Motherhood

15 Things I’d Want to Tell a New Mother

Joanna Goddard and Anton

A few of my friends had new babies this spring, and while looking into their wide, shell-shocked eyes, I remember what it’s like to have a wriggly tiny life in your arms. Everything seems chaotic and hazy and wonderful and exhausting. Here’s what I’d tell those new mothers…

First off, the first thing I would say — which is 10,000% true — is, IT GETS EASIER.

A reader left the loveliest comment years ago: “Bless you, new moms. If you’re trying, you’re doing a great job.”

Here are a few posts that may help during the first year:

1. Here’s what no one told me about breastfeeding, including a book that saved me.

2. 10 tips for traveling with a baby, like our happiest discovery: sit apart on the plane!

3. Fresh air cures everything and somehow seems to cheer everyone up instantly.

4. Don’t forget to kiss your partner.

5. A baby food epiphany! A pear + a spoon.

6. Breastfeeding in public? You go right ahead, mama.

7. 8 questions to ask a new babysitter. Friends have sometimes lamented that they can’t leave their baby with a stranger. But this person is only a stranger until you meet them. At least in our experience, a nanny will soon feel like a beloved new member of the family.

8. Trust your gut. I love this motherhood mantra from Amy Poehler: “Good for her, not for me.” Plus, a few wonderful parenting books, if you’re in the mood.

9. Work/life balance is not easy! I struggled for years and still don’t have it totally down. But here are a few mothers’ day-to-day stories.

10. How to keep up your marriage after kids. (Loved the comments.)

11. After much thought, here’s my advice on sleep, for what it’s worth: Figure out the method that works best for your family and go for it. My friend Leigh is passionate about co-sleeping (and shares a family bed with her family of five), while we chose to sleep train our children, and it worked really well for all of us. Since then, our boys have been great sleepers, and happily fall asleep after we kiss them good night at 7:30 p.m. With Anton, we had a harder time teaching him to sleep (a.k.a. I was slowly losing my mind) since his sleep was ALL OVER THE MAP and we were exhausted taking care of Toby, too. So, we enlisted the genius Kimberly Walker, who came up with a personalized sleep plan for us, and then was available over text/phone for a week afterward for my million little questions. She was a true lifesaver for us, and I’d highly recommend her, if you need extra guidance. She was kind, funny and wise. For example, when I said, “Should I feed Anton when he wakes up at 4 a.m.? I think he might be hungry,” she told me, “Think about those times when you stay up late at a party, and on the walk home at 4 a.m., you get a slice of pizza. Do you need that pizza? There is a big difference between wanting to eat and needing to eat. He doesn’t need the pizza.”

12. And, above all, always and forever, babies be babies. :)

If you’re pregnant with your second child:

13. Preparing your older child for a new baby. (That first moment is so beautiful! Be still, my mama heart.)

14. Toby was pretty wobbly after Anton arrived. He was so, so sweet to Anton, always, but threw tantrums with us and was very emotional overall. As we helped the boys get their bearings, here are 5 tips about sibling rivalry that really saved the day. Now they are little buddies with a million inside jokes (and not too much rough-and-tumbleness:).

15. Raising Your First Child Versus Your Second Child. (Made me laugh.)

One random tip: Talking to my sweet baby made me feel so much better. I would coo and chit chat, of course, but also say things like, “I’m sorry I was so grumpy this morning. I was really tired. I love you so much. We’re going to have a great day together.” It made me feel connected, no matter what.

And, for me, the whole world cracked open once they could talk. :)

Your baby is beautiful. You will feel like yourself again. It gets so much easier!!!!!

Lots of love to you, new mothers. Sending huge hugs. What would you add? xoxoxo

P.S. 12 posts for you, if you’re pregnant or trying.

  1. I’ll be honest, the baby posts haven’t really been my thing for years (I have an 11 and 14 year old) – but now that I’m not only expecting for the THIRD time, there’s so many factors involved that almost make it feel like it’s my first. And I’m all over the internet searching for ideas, researching products, and finally accepting that I need to start buying actual maternity clothes. I even gave in and started blogging about my pregnancy journey since it’s literally always on my mind–and in my belly. This post is excellent in so many ways!

    https://eemmllee.wordpress.com/

  2. Caitlin says...

    I really enjoy these posta, and I’d love to read a motherhood post about being/becoming a stepmom… preferably before September when officially become one!

  3. I can’t wait to explore those links. I’m not a mom but would like to be one someday. Having these resources make me feel safe!

  4. Thank you Joanna! I had my third child a week ago and I woke up bleary eyed one morning to this post and found it a good reminder and so so helpful and comforting. Best thing for me is I know how quickly this newborn period is and how she will end up learning to sleep and how quickly life will become about racing from school to sport to music to swimming lessons and arguing arguing arguing about the smallest thing… so basically I have to make the most of the sleepless nights and endless breastfeeding! Thank you!!

  5. Love all the advice on this!! I think it is so important to share the information so new moms feel supported. It’s a difficult, but wonderful journey! Great article!

    http://www.farmwifecrazylife.com

  6. leathermansgal says...

    Great post, thanks Jo!

  7. Elizabeth says...

    I’ve have found two mantras to be very helpful in parenting.
    1) The days are long but the years are short. This has helped me to remember that the long days will eventually be over and things will get better!
    2) Good for you, not for me! Parenting is such a personal journey and this saying (which I found on this blog) helps me remember that there is no ONE way to parent. You have to find what works for you and your family.

    • leathermansgal says...

      love this…good for you, not for me. Stealing that. :)

  8. Kate harris says...

    Joanna, thanks for creating a space that feels mom-friendly and supportive, but also recognizes that we like books and movies and fun clothes and tasty recipes and struggle and laugh and play. Your “mom” posts always speak to me; but then all your cool lady posts do too!

