Your Words: Thoughts for New Parents.

An old friend of mine is expecting her first baby any day now. In a recent email she said that she would surely be in touch for some experienced mama advice as their journey with baby in arms begins.

Her email has me reflecting on my first days as a mama. The day-to-day experiences of motherhood over the past 8 1/2 years makes me realize just how far I have come on my journey as a parent. Remembering those first few hours, days, weeks, and years of parenting – the newness and mystery, the fear and confusion, the beauty and magic and wildness of it all.

Becoming a mother exceeded my expectations in every possible way. It is harder than anything I had ever imagined. It is more rewarding than my wildest dreams. It has shaped me and made me into the person that I am today.


Family Xmas 021_2

And so I turn to you.

 How has parenthood shaped your life? What words would have brought you clarity and comfort as your parenting journey began? What would you say to yourself if you could, just days before giving birth for the first time? Would you say:

Trust your inner voice.

You only have to answer to you child.

Eat your placenta. (Really.)

You can't spoin a baby.

Take time for yourself.


Or something else?

Leave a comment below and share your loving words for all the new parents who find their way to this page. I know that many of you rarely comment, but I encourage you now to step onto this page and give this gift of your wisdom. It can be as simple as a single word or a long message of love. And for all the new parents and fresh babies out there – thank you.



Shoulder sleep

Sweet blessings, friends L. and S. as this new chapter of your lives begins! It will transform you forever.

38 thoughts on “Your Words: Thoughts for New Parents.

  1. Mama Michie says:

    I’ve been a mom for over 7 years now, and if I had to look back and give myself pre-baby advice, I would probably say ‘if you run out of ideas, just ‘love’. Love will always show you what to do, how to be patient, what sounds to make, and how to smile amongst your tears…and your baby’s!’ I was a single parent back then, so I was scared out of my boots, but I made it through fine and I’m so proud to have done it on my own. With the help of my mom of course… where would we all be without moms! 🙂

  2. Renee - Bold Mom says:

    Don’t expect bonding to be instant, but it will come and it is amazing.

    Colic will go away. Colic will go away. Colic will go away.

    He eventually will stop crying. It doesn’t hurt him to cry.

    You’re not a failure if you ask for help.

    5 S’s: Swaddling, Side/stomach position, Shushing Sounds, Swinging, Sucking.

    Every phase has an end.

    The bad times are easily forgotten when you have a babe smiling at you!

  3. brooke says:

    Every day will not be a good day, but you will have good moments everyday. Enjoy those moments and try to remember those moments.
    Sleep some during the day if you can. Forget about chores for the first bit… your baby needs you more than you need a clean house.

    Crying is something babies do, and just because yours seems to cry a lot does not mean you are doing anything wrong.

    Babies grow fast, and before you know it, you will forget about how painful your labor was and say you want another… good luck! Labor is hard, but you are strong.

  4. Kathya says:

    I would say to myself…
    *This labour would be so much easier if you eat healthy and are active. It wouldn’t be a 48 hours labor.
    *Don’t eat for 2 adults. Your baby is not an adult, it will just be a tiny little 7.6 pound child.
    *The contractions are painful, but this are not real contractions, so just breathe through them. dont make a fist, dont clench you jaw, it is not helping to opened up your uterus.
    *Don’t follow everything the doctor says it is the next step in “labour and delivery”. You have a choice. They dont need to stretch you out when baby is crowning, tell him/her to not cut your cord until stops pulsating, tell them to put your baby right to your chest, dont allowed them to give her the Hep B shot.

    A a mother, i can tell myself a whole list of thing that i didn’t even know about when i was pregnant.
    Ohh… how i wish, i had a friend who will tell me my options and research them with me.
    Now, as a mom for almost 4 years this coming April 13th. i will tell myself… *Kathya, you are the best mom you can be. *Don’t ever compare yourself or your kids with anyone else.
    *You are unique. There are no 2 of you or 2 of your children.
    *Don’t let your baby to cry it out. You aren’t spoiling, you are comforting/meeting their needs. If you think, they will become too clingy and shy, let me tell you, you are wrong. Now, she is the most independent child you have seen but maybe it is because she felt ignored by you when she was tiny. Now, you have a second chance, and your second one is turning to be as independent as her big sister and you are doing completely the opposite this time. Keep up the good work.
    *Enjoy those sleepless nights. They seem a terrible thing when you are awake every 2 hours in the middle of the night, but they will be gone in a blink of en eye.


