Prior to having kids, I would sit and daydream what it would be like to be a first-time mom. Of course it was magical, wonderful, every warm fuzzy feeling I could dream up. I also would make myself imaginary promises: I am going to nurse my babies until they are one; my kids are not going eat in the car; I’m not going to coddle my babies. All of these promises have of course been broken (and I am very OK with that).
I somehow thought I had enough knowledge about life as a mother before I ever experienced it, and wasn’t all that open to hearing other opinions. The phrase “each kid is different” seemed to be the most common mom advice I would hear. But some of the most helpful hints that made my life easier did come from other moms. In hindsight, I wish I used more resources and spoke more openly to other moms when I was a first-time mom myself. At the end of the day, if something makes those sleep-deprived days easier, why not share it.
Here are five helpful everyday things that, as a mom of three now, I would have appreciated knowing as a first-time mom:
Fed is best.
It’s not just a trendy hashtag, but it actually is the truth. So if nursing, exclusively pumping or a mixture of the two doesn’t work out, move on to formula. It’s more than OK. You are not a failure, you are feeding your child and that is all they care about.
That being said, if you are nursing go to the lactation nurse. I didn’t as a first-time mom because I was just too overwhelmed to think about leaving the house for any additional appointments. I did go to the lactation nurse with my third and it made a world of difference.
Mom Hack: Mini slow-cookers with water set to warm are very helpful to plug in at night if you need to warm up a bottle or breast milk in a pouch. Believe me when I say waiting for the microwave, even for one minute, in the middle of the night to heat water to warm a bottle up is some sort of weird time warp.
It’s 3 a.m., your baby is crying, you’re exhausted, and you’re on the floor by the crib frantically patting the carpet to find the pacifier that has disappeared. Not a fun scenario. Then you see a little glow, reach for it and give it to your baby who is so thankful that they just go back to sleep. Success! I didn’t know as a first-time mom that they made glow in the dark pacifiers until I accidentally ordered them on Amazon, and three kids later I can say they have saved me many precious minutes of sleep.
Mom Hack: Keep an extra pacifier (or five) on your nightstand in case the other one vanishes.
Either buy all the same brand of sippy cups or find the cheap ones that only have a cup and a lid. The more random brands you buy, the more random parts you have in the cupboard and it makes it more difficult to store and clean. If the sippy cups says “no leaks” it will still inevitably leak, so save time and don’t buy every single kind.
Mom Hack: I prefer the Take & Toss brand because they are the easiest to assemble and clean. Not to mention, they are by far the cheapest.
Limit the complicated outfits
You are at Carter’s and see the most adorable little three-piece outfit with suspenders, a bowtie, and a zip-up cardigan and decide to get it in every color because it is just too adorable to pass up. Fast forward to you changing the 30th dirty diaper of the day and hating the fact that you have to try to make sure you get the baby undressed without creating a blowout situation. No one that day even saw the adorable outfit. You concede and get out an old-fashioned onesie and go with this for the rest of the day to make everyone happier.
Mom Hack: You can buy footie pajamas with an inverted zipper (it zips from the top down so you only have to unzip the bottom half). My babies lived in these until about 4-5 months old because it made the endless diaper changes much easier.
The more hands the merrier
It wasn’t until my second baby that I discovered the magical world of a backpack diaper bag. They are mostly all the rage these days but every once in a while I see a mom who has the classic bag struggling to complete functional tasks.
Mom Hack: When picking out a backpack diaper bag, make sure it will zip with one hand. This seems silly, but it can definitely be a huge help when you feel like you need four more hands.
Of course, each child is different and so is each parenting journey, but why not share with each other things that worked. Keeping the conversation going about mom hacks and tricks to save time is a wonderful way to support each other. It can also make those first few months as a first-time mom a little closer to those idyllic pre-parenthood daydreams.