can. If it means hiring a housekeeper or ordering takeout, do it. I’m horrible about delegating duties and always think I have to do everything myself. When my twins were babies, I was exhausted from trying to do it all. Looking back, I wish I would have spent less time worrying about my house and more time cuddling with my babies!
It’s OK to Ask For Help
Can you do it all? Of course! Moms are superheroes. But should you do it all? Probably not. You will get burned out — it’s only a matter of time. If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, or just need some me-time, it’s ok to ask a family member or friend to come help you out. If you have older children, they can help feed and change the baby too. It’s good practice for them and helps them bond with the baby. The bottom line is you aren’t a failure if you need a break.
Get Your Baby on Schedule from Day One
It’s hard to get into a routine at first, but it’s so worth it. Looking back, one of the best things I did was get my twins on a schedule from the time they came home from the hospital. They both ate and slept at the same time (this usually meant waking one of them up to eat), which made our lives a million times easier. They took naps at the same time every day and went to bed at the same time every night. This created a predictable routine that helped them develop a healthy sleeping and eating pattern. It was also key to them sleeping through the night by 12 weeks! Even if you aren’t a schedule person, it pays to at least try to get yourself on one with a new baby.
Find Ways to Save on Baby Products
Having a baby is expensive. Between diapers, wipes, baby formula, gear, etc. it all adds up quickly. When my twins were babies, I signed up to receive coupons from formula and baby food companies and our favorite retailers. I shopped sales and clearance racks and bought items secondhand. I also learned that generic and store brand products are often just as good as name brand products, only without a cheaper price tag. For example, Walgreens Well Beginnings Baby Formula is $9 less than it’s name brand competitor and you get more!
Well Beginnings is available exclusively at Walgreens. It is just as good and costs much less than name-brand formula. Plus when you sign up for auto-reorder on walgreens.com, you can save time as well as money.
Having your first baby is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be scary and overwhelming. Don’t stress about being perfect. Trust your instincts and enjoy every moment — it will fly by!