  5. Lori says:

    Well my sweet daughter is almost 7 and my beautiful boy just turned 1. Some things I’ve discovered along the way are not to worry so much. The majority of things are minor and will pass. Your baby will get sick – get what you need ahead of time to avoid midnight store runs. You are the one that will best know your baby – listen to that voice in your head. Babies need to be held and be close – hold your baby, wear your baby, its an amazing thing. Don’t stress out over house work, it will eventually all get done – babies are only babies for a short time. Don’t be hesitant about breast feeding if that’s where your heart is, my son would never tolerate being covered up so I’ve nursed him lots of places very confidently and never heard anything negative. Play, get down on the floor and get into their world, its a fascinating place. Being a mommy has been the hardest, scares, most amazing, beautiful thing of,my life. I will probably never have an important title behind my name but I can always say I’m a mom and have two amazing, beautiful kids that, I’m praying, will make the world a better place.

  6. Jenn says:

    Your baby needs *you* now. In a few years they will grow to be independent, but right now they need to know you’re *right there* to feel safe. You don’t teach independence, you build a foundation for it out of love and compassion.

    Wear your baby; it’s good for you and for them.

    You are both learning how this whole parenting/life thing works. Be prepared for things to not work perfectly the first time. You’ll get the hang of it.

  7. Cassandra says:

    The every 1-1/2 hr feedings will not last forever. Your baby (and you) will sleep through the night before you know it.

    You can’t spoil a baby.

    Take help when it is offered to you.

    It’s perfectly fine to wear the same sweatpants for days on end when you have a newborn. Really.

    Cherish these days because before you know it, the baby is applying to college.

  8. Tina says:

    I second many of the previous comments made here, and I would add that I wish I would have taken more pictures (or had more pictures taken). The days/weeks/months fly by so quickly, and I wish I would have more photos to help remember those magical first moments. Set up a newborn photo shoot early on, with either a professional or have a friend or family member help you take your own photos. Keep a camera handy at all times and take as many photos as you can! Enjoy your baby!!

  9. says:

    Like other posters have said, trust yourself not so much your doctor. Remember what is best for you and your baby.

    Time does fly by and you can never get back your newborn, they just grow old and even my two year old doesn’t want me to hold him some days. I long for the days i would just sit and rock him all day.

    Babies are work but are so much fun and so much worth the pain you went through with them.

  10. Alyssa says:

    The books, your mom and these blog posts may say…….(fill in the blank)…. but remember, once labor begins, it is now YOUR story and you can put all of that aside. This little being has chosen you and all of your adventures together will be NEW. It can be nice to use all of those other things as touchstones, but don’t let them get in the way of experiencing the magic and joy that is the ever-present meditation of newborns.

  11. Laura says:

    Breastfeed. It’s not always easy, but the rewards truly do outweigh the tough moments!

    Share sleep with your little one! It can be safe, if you do it properly. It is so important for your new little one to learn how to breathe (by being close to your breath), to regulate their body temperature (skin to skin contact), and it will also reduce their stress by knowing that you are right there.

    Wear your baby for all the above reasons!

    Sleep and nap often. Take it easy and don’t overdo. Enjoy. Your. Baby…peacefully and joyfully.

  12. Darla says:

    I’d say do what YOU think is right…avoid the pressures of those who are trying to get you to do it their way, just for the sake of them feeling better about themselves. That said, don’t be too stubborn either. If someone has something that seems like an idea you might like, you can try it…you can always go back to what you were doing if you don’t like it.
    Try to use little to no toxic products on your new babe…check the Environmental Working Groups Website for ratings… Some of the “Organic” products I first used were rated very badly due to sneaky yucky ingredients.
    Encapsulate your placenta. I am a vegetarian and despite knowing about the benefits of placenta eating, I just couldn’t do it. My midwife suggested encapsulating it, which I did and I’m really happy we did it. I used a bunch post partum and have the rest for when I hit menopause, which is supposed to make it a smoother ride… More info at
    And last but not least, spend time with that baby….all the cleaning and emails and filing and what not can wait…they will only be this little for so long…!

