The response was overwhelming, with nearly 2500 parents offering their wisdom. And considering we asked for only five words we were so.
No, we’re NOT expecting any more babies — but since I’ve already had that “expecting experience” 4 times (and since I get asked for my tips on this topic all the time) I’m re-sharing a post I wrote a few years ago (with several updates based on more years of mothering experience!)
There are SO many words of wisdom, life lessons, and pieces of advice seasoned parents can share with soon-to-be parents… however, I also think it’s nearly impossible for new parents to truly grasp, understand, and believe most of it until after they have their first baby and actually have first-hand experience.
At least that’s how it worked for me!
All the books, classes, and helpful tips from well-meaning friends and family were essentially pointless for me because I learned parenthood by “doing” and “first-hand experiences” — whether I was ready for it or not!
These are not things like attend birthing classes, listen to podcasts on natural birthing strategies, visit lactation consultants, or read every single parenting book on the market (although feel free to do any of those too!)
NO, these are actual to-dos you can complete and cross off your list NOW, and then rest a little easier knowing that some of these important tasks are out of the way before baby arrives!
I realize that with a new baby on the way, the added yearly expense of a life insurance policy might not be your top priority — but I would highly encourage you to give it some thought.
Even if you have $0 in debt, a fully funded retirement account, a nicely padded emergency fund, a hefty amount in your savings account, and 2 full-time, somewhat secure incomes, I would personally suggest buying some sort of life insurance.
Dave and I pay less than $400 a year for $500,000 of insurance — and based on our standard of living, that’s plenty to give us peace of mind in the event of a tragedy.
Some people suggest only buying life insurance for the working parent(s), but I suggest buying it for both parents because if the non-working spouse dies, the working spouse now needs to hire someone to care for the child, take care of the house, etc.
And heaven-forbid, if something happens to both parents, this insurance money would go to your new baby and would pay for future expenses, schooling, etc. to help out whatever family member will now be caring for your child.
Speaking of both parents passing away, I think anyone with children absolutely MUST have a Will and/or a Living Trust.
I explained a bit more about the process Dave and I went through to create our Dekker Family Living Trust in this post… but it’s honestly a really simple process once you find an attorney you want to work with.
It literally took Dave and I a couple hours to get some of the requested paperwork together, then we had to bring a letter (provided by our attorney) to our bank, Dave’s school, and our various investment places, sign a few documents, write the check, and we were finished.
Now I can sleep a little easier knowing that if something DID happen to both Dave and I, our kids would be fully protected and taken care of (without needing to go to court or, potentially, a foster family until things got sorted out). Our assets would be allocated accordingly, and our family would have easy access to everything they needed to care for our things and our children.
I know, this one might sound trivial compared to the first two, but it’s really important… and I’ve read statistics that as many as 60% of carseats are installed incorrectly! Also, make sure anyone who will be driving your children around knows how to properly install their car seat (and how to properly secure the child in the car seat).
My best advice would be to visit the website for the brand of car seat you have. They usually have installation videos right on their site. You can also visit a local fire station to have your car seat inspected if you are concerned about anything.
Although you might feel silly, it’s not a bad idea to practice getting the car seat in and out of the car a few times before you have a baby in it. Dave and I did not do this and we literally spent a good 5-10 minutes trying to figure out how to get the infant car seat to latch onto the base in the back of our car. Our nurse even tried helping (and it was freezing cold at the end of November!)
Again, this might sound trivial, but anything you can do NOW, before the baby is born, will save you lots of stress later.
When Nora was born, I never even considered how much more difficult it would be to schedule Dr. appointments, dentist appointments, haircuts, etc. until about 2 weeks after she was born and I literally had a dentist appointment, a Dr. appointment, and a haircut all in the same day!
I can still vividly remember that day (every single detail — even what we were wearing!) Nora basically screamed all day long — which made me SO stressed, which I’m sure didn’t help her at all, and by the time I got to my haircut appointment, I literally broke down in tears.
When the other kids were born, I made sure to schedule a hair cut and my dentist appointment the week before (I never go early!) and enjoyed a cute new hairstyle and nice clean teeth without all the stress of trying to work my schedule around a newborn!
If this is your first baby, you will probably have the luxury of getting several meals brought in from family and friends — however it’s not always a ‘for sure’ deal.
I would HIGHLY suggest spending a good amount of time in your kitchen before you head to the hospital, because even if you love to cook and bake, there will be plenty of days after the baby is born when you just can’t muster up the energy to make something as simple as a grilled cheese (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything!)
And when you’re trying to eat healthy for your baby, to lose those extra pounds, and to keep your emotions in check, snacking on junk food all day and eating fast food for dinner every night is not the way to go.
