"Opinion" Giving advice to new moms

Jennifer Bonn

Jen Bonn

I was speaking to a woman yesterday whose son and daughter-in-law are having their first baby. She told me her daughter-in-law thought birth and taking care of a baby was going to be easy and although she wanted to help her with some advice, she wasn’t sure how to offer it and how much to give. I told her that I decided not to provide any advice to my daughter unless she had asked me for it. I thought that was a great plan, but she told me later that she wished I had told her more. So how much advice should you give a new mom? Here are what my daughter Jess and I came up with for the essential advice to give any new mom.

If you want to help prepare a new mom, tell her that birth and taking care of a baby is messy. Of course, there is the actual messy part of changing diapers, and cleaning up spit-up, but I mean that life rarely goes according to plan when a baby enters your life. There are nights when the baby won’t stop crying, and when he does, you think you will do the same thing next time, but the next time, it doesn’t work. It’s a time when a sense of humor and support from family and friends can save your sanity. There isn’t a definitive guidebook that works for every baby, and schedules will have to be flexible.

You might want to tell her not to worry about trying to be perfect. Don’t compare yourself to other moms as long as your baby is healthy and happy, you are rocking it. The house might not be clean, the baby might have a dirty, two-day-old shirt on, and you have spit up on your shoulder, but it’s o.k.

Suggest to a new mom to set boundaries. When the baby first comes home, everyone wants to come to visit, but the mom is exhausted and trying to figure everything out. Don’t feel bad about telling people you need some rest.

Let new moms know they are not expected to know everything. Encourage them to ask questions. Suggest that they join a mom’s group. It can be helpful to hear those other mothers are experiencing the same struggles and joys.

I think you need to be careful to not overwhelm a new mom with too much at once. Let her know you are there when she needs you.

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I am passionate about running, parenting, education, and self-help information. I enjoy writing articles that will offer readers the information needed to help them in some way. I recently retired from teaching French and Spanish for forty years. I run every day and have done all kinds of races from 5ks to ultra-marathons. I have three children and three grandchildren. I write for several magazines in my area, I am a contributor and in charge of the Pinterest board for a parenting magazine called Screamin Mamas, and I have a second book about to be released through Loving, Healing Press called 101 Tips to Ease Your Burdens.

Kennesaw, GA

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