10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom {Parenting}

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom

  • Don’t spend ALL of your time focusing on birth planning and prepare for life with a newborn as well. I read too many books about birthing and spent too much time at birthing classes instead of learning more about the first days/weeks with a newborn.
  • It is O.k to count toes and fingers right after birth, most parents do!
  • NOTHING can prepare you for what your birth experience will be like, so don’t be upset if your birth doesn’t go according to plan. I wasn’t planning on a 14 hour labour but I still got my drug-free water birth and  my beautiful son at the end of it all. Be sure to embrace your unique experience and move on.
  • Some skills may come to you naturally like changing diapers.  I had never changed a diaper in my life until I had my son, the minute he was born I was somehow an expert diaper changer!
  • It is O.k to feel overwhelmed.  Babies don’t come with instructions and the moment you come home from the hospital it really sinks in that you are 100% responsible for that beautiful little person you just brought home.
  • It is O.k to ask for help, seriously, you WILL need it! Welcome all relatives and friends that offer you  help.
  • Breastfeeding can be very painful if the latch isn’t right . This was certainly the case for me. Educate yourself on the matter if you are hoping to breastfeed your little one and read about it, watch instructional videos or even attend a breastfeeding class beforehand, I wish I had!
  • About breastfeeding: You’re supposed to wait until the baby opens their mouth realyl wide and then put all of your nipple and as much of the areola in his mouth. Your nipple has to be pointing up near the roof of his mouth rather than pointing towards his tongue.  Don’t freak out if milk shoots across the room, it is totally normal.
  • Buy a high quality breast pump and learn how to use it BEFORE you have your baby (clean all parts and have it ready for use).  If you end up having a low milk supply you will need a good pump during the first days/weeks.
  • Sleep while you are at the hospital if you are able to, seriously! You will NEED any extra sleep you can get for the days/weeks/months to come.  My son slept like a champ after birth but I didn’t take advantage.  Then as soon as we came home from the hospital and all I wanted to do was sleep he was up every hour feeding.

Being a parent is an amazing but challenging journey and nothing can really prepare you for what it is going to be like.  I still wish I knew a few of the things mentioned above before having my son.  Like any other journey there will be plenty of highs and lows. The highs though are REALLY up there and there is nothing like getting tons of loving hugs and kisses from my 21 month old every day no matter what else is going on with life.

What do YOU wish you knew before becoming a parent?

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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela and I am a Canadian mom living in Vancouver with my wonderful husband and two happy little boys. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!
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35 responses to “10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom {Parenting}”

  1. Pregosummermama — July 9, 2012 @ 5:27 pm (#)

    Awesome list, I am pregnant with my first one and anything like this really helps! Thank you!

    Reply

  2. Elva Roberts — July 9, 2012 @ 5:51 pm (#)

    July 9-This list should be a help to our new Moms. My granddaughters read everything they could get their hands on but absolutely no book, in my opinion, prepares you for the feeling of responsibility that settles on your shoulders once you leave that hospital. I agree wit h you that praparing for the first few days at home , especially after a first baby, can be so overwhelming that you should focus on that. Besides, Baby hasn’t read any books and will probably go out of his/her way to refute them.-el03ro(Have some help that first week home- your Mom, if you can get her, is invaluable.)–el03ro

    Reply

  3. kelley — July 10, 2012 @ 8:08 am (#)

    THank you for sharing!

    Reply

  4. Cynthia Mollison — July 10, 2012 @ 11:34 am (#)

    Great list Angela! I totally agree!!

    Reply

  5. Carlie V. — July 10, 2012 @ 11:37 am (#)

    It’s important to know that the first few weeks are totally overwhelming but that it DOES get better. Before I had my baby in May, I knew that my life would change, but it’s hard to understand exactly how that changes until you’re in the midst of it. I remember sitting at home the last day my mum was going to be helping me out, crying because I didn’t know how I was going to do it on my own. Little by little, you get use to being a mum, and your baby gets used to being a person and suddenly, routines have appeared and it’s not as hard as it was in the beginning. Every day gets a little easier, you just have to be patient with yourself and allow yourself as much time as you need.