I tried to have several fully-prepared meals in my freezer (around 10) plus lots of cooked, chopped, and pre-portioned meats so I could make up a quick casserole, add grilled chicken to a salad, or make a pulled pork sandwich at the last minute.
This was a huge sanity-saver for me after all of my deliveries — and something I recommend to every expectant mother!
Before Nora was born, I had absolutely NO idea all the different free (and paid-for) parenting and baby programs and resources that were all around me. There are SO many local programs in my area for information, support, counseling, fun activities, etc. and I didn’t take advantage of any of them until well after Nora’s first birthday.
If you’re expecting a baby or if you have young children, do a Google search for your city or town, ask friends with older kids, talk with your doctor or healthcare providers, contact local public schools, and consult with county officials — you might just be amazed at the free resources you find. And just being aware of what’s out there might be really helpful for you once the baby is born.
This is another one of those “I don’t want to do it, but know I should do it” tasks I would highly recommend crossing off your list before you head to the hospital.
Insurance companies are sneaky and unless you REALLY REALLY understand your insurance policy, you could get caught off-guard with some major medical expenses after the baby is born.
Do you know what your deductible is? What about your out-of-pocket maximum? Do you know what percentage of labor and delivery your insurance company covers? And better yet, do you know what your insurance company actually considers as acceptable “labor and delivery charges” or “mother/baby charges” or “prenatal care charges” or “well child charges”?
If not, you might want to figure that out as soon as possible so you can prepare financially.
Since Dave works for a Christian non-profit, non-government employer, they have a lot of control over their insurance, so we actually have pretty good insurance. But we have friends whose insurance is crazy and they end up with more than $10,000 of medical bills after each baby is born (after insurance covers their portion).
Thankfully, Dave and I knew what our “out-of-pocket maximum was” so we could plan accordingly and save up money in our HSA (health savings account) to cover any medical bills and baby expenses ahead of time — which made paying our hospital bills a lot less stressful after our babies were born.
You know me, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to plan ahead and be prepared. And you better believe that if there was a sure-fire, fool-proof way to assure I was 100% prepared to bring my babies home from the hospital, I would have done anything and everything I could to have crossed that off my list.
Unfortunately, there’s not!
So while you may certainly continue to attend your natural birthing classes, read up on all those parenting books, and smile graciously when well-wishers tell you to “sleep when baby sleeps” and that “your life will never be the same”, I hope you also realize there is most likely no way you can possibly grasp what being a parent will be like until you’re actually living it and doing it.
I’m not saying this to scare you or make you worry more than you might already be worrying — but instead, to allow you to step back and relax, knowing that there is no class or book or friend or old lady in the grocery store who can articulate just what being a parent is going to be like for you. I guess that’s both really cool and really scary at the same time!
Meanwhile, take some of the advice on my list above to make the transition go more smoothly!
Even if you aren’t expecting a baby right now, if you have older kids, (or you’re expecting your 3rd, 4th, or 5th baby) I still think almost everything on the list above could apply to you in some way or another.
However, for those of you who are embarking on the huge life-change journey called Parenthood, I think this list is THAT much more important for you to think about — and hopefully take action on!
Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS, by the way!
Parenthood is amazing… challenging, overwhelming, exhausting, aggravating, but still amazing!
Filed under: Family • Parenting • Pregnancy • Children
So with all of you expecting mothers out there in mind (and a very special I think if I had to give a new mom my top three words of advice it.
Most mothers agree that becoming a new Mom can be the most exciting and the most terrifying adventure you’ll have in life. As you bring new life into the world, you’ll be faced with plenty of challenges – but it ‘ll be all be worth it in the end. From your baby’s first smile to the moment they open their eyes, the love you’ll have for your baby is endless. So if you’re looking for new mom quotes to help prepare you for the experience to come, or you need special messages to add to your baby shower invitations, we’ve got you covered. Check out our favorite new mom quotes below.
The following quotes highlight the gift of carrying life. Whether you’re having a particularly hard day of maternity or you’re looking for inspirational quotes for your baby shower messages, these quotes are perfect.
The following mommy to be quotes and sayings are perfect additions to birth announcements or messages for a baby book.
These having a baby quotes are both realistic and inspirational. Read them below and save your favorites for a rainy day.
Make something extra special for the new mom in your life by pairing one of the following first time mom quotes with a shadow box that she can keep mementos in.
I am 35 weeks pregnant with our second child. I am in awe of the way God intricately designed our bodies to carry children, as well as His beautiful design of family. The older I get, the more grateful I am for the beauty of marriage and parenting.
I have some incredible women in my life who celebrated my role as a mother and the life of this child with a baby shower just a few weeks ago. Right before opening up the most thoughtful gifts for the baby, everyone went around and shared some of their best advice to encourage me as I transition as a mother of one to a mother of two children!
