What I wish I knew BEFORE the baby arrived

Motherhood is unlike any other. I promise, being a parent will fill your heart with so much joy and that will help overpower the tough days. But, they don’t give you a manual for parenting, and it is hard. 

Parenting challenges your sense of control, mom guilt is real, and sleep deprivation can compound the irrational emotions your postpartum body is already having.  

You will receive so much advice before your baby arrives. Things like “get all your sleep now, it’s your chance to eat for two, don’t dress your baby in white.” It has good intentions, but it isn’t SUPER helpful for actually navigating life with a newborn and helping YOU through the postpartum stage. 

Before I gave birth, I wish someone gave me honest advice to make my postpartum self calm down and feel like a better mom. I think it would have changed my outlook on a lot of things. 

I promise you WILL be a good mom, even if you are struggling. 

Here’s a long list of good advice from real moms answering the question, “what I wish I knew before the baby arrived.”

mom with baby on changing pad


@whitepuffycloud - Pregnancy is hard. You will ache, you will be moody, and your body will hate you. It’s ok to not love being pregnant.

@kelseygaede1 - Take the nap!

@mrstylerc - A postpartum plan might be more important to have than a birth plan! Keep discussing it through your pregnancy with your partner and take time to cultivate your village.

@chelsey.christiansen - During pregnancy, talk extensively with your partner about what daily life tasks they want to be in charge of after the baby arrives (this includes the baby). It will give them confidence and you a break. I really WISH I would have done this. 

@prrrow - Get in as many date nights as you can.

@arlene.drynfluff - Don’t read too many pregnancy books. It’ll only overwhelm you. Also, you are allowed to let other people’s “advice” go in one ear and out the other.

@stephcayley - Worry less about prepping a cute nursery and photo-worthy outfits and spend more time on practical stuff like freezer meals or setting up nursing/diapering baskets with everything you need in one spot.

@carlsberg_rogue - Advice I WISH I'd been given: PREPARE FOR POSTPARTUM. You research pregnancy and newborn care but omg you need to prepare for postpartum care for YOU.

mom with baby on infant play matt


@alpha_ginger42 - Register at the hospital several weeks before your due date. It's so much easier giving them all your insurance information and signing the consent forms when you're not in the midst of labor.

@hope.freckled- Look into having a doula or birth coach, which can reduce your risk of cesarean by 25% (if that is not what you are needing or wanting). They support your partner to play the starring role in supporting you but take off the pressure that they need to remember everything you learn in childbirth ed. They can just be a dad welcoming their baby, too. She can help you with tons of comfort measures and supports YOUR birth plan-- no matter what that looks like. 

@meg.meg.5 - Bring a binder to organize all the paperwork they give you at the hospital! Just had our baby and that was a lifesaver!

mom with baby sleeping in bassinet

Life with a newborn

@melissaschweisman - Plan? What’s the plan? Seriously get prepped for that mindset.

@mrstacticle - Have no expectations.

@krismaek - First-time moms- when you are terrified at home that you don’t know what you’re doing, just know the baby is more scared of the world than you are of them. They need you to just love them. That’s all.

@el.em.gee - Someone said to me, "In the first few months with a baby, there WILL be a point where you cry uncontrollably in the shower and think you've made the biggest mistake of your life. Don't worry. It's normal. And it WILL get better."

@no.direction.home - Do not turn away any help. After you have the baby, you are not in the mental state of mind to know what needs to be done around the home or what you need, so take some time to write a list of chores or errands or food you like to eat. When people ask, you have a task to give them. People feel good about helping too, nobody is put out. 

@sdusky24 - Let your partner do as much as possible and ask for help. They can help feed the baby if you pump or do formula bottles, cook (even if that means take out), clean, do laundry, etc.

@mmthurner - What you are most comfortable with is what will be best for the baby - hospital vs home delivery, daycare vs in-home vs nanny vs stay home, breastfed vs bottle-fed....so many of the decisions we stress over can be boiled down to what we are most comfortable with. If we are happy and confident in our decision, the baby will feel that.

@verochid - Trust yourself. Trust your gut. You know more than you think, sis. Just be confident in your intuition.

@chelsey.christiansen - It is ok to feel like parenting isn’t actually 50-50. Just know that your partner is new at this too. They might be scared, worried, or honestly not know what or how to help. But they love the baby just as much as you do. 

@rista_e_c - It's just as ok to put your baby down as it is not to. 

@celeebe - If you have ten things you want to do that day, and you only complete one thing it’s still an accomplishment, don’t be upset if things go undone.

mom feeding a small child

Photo Credit: @bumpsandbottles


@droste_effect - It can take 5 weeks or so for your milk supply to normalize and for breastfeeding to feel easier. It helped me be patient through the hardest days around weeks 2-3!

@curran9764 - Don’t worry if you can’t or don’t breastfeed. I tried my hardest and couldn’t and I really beat myself up about it. Looking back now I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself.

@erica.speare - I wish I wasn't so hard on myself because of breastfeeding. I was always wanting more for my kids and I wish I called it quits earlier than 6 months and didn't beat myself up for it when I couldn't do it anymore.

@hope.freckled- Get GOOD support and spend time getting educated on breastfeeding if you want to do it. Meet an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) covered by your insurance before the baby arrives so you have a point person if you run into BF challenges.

baby sleeping in portable bassinet

Newborn Sleep

@regalobaby - Most newborns suck at sleeping. It’s not you, it’s them. And it WILL get better. 

@chelsey.christiansen - My child would only nap 45 minutes until they were about 6 months old. I read TOO much, tried TOO many things, worried endlessly, and overall felt like such a failure. As a person who likes control, it was devastating to feel like I had none. But know, it will be ok and you’re not doing anything wrong. 

@chelsey.christiansen - Sleep, when the baby sleeps, is a wonderful thought. It can’t always happen, because of LIFE. If you get the chance to nap, take advantage. If you rarely get to, don’t let it overwhelm you. 

@regalobaby - Try really hard to allow/have your partner help for one nighttime feeding. Even if it is just a few days a week. You might wake up anyway and not go back to sleep until they are back in bed, but at least you didn’t have to get out of bed. 

It is great to read this now, but it may be even better to come back to it when you are in the depths of life with newborn and postpartum emotions. If you can remember one thing, know you got this mama, and you are ENOUGH. 

Shop This Post

Next Article