    Reply

  6. Erika — July 10, 2012 @ 2:06 pm (#)

    Your first point really hits home with me. I read so many books about pregnancy and birth and just figured I would know what to do when my son was born. I sure could have used a book or two about that. Lots of things didn’t occur to me when I was sleep deprived. (I also skipped the c-section info because I wasn’t planning on having one. oops.)

    Reply

  7. Elva Roberts — July 10, 2012 @ 3:37 pm (#)

    July 10-“Nothing can prepare you for the birth experience”– This is so very true. I didn’t know much about it except it was, in most cases, a natural experience so tried to relax and ‘go with the flow.”; It helped, I think, that I was in a room by myself-the other room containing 4 mothers was full. I managed ok and the nurses checked on me once in a while. Staying calm, as I managed to ,helped me a great deal.-el03ro

    Reply

  8. Elva Roberts — July 11, 2012 @ 11:24 am (#)

    July 11-Your tip on sleeping in the hospital is a good on -except you are usually sent home in a day or so, unless you have a C-section,. I told my daughters to try to sleep when the baby sleeps, especially the first few weeks. This is so important so you do not get totally exhausted . You don’t have to nap every time the baby does. Just pick your moments. The house cleaning can wait. Get as much rest as you can the first few weeks.-el03ro

    Reply

  9. Elva Roberts — July 11, 2012 @ 11:25 am (#)

    July 11-Your tip on sleeping in the hospital is a good on -except you are usually sent home in a day or so, unless you have a C-section,. I told my daughters to try to sleep when the baby sleeps, especially the first few weeks. This is so important so you do not get totally exhausted . You don’t have to nap every time the baby does. Just pick your moments. The house cleaning can wait. Get as much rest as you can and you will be less likely to have post-partum depression.-el03ro

    Reply

  10. Vanessa Coker — July 12, 2012 @ 12:59 pm (#)

    I also wish I knew better than to not stress so much over how the birthing of my son would be. I got so wrapped up into it and it was absolutely nothing of what I was planning but my son is worth every difficult, stressful change that may ever come my way. I’d forever do anything for him.

    Reply

  11. Stephanie — July 13, 2012 @ 12:34 pm (#)

    Great tips, thanks!

    Reply

  12. Deb Dorrington — July 15, 2012 @ 9:59 am (#)

    Super tips Angela, they are all really helpful and so true. I would also add to prepare and freeze as many meals as you can a few weeks before your due date so no cooking for the first 2 weeks when you come home.

    Reply

  13. Amy M — July 16, 2012 @ 12:10 pm (#)

    One thing that I appreciated as a first time mom was having no social obligations and an empty calendar in the weeks after my son was born. People came to visit, and eventually we went out too, but at first it takes a while to adjust and you may not want to be tied to a schedule. It seemed like my little boy always needed to eat or have a diaper change right when we were about to go somewhere. After a few weeks it was easier to plan our outings because we had more of a routine. Also, in the first few weeks there’s a lot of physical recovering happening, as well as your body trying to deal with sleep deprivation. It’s all so worth it (and it gets easier!), that’s for sure, but if you can take it easy at first it will make the transition smoother.

    Reply

  14. brooke t — July 20, 2012 @ 3:22 am (#)

    LOL these are great and ohhh so true!!

    Reply

  15. Kathleen Blom — July 24, 2012 @ 10:52 pm (#)

    I found taking a breast feeding class before birth really helpful.

    Reply

  16. Jenn Brooks — July 26, 2012 @ 8:37 am (#)

    I wish someone had told me that it’s normal to feel totally and completely overwhelmed in the first couple of months. I was so floored by all of the adjustments I had to make, even though I knew logically that I would be making them. It was hard! And I was positive that no other moms had felt the way I was feeling, although now I know that’s not true!

    Reply

  17. shaunie — July 26, 2012 @ 12:46 pm (#)

    I wish I knew these things when i was babysitting

    Reply

  18. Clifford — July 28, 2012 @ 11:22 am (#)

    I love all your tips Angela, I also wish I had known that my heart would forever belong to these little ones..:)

    Reply

  19. Nena Sinclair — August 10, 2012 @ 3:52 pm (#)

    This is a really good post! I’m printing it to give to my niece who will be having her first baby in a few months. Thanks!

    Reply

  20. Lori — August 16, 2012 @ 1:40 pm (#)

    What a great list for first time Mamas – and a good refresher for the next time around. With our second girl I was WAY more willing to ask for the help.