Their words were inspiring and I wanted to share them with you today to give you hope and bits of wisdom to help you on your journey of motherhood, whether you are about to have one child or ten!
These are great reminders of treasuring the gift of motherhood and the precious lives we are looking after.
Enjoy your little ones and pick your battles carefully.
Don’t strive for perfect children with perfect behavior, rather focus on the few major areas you want to train your child. Sometimes as moms we can overwhelm ourselves with the belief that our children must perfect all the time and this is unrealistic…God, our Father, knows we cannot even attain this “perfection” as adults!
Ask for help.
This advice was reiterated by several other moms at my shower. We cannot convince ourselves that we can do it all…even if we really want to. Taking the time to invite another into our mess so they can help us builds up trust and reliance in a relationship. Don’t be shy, ask for the help you need.
Hold your baby more.
I love physical touch! It must be one of my top love languages! The season our children can sit in our laps comfortably only lasts a short while. Make time to hold your baby before you realize he/she is not a baby anymore.
Children will test you when you are nursing, but it is worth it to “unplug” to acknowledge them and affirm for them that you are still their mama too!
This is an important one for the transition your child(ren) are adjusting to with the new baby. Be sure to show all of your children that they are sharing your attention and they need to respect the choices you make to tend to one of them at a time.
Be intentional about having special mommy time.
This is two-sided, meaning you need time for yourself, and then each of your children need alone time with you. For some of us that means we must schedule it so that nothing hinders us or distracts us from doing it.
Give yourself extra time before going anywhere.
I am not that great at being places on time, although it is always my goal to do so out of respect for those I am meeting. With the more children we have, the more time we must give ourselves when planning to leave the house.
Help each child adjust to the next sibling by letting them help as much as possible.
Kids need to be trusted with responsibilities. Don’t assume they are too small or incapable to help out. This one may require more patience as everything in you tries to be efficient and quick so that you can tend to multiple things throughout the day, however the training of each child to help out is vital for how they mature into helping adults.
Make snuggle time in the morning with kids a priority.
You can set the time on this as your day permits. The encouragement here is not to start the day feeling overwhelmed with to-do-lists, but rather being an intentional mom who knows one of her biggest priorities is loving her children well!
Remember that your strengths are found in God and His grace is abounding, new every morning!
Don’t rely on yourself to care for, train, and love your children. Doing so will leave you feeling completely drained. Find confidence in inviting The Lord to help you through each and every day. One practical way of doing this is by praying for you, your husband and your children throughout the day.
Keep a cookbook holder on your counter.
A friend of mine said that with her second child, finding time to spend in God’s Word became a challenge. She bought a cookbook holder and placed her Bible open on it, where it continues to sit on her kitchen counter, reminding her daily to dive in to the one place that will positively provide the strength needed to mother.
Nobody gives better parenting advice than the parents themselves. We gathered some of the best tips and words of wisdom for new parents.
There's no shortage of advice available to new moms. Between best-selling parenting books, well-meaning family and friends, and even strangers on the street, there's plenty of advice to consider. Just sifting through the sheer amount of information that comes your way can be a daunting task—how do you know whose advice to take and whose to (respectfully) disregard?
Because we're of the mindset that honest parenting advice from real moms is one of the best resources out there, we asked the smart, insightful mothers and experts in the area of parenting to share their words of wisdom. Their comments had us nodding in agreement, laughing out loud, and looking for a pen and paper to jot down notes.
So, without further ado, here are six real moms on navigating the early stages of motherhood, listening to your instincts, and figuring it out as you go.
"Most mamas in today's culture think they are supposed to be busy doing so much for their children... What babies need more than anything is a present and self-aware mama who is gentle with herself and grounded," says Dr. Colleen Crowley, a mother, child psychologist, and co-founder of Brushies. "This grounded presence is what helps wire a baby's brain for the rest of their life," she adds.
"This is for real, so say it to yourself over and over and over. They won’t go to college with a soother. They will stop waking up three times a night. They will eat with a fork. So take it for what it is and don’t try and rush your littles ones through and age or stage; you’ll look back and wish you hadn’t," Jen Kelly and Becca Perren, mothers and founders of Pehr advise.
"There is so much pressure to 'bounce back' post-baby," new first-time mom and co-founder of Tone It Up, Katrina Scott tells MyDomaine. "Our bodies are not the same as they were pre-baby—and they shouldn't be. They are stronger," she explains. "I want every mom to know that you are a superwoman. You created a miracle and your body is remarkable. Let's all treat ourselves with more love, patience, and compassion."