  13. katie steege says:

    i was a much better parent BEFORE i had children! 🙂 (go with your heart … things i said i’d NEVER do, i did, and things i said that i’d ALWAYS do, i rarely did. i learned not to judge other mothers.)

    and …

    delight in your ORDINARY child! (that word, ordinary, is almost as taboo as “average”, but its ok, its perfect, its great, to have an ordinary/average child. don’t get caught in the trap of comparing your child to others. just delight in them!)

  14. Susanne says:

    I’m not a mama, but I have spent a lot of time nursing children at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My experiences there have taught me that children are really very brilliant human beings. Don’t brush aside the things they say – they have very keen intuition and can make the most astute observations.

    Please take your child to some sort of health care practitioner. Those checkups are as much for parent support as they are for child wellness. As a nurse, I really strive to collaborate with parents – if you loathe your health care practitioner, it’s never a good sign.

    It is true, developmentally speaking, you cannot spoil a baby.

    Lots of close, skin-to-skin contact helps newborns adjust to life outside the womb and regulate all those new systems that have to work on their own (temperature, digestion, brain function, etc). Snuggle to your heart’s content! I have loved caring for new moms and their wee ones.

  15. Melanie says:

    I second Jenn exactly.
    Keep them as close to you as you can and all the time. That is where they feel safe and secure and it’s what they know.
    Also, jot down feelings and moments and tuck them away. Soon, they will be walking and you will realize the first year is just a blur.

  16. wanee says:

    The first month, let it be just your baby and you. Nurse, love, sleep together. Don’t check mail, don’t answer phones. That can all wait. Order in. Tell friends and family it is your bonding time, and they will get to see baby soon. Just drink in the sweetness of your newborn, hold baby close skin to skin, and breathe. This newborn phase is so precious, and will pass all too soon. Then you can head out and see the world.

  17. Jodi Jepson says:

    I would tell a new mother, that children are our most precious blessing. To have as many as the Lord would allow…this is something you will never regret. As we become elderly we will most likely not look back at our legacy and wish it would of been smaller. We have been blessed with 6 but would be happy to accept more. Enjoy your little bundle and do what you think is best, after all you are their Mommy! Jodi

  18. renee says:

    our pediatrician gave us the best piece of advice for those early months: do whatever you need to do to survive the first three months. If the carseat is the only thing that works, then by all means, let baby sleep there. Or in your bed, even if you didnt think you wanted to cosleep. (I originally thought I wouldnt like the idea, and here we’re bed sharing four years later). Whatever is easiest. And it does get easier. Really. It will feel like all you do is sit and nurse and hold the baby but that part is truly so fleetng.

  19. Peggy says:

    I have a 6 month old right now (and I also have a 7 year old.) I loved reading the comments above and am not sure I have much new that I can add… I loved the first comment from Mama Michie about love always showing us what to do… And the comment reminding us that the difficult bits are just phases & will pass… the sweet baby phase will also pass (but never fear, because toddlers are so much fun, and so are 7 year olds!) Yes, don’t worry if you wear the same sweat pants for week and your baby is in a grubby outfit with spit up down the front (as long as that baby is wearing a clean diaper, is fed and loved, he’ll be fine…) I also always tell friends who are expecting to trust themselves and their instincts… and to forgive themselves for those moments when they may not be acting like the “perfect mama” (whatever that means!) Lastly, Ergo Carriers have been so amazingly helpful to me. I have 2 Ergos — one for wearing around inside the house and one to keep in the car… (but inevitably, one of them is always in the laundry because of inordinate amounts of spit-up!!!)

    Best wishes and have fun!