    Reply

  21. Sarah — November 28, 2012 @ 11:13 pm (#)

    I always tells first time mommies to enjoy their pregnancy and focus on themselves. It’s the last time they’ll ever have as an independent person. Once baby comes, that’s it! You are forever changed when those darling eyes meet yours for the first time. 🙂

    Reply

  22. Sarah — December 3, 2012 @ 6:23 pm (#)

    I love each point in this. Every mom should know these things

    Reply

  23. Viv Sluys — December 12, 2012 @ 8:25 pm (#)

    Ah, sleep! Yes, sleep whenever you can! Remember that no one expects you to ‘do it all’. Napping can be a higher priority than dishes. Cuddling your baby is more important than making the bed. And so forth 🙂

    Reply

  24. Keara B. — December 13, 2012 @ 8:16 pm (#)

    I wish I would have read this before I had my little one! Especially the stuff about breastfeeding…. I had endless problems and still feel like I needed more help and education. Thanks for all the wonderful tips, I’m filing them away for the next kiddo. 🙂

    Reply

  25. Rachel N — December 17, 2012 @ 11:47 am (#)

    These are awesome tips, I am expecting baby #3 any day now. I will add that be prepared because babies cry. Don’t think that you are doing anything wrong if your baby cries. Just do your very best to meet their needs, if you have tried everything and they are still crying do not stress out. Just hold them and love on them. Babies cry, it is normal:)

    Reply

  26. Crystal Wilson — January 20, 2013 @ 11:08 pm (#)

    It is more what I should have believed or listened to!! LOL. Everyone around me told me to sleep when baby slept…..YET, I stayed awake for hours wheN I could just staring at him. Everyone also told me how fast time would go by, how quickly they would grow. I dont think that is something you can truly be prepared for with your 1st child. You dont realize until after you have them that ‘time flies’ actually means ‘in the blink of an eye’….literally.

    Reply

  27. Bryanne — January 26, 2013 @ 7:46 am (#)

    Totally true–thanks for posting!

    Reply

  28. Kathleen — January 26, 2013 @ 1:20 pm (#)

    Having had my daughter last year, my advice would be similar. We took a breastfeeding class and that was hugely helpful. I googled or looked up in What to Expect in the First year a ton of things in the first few days. Everything I looked up was normal but is was reassuring to read that.

    Reply

  29. Adria — February 16, 2013 @ 7:29 pm (#)

    I wish I knew where to get more resources, in general. I felt so overwhelmed on any given day! I also wish I had known more about colic, as I had this tiny, angry baby screaming at me for hours on end, for weeks on end, and thought I was doing everything wrong! Along with that, I wish I had known more about food sensitivities that you could pass through breastmilk, since that seemed to contribute. But you learn as you go!

    Reply

  30. Robin Wilson — May 2, 2013 @ 2:13 pm (#)

    These are all great tips! The breastfeeding pointers are spot on. I sure wish I had known these before I had my son, things would have gone a lot smoother!

    Reply

  31. Jaime Brown — May 8, 2013 @ 8:31 pm (#)

    I wish I would have gone to breastfeeding classes, because I really regret no breastfeeding her, I was able to breastfeed her little sister:)

    Reply

  32. Cindy B. — May 13, 2013 @ 4:59 am (#)

    I really wish I had taken some breastfeeding classes since that was the most difficult thing. My daughter had problems latching. Also make sure you have a very good quality breastpump. I had to go out shopping 4 days after giving birth because the pump I had was just not cutting it. I always tell my friends with new babies to do what you think is right for your baby. Every baby is different.

    Reply

  33. Erika B — June 11, 2013 @ 1:23 pm (#)

    Having 2 babies, I can relate to all of those tips. I made a birth plan, and I didn’t stick with it. The part about babies not coming with a manual, lol, that is 150% true, but us as moms, it just comes naturally, which is so neat. I never changed diapers before having my son, but I learned fast! Having a baby is the most amazing, yet challenging thing ever, but I have enjoyed each and every moment, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life, because my kids are my life

    Reply

  34. kathy downey — March 24, 2016 @ 10:30 am (#)

    No two people have the same delivery or the same baby everything is different from one Mom to another

    Reply

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