"If your child falls over for the first time it’s probably likely you do not need to visit the emergency room," says Jen Auerbach, mother and co-founder of Clary Collection.
"This will help immensely in getting a baby to sleep without milk," explains Dr. Hilary Fritsch, a mom, family dentist, and co-founder of Brushies. "My favorite routine is bath, cuddle, milk, book, brush, jammies, sleep sack, song, bed," she notes.
"Most of the concerns I see parents have with their kiddos (whether in infancy or adolescence) is sadly a projection of their own insecurities," Crowley explains. "When we can be aware of our fears and how often we impose them on our children it allows us to separate ourselves and really see and appreciate who they are and enjoy the process much more," she continues. "We need to trust that this little person is unfolding just as they should, as opposed to on a timeline we have scripted for them."
"Everyone will give you advice, solicited or not when you are about to have a baby or have a newborn," according to Kelly and Perren. "It’s extremely valuable to listen to the experience and perspectives of others, as it can help you form your own opinions, but make sure that you know that what is right for some families may not be right for yours. Let your motherly instinct kick-in and listen to it instead," they say.
"When you're cleared to exercise, that doesn't mean you should jump right back in at the same pace you were before," according to Scott. "To start, keep your fitness goals small, manageable, and realistic for you. And remember that every bit counts—whether that's going for a walk with your family or squeezing in a quick naptime workout."
"Sleep like you’re not going to sleep for the next three years," Auerbach urges. "Allow people to help you. If someone offers to bring food or watch your baby so you can nap it’s most likely they’ve been in your shoes. Don’t attempt to be superwoman. You already are. You created and birthed a baby," she continues.
"Everyone you know will have advice and opinions about how you are raising your baby... However, you are the only real expert on your baby and what he or she may need," says Crowley. "So when you are feeling like you want to ask an expert about something, first get quiet and in touch with your own sense of what might be going on with your little one and how you could best meet that need," she advises.
"You will never regret having too many pictures of your kids," according to Kelly and Perren. "As your baby grows, you'll stumble upon pictures of them (and you) and they will make your day. We’ve found that looking back on them as babies also helps to put your child’s age and stage into perspective when you are going through some rough patches. These pictures will become your most valued possessions," they note.
"There is no such thing [as being the perfect mother]," Auerbach says. "Being a mom is one of the hardest titles to hold but one of the most rewarding. Trust your instincts and don’t judge yourself through social media. Do not be hard on yourself or get discouraged if you fail. If you fall down, get back up, and try something else," she adds.
"Now isn’t the time to cut calories or go on a restrictive eating plan," Scott says. "This is so important for a healthy mama and baby. Make sure you're nourishing your body so you can be fueled to care for your little one. Concentrate on nutrient-packed foods that are rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and folate," she advises.
"Breastfeeding may not happen for you, [whether it's] hard to latch, a medical condition, or it just might not be what you want to do," Auerbach explains. "This is extremely common; do not think you are a failure," she continues.
"This is basically just a good lesson for life, period. But the birth, labor, and delivery rarely go exactly how you envision or plan for it to unfold. So the best advice we ever received is to remember that whatever is going to happen, is going to happen," Kelly and Perren say. "There is no amount of planning, wishing, or hoping that will change it. So try your best to relax and be accepting of this. It will make a huge difference in how you experience this life-changing moment."
"Surrounding yourself with other new moms is so important! You can turn to each other for support, encouragement, and advice," Scott points out.
"I trust parents to make good decisions for their families," says Fritsch. "You know what you're doing. Trust yourself."
"It is so easy to lose sight of your relationship and even yourself. I barely remember those first few weeks of motherhood," Auerbach admits. "Between exhaustion, blood clots, and a failing feeding schedule, it can be hard to find quality time to reconnect with your partner. However, it is crucial that you make time. Remember it takes two to make a baby," she notes.
"It takes work. Lots of it, so expect that there will be times when it feels hard to connect [with your child] or that you need to work through some issues," says Kelly and Perren. "Meditation and reflection are really helpful tools for this, as is leaning on your mom friends as all mothers go through this with their kids," they advise. "Sometimes, although you have it in you, you just need a little guidance to get back on track," the founders add.
"No matter what's going on—even through the tough days and the sleepless nights—just know that you are the best mama in the world to your baby. When things get tough, you'll know what to do. You were made for this and you are doing incredible," Scott says.
What babies need more than anything is a present and self-aware mama who is gentle with herself and grounded
Our bodies are not the same as they were pre-baby—and they shouldn't be.
Expect that there will be times when it feels hard to connect [with your child] or that you need to work through some issues.
regular hilarity. Read the inspiring, funny, and touching words of parents who have come before you. a pregnant woman holding her belly. "Every child born .