  20. Corry says:

    I would tell myself that everyone is a parenting expert… for their child. I am the only one who has experienced the past 9 months with mine. I don’t know how to tell what each cry means, but I know that this is his only way to ask for help and I will respond quickly; he will feel safe. Do not expect perfection from yourself. Choose what is most important to you- if you choose your children, the house will always be messy and the gym will become a thing of the past. Make time for yourself. Enjoy breastfeeding- if it hurts, ask for help. Love your partner, he is your 24-hour support. Cosleep, but don’t let intimacy be neglected and create another comfortable place to be intimate. But most of all, trust yourself. If a piece of advice doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. You know your child. You know yourself. You’ve spent the past 40 weeks together.

  21. Erynne Mitchell says:

    Here’s the #1, most important thing I picked up from parenthood:

    If your baby is crying, THERE IS A REASON. Babies do not “just cry.” There is always a reason for it.

    The obvious checklist:
    – Are they hungry? (nurse on demand)
    – Are they dirty/wet? (try EC)
    – Are they tired? (nurse while laying together in bed or nurse while rocking in a chair)

    If none of those seem to do it… then look at the less-obvious checklist:
    – If you’re breastfeeding, is there something highly allergenic in your diet (like cow’s milk, eggs, or gluten) that is upsetting your infant’s body? If you’re formula feeding, the formula is probably cow milk-based; that is allergenic. So is soy, but try that one out next.
    – Did your baby get vaccinated recently? Immune response and ingredients in vaccines cause pain, discomfort, and misery for everyone, infants included.
    – Is your baby teething? (my son started cutting his first tooth at 3mos)
    – Does your baby just need to be held skin-to-skin and rocked and sung to so they don’t feel so disconnected?

    But never assume your baby is crying to manipulate you, or that they ‘need’ to cry, or that crying so violently that they turn purple is ‘normal.’ What would cause YOU to cry so hard that you turn purple? There is ALWAYS a reason.

  22. Becca says:

    It seems like just yesterday I was holding my first as a newborn, and now he is almost 17 years old! One thing I’ve learned is that you need to be willing to go with the flow and change your plans. Your best laid plans most often fall by the wayside. In nature, when a plant has its light obstructed it changes direction and moves toward what it needs. If it were to continue trying to grow in its original direction it would wilt and die. We have to do the same as parents. When something gets in the way, find a new path!

  23. Casey says:

    I wrote this post in a fit of introspection:

    But my main piece of advice is to HAVE AN OPEN MIND.

    Things don’t go according to plan with babies — they have their own plans. You can have the whole labor, birth, first few weeks, first few years planned in your head…it will not happen the way you plan. You need to have an open mind and go with their flow to avoid disappointment. It makes for so much more peace and happiness.

    Congratulations to your friend!

  24. sarah@theunwrapping says:

    one thing i learned pretty quickly was to *stop reading books* and just follow my gut. the parenting/sleep books made me feel crazy…like i was doing something wrong when my baby wasn’t doing things the way the book recommended. books added guilt and doubt to my early days that i just didn’t need!!

  25. says:

    You won’t be a perfect parent, but you baby doesn’t need you to be perfect. Your baby needs you to be who you are. You don’t have to live up to any image or ideal of parenting that anyone holds up for you. Just love that kiddo and follow your gut.

  26. nannergirl says:

    I have two things that my friends and I talk about all the time:
    #1 Let go of Mother guilt. I give everything I’ve got to my kids and being a mom is the most defining role in my life. But no matter how hard you work at it, life is never perfect. Maybe breast feeding won’t work out for you. And it’s okay. Maybe you are planning on a natural child birth and things don’t go that way. It’s okay. Try not to carry that Mommy guilt around.
    #2 Let your partner parent too. If you have a partner, the best gift you can give them is your confidence in them. My hubby had never really held a baby before our daughter was born. And my instinct was to do everything – bathe her, burp her, change her, rock her to sleep. I couldn’t picture my big man being gentle enough. But he was. He feels so confident now and has passed his parenting advice on to many new dads. Just remember that it’s a partnership. Your baby and your relationship with your partner will both be better for it.
    Good luck to all those new parents 🙂

