From the moment you share your pregnancy news, it seems that you’re bombarded with (often unsolicited) advice. Most of the time, it’s pretty standard—“Sleep now!” or “Enjoy every moment, it goes fast!”—and people stay away from the real nitty gritty, or anything too specific.
Yet often, that’s the kind of advice new mommas need the most. Having truthful, honest, and even raw reflections from moms who have been there and done that is invaluable.
So, we spoke with real new moms, and asked them what they wish they were told about newborn and new mom life. Here’s what they had to say. (Spoiler alert — it was a lot!)
16 Real Women Share Their Advice to New Moms When They Take Their Baby Home
“My NICU nurse told me the most basic advice that I will never forget: 'Don’t overthink it!' We think we need so much stuff, but babies are pretty basic in what they need at least in the first few weeks. And for the moms who might have babies in the NICU for some time like I did, don’t feel guilty if you can’t get there every day or stay all day. It is the hardest thing to leave your baby there while you go home, but they will never remember it. They are well cared for, getting stronger and it will just be a blip in your life one day.” — Lizzy, 32
“I wish people told me how much sleep you honestly won’t get for the first 3 months. People joke and say you will never sleep again, but I wish someone told me straight out that it really only meant a few hours a day. And, of course, I wish someone told me to drop my pride and take the help when it is offered from day one." — Dianna, 31
“First, that you need side snap kimonos for the first week! I didn’t know that you couldn’t put a onesie on a baby until their umbilical cord stump falls off. Secondly, Simethicone for gassy babies. It’s SO damn necessary and I didn’t learn about it until like two weeks in.” – Nancy, 38
“I wish someone would have told me that it’s okay if they cry. They can’t hurt themselves from crying and you don’t have to run and get them with every little peep they make.” — Stacy, 30
“So many things. I wish I knew how hard breastfeeding was, that it doesn’t come easy, or come right away. I was really naïve about it. I also wish I might have had a heads up that constipation is real, even after a vaginal birth without painkillers. Ladies, take your stool softeners!” —Nicole, 31
“That the love I felt for my little one would be overwhelmingly strong – I didn’t know love like that could exist.” – Lili, 42
“You can still be a wonderful, REAL mom even if you deliver via C-section. I hated when people would ask me, 'What happened? Why didn’t you deliver naturally?’" — Christine, 33
“Postpartum ain’t easy! I was so nervous for the delivery and feel like no one really talked about postpartum life. It was a couple weeks before just sitting or getting up out of a chair didn’t hurt so much." — Priya, 31
“I wish someone told me to go see a physical therapist. I didn't even know what diastasis recti (or ab separation) was until after I gave birth. I would tell every new mom to get an evaluation from a PT.” — Rachel, 32
“To invest in a lactation consultant if breastfeeding was important to me. That the marriage dynamics get all out of whack (combo of hormones, baby blues, lack of partner support, etc.) And to RELAX! Sit and rest when there’s a window to do so, let someone else wash the dishes, pick up the paper on the floor, sweep etc. Let people help you.” — Diana, 34
“I wish someone would have told me how hard it would be to use the bathroom and heal yourself.” — Darby, 37
“Breastfeeding is hard—REALLY hard. And it takes time for you both to learn what you’re doing.” — Chrissy, 31
“That the initial postpartum period can also be a period of mourning. Mourning the loss of your old life. Mourning the changes: less time with older children and alone time with husband, and processing (and potentially mourning) your birth experience. And that that’s all okay, and it will get better.” — Cristina, 30
“I was told to nap when the baby naps but between pumping, eating, and trying to have a somewhat clean house with laundry done, napping isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be. I was told to make sure my husband helps out with changing diapers and chores around the house. But when he went back to work that was hard.. When they finally go to sleep or nap you just want to hold of them and stare at them but my mom said to put her in the pack n play or bassinet so I could relax. Even for 10 mins. It's so hard because when they are napping they’re so cute!” — Meghan, 31
"That the first month is literally the worst month of your life. While it’s a crazy miracle, it’s 99% sh**ty. You learn that breastfeeding is THE WORST (pretty much for everyone), and some (or even all) formula is TOTALLY FINE! You cry every day for no reason and you are so tired you think at times you might actually die. It hurts mentally and physically. You wonder if you will ever have your old life and routine back. On top of that, it’s awkward trying to feel close to this new human that you barely know.
I wish I knew that things turn a corner after four weeks and that’s how long it takes to bond and start feeling human again. And it’s gets better again once they smile. Then again around 16 weeks once they sleep through the night. I really just wish I knew how bad it would be and that also it was temporary and I would feel like me again!" — Hillary, 32
"That you may not get that feeling of being head over heels in love with your baby right away. And that that’s totally okay." — Cristina, 30