  27. Pamela says:

    I agree with the above, especially about the crying…although, I admit I did have to let my 1st cry when she hit a wall and was so exhausted that NOTHING would soothe her, so take the cry it out v.s. no cry it out info and learn on your own what your baby needs. I do agree that ALL babies do cry and just know that just because yours is crying doesn’t make you a bad mamma. Also, the biggest thing that would have helped me in the beginning was to hear someone else understand and know what I was talking about when I said she wanted to nurse all.the.time. Hearing the ‘every 1-2 hour is normal’ speech wasn’t helpful for me…I wanted to shout “You don’t understand…there is no beginning or ending, if she’s not nursing she is screaming her head off!!” But we made it through because I listened to my instincts and abandoned all the well intended advice because no one knew what MY baby needed except for me and her. It does get easier and time flies so quickly that you won’t believe it so savor every single moment. Which goes with my last piece of advice (again, already stated above) this too shall pass and one day you will be missing those quite sleepless nights when all your baby needed or wanted was to be held by you.

  28. Jayna says:

    stay home! savor, remember, love love love, smell, don’t clean (just tidy up) and share all of it. and my own personal research led me to: breast is ALWAYS best, herbs are for healing, water is your friend, foreskins are indeed attached perhaps we should leave them as such, and baths are not necessary until your baby is stinky. PS I think cloth also is cleaner safer and = potty learning sooner. xo enjoy!

  29. Em says:

    Take pictures of your babe nursing, from your POV. It’s a sweet moment you’ll treasure later.

    Mothers weren’t meant to mother alone, but in a community, with support. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, or to have friends over when the house is messy. We’ve all been there.

    When friends and family hold your baby for too long (you’ll know it when you miss her), just tell them it’s time to nurse. That’s something only you can do, and you get baby back. It’s okay to do this every 15 minutes 🙂

    Have your husband help choose the color of your baby carrier so he will feel comfortable wearing it (our favorites were a ring sling and later the Ergo).

    When the whole world asks if your baby is sleeping through the night yet, it’s okay to smile and respond, “She’s a great sleeper,” or “We get lots of sleep,” even if it’s only true because you sleep beside her while she nurses all night long. They’ll think you’re a great parent- which you are 🙂

  30. Angie Davies says:

    I have a 19 month old, and am due with my 2nd baby in March. I would tell new parents to listen to other people’s advice, but only do what YOU feel is right for you and yours.
    1. Babies don’t need a bath every day!
    2. They will not turn into clingy toddlers if you hold them all the time.
    3. Spend money on safe house cleaners and bathtime stuff, not on baby clothes 🙂

  31. liz says:

    So many sweet comments
    I think the best advice my midwife gave me with my second was to stay in bed for 3 days and only come down once a day for a week after that. As a second time Mom, she said “once you get up, you won’t go back to bed.” It is so tempting to get up and do things, but let everyone else take care of the house, lay skin to skin with your new precious lil one, drink up all their sweetness, and fall in love. You won’t have the chance again.
    Also an amazing website is
    Nothing better then having a meal delivered by friends and family so you can give your baby all your attention. And you’ll probably be STARVING if you are nursing 🙂

  32. Lucy says:

    What an absolutely beautiful, perfect, baby! My youngest is now 4 oldest is 12… those pictures of you cuddling up close, makes me miss the sweet smell of baby breath, the precious moments when in a sleepless haze you swear you will never forget how it feels to be given something so beautiful to cherish…. and then they turn 3 :)haha.
    Thank you for sharing those tender, lovely, photos.

  33. Shannon A says:

    “Surrender” Nikki McClure

    “You gotta be kind to yourself” ~ She and Him

    Babies don’t read parenting, sleep, breastfeeding books etc

    Get HELP with breastfeeding before you give up, even if you’re child is a year or older.

  34. Katie @ Sew Many Mamas says:

    LOVE reading all the comments! What a sweet community and gathering of words of encouragement.

    As a mama to a 10 month old, I would echo a repeating theme– Let love guide you. Let your baby guide you. All will be well.

  35. Yuna says:

    Ohhhh, thanks for you sweet words and advices, I need them :-p

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