  9. Emma says...

    I too appreciate the positive nature of all the comments on this blog. Feels very supportive. I am 21 weeks with my first and have hated every minute of being pregnant. I started to doubt if motherhood was for me because pregnancy sure isn’t. This is yet to be determined.

    I sold a chair to a sweet old lady on Craigslist who had many grown children. She paused and excused herself from giving me advice. She said, “babies can’t be loved too much. If all you do for the first 2 years is love and spoil, that will be great.” I thought the advice was cute, when in doubt just love up on it. I can do that!

  10. Justine Clark says...

    I just wanted to jump back in and compliment all the posters for such a respectful and thoughtful series of comments. It’s clear there are many parenting styles represented in this thread, and I always feel so grateful when these difference are shared and explored in such a kind and non-confrontational way. Way to go all of us! And thank you Joanna for curating such a great community of post and people.

  11. Lisa says...

    As a mother of a 2.5 month old – thank you for this post! It’s good to know it gets better. The first few weeks were so tough I kept on thinking (and this is after years of trying and finally conceiving through ivf, so a very wanted baby) “why didn’t we just get a kitten?!” It’s already better now (he’s sleeping at night, and is alert and smiley during the day) but every now and then I have a major panic about being a parent for the rest of my life. It’s so terrifying being responsible for someone and having to learn so much in such a short space if time (with high stakes). One of the best pieces of advice I read (and it may have been here, I’m not sure) is at the newborn stage, just take it two weeks at a time. I did it for breast feeding. At first it was painful and exhausting (he wouldn’t sleep for more than an hour during the day, and for more than 15 minutes at night) and he wasn’t latching properly and I was exhausted, but I thought “just try it for two more weeks”. I also saw a lactation consultant who sorted out the latching issue, and two months later we’re going strong.

    For friends of new parents I would say – don’t buy flowers (or anything else that needs looking after. It will die), buy chocolate instead. The best present we got was a massive tray of ferrerro rocher chocolates.

    • Smitha says...

      You read my mind Lisa! I’m in the same boat as you, and it is starting to get better. Recovering from the C-section took a really long time for me, and I’m only just starting to spend time and bonding with the baby!

      Feeding is always anxiety ridden for me though, as I swing between is she getting enough? to overfull breasts. Returning to work throws another ball into the whole mix, with all the others i’m already juggling. It gets overwhelming, and reading these posts, and the comments really helps me through the day!

      Keep the motherhood articles coming Joanna, you’re making a big difference!

  12. Anna says...

    Thank you Joanna, and everyone who has commented! I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and seem to find a new thing to be anxious about each and every day. This article reminds me that trying my best is likely to be good enough! Will be bookmarking this page to read during the sleepness nights I’m sure we’ve got ahead!

  13. Eva says...

    The thing I found most difficult as a new mother was not so much being told what I should and shouldn’t do but constantly being told how I should feel. There’s a narrative around childbirth as this exultant moment of joy,where you will fall instantly in love in a way you never have before.I’m sure this happens to lots of people but not everyone and certainly not to me.Dealing with the overwhelming guilt of not instantly loving my twin boys made an already difficult time as a new mother almost unbearable.

    It took months for me to feel anything more than obligation.It didn’t lessen the way I cared for them,if anything it made me more conscious of doing everything I possibly could to make up for the fact that I felt little emotion for them.

    So many well-intentioned people told me while I was pregnant about how amazing it would feel when they were born and afterwards about how incredible it must have been to have not just one baby but two.It made me feel constantly sick that I couldn’t love these two tiny boys the way they should be loved.

    Eventually I broke down and told an old friend who had older twins how I felt and she did exactly what I needed -she hugged me and said “they are happy and healthy and hopefully it will feel different for you soon”.She didn’t tell me it would,didn’t impose her experience on mine,she just acknowledged that those were my legitimate feelings.Saying that hopefully it would change helped a lot.Eventually things did start to change but it was gradual and very slow.I still feel guilty (and jealous) when I hear people talk about falling in love with their newborn.

    • meryl says...

      Eva- although I didn’t have the same feelings you did upon the birth of my almost 5yr old… This is my take away- Do you love your partner now more than you did when you first fell in love? or when you married – etc? Because I love Liam soooo much more now than when he was born. I can’t get enough of him… As your child/ren grow when they become people and not just eating/pooping machines and their own selves show…that to me is the best – the joy – of him.
      It took us years to have him and during my pregnancy I was fraught with fear-I would loose him.
      I envy woman who talk about their wonderful pregnancies… the connecting the bliss.. blah blah blah.
      Your babies have you and you are the momma they’re supposed to have. There are no accidents… god bless

  14. I love this post, such great, heart-warming advice. You’re sincerity is evident. For me the hardest part was the uncertainty of sleep. I’m a gal who likes to know that she can get 7 to 8 hours each night. Not knowing if and when that would happen slowing drove me bananas. What helped the most for me was other new mothers. https://rudeysroom.com/2015/02/17/transitions-to-motherhood/

  15. Brigitte says...

    1) it’s ok not being able to breastfeed.
    i wanted it so much but my baby just kept falling asleep as soon her mouth touched my nipple. none of the midwife’s tricks helped. so after trying very hard for four weeks i had to give up and bottle feed my baby. and it was fine. i am saying this because these days there is so much pressure on new mums to breast feed that it can seem like an enormous failure not being able to. if it works, it’s fine, if it doens’t, it is fine, too.
    2) everything is just a phase.
    3) i wish someone had told me that actually year 1-2 is more exhausting than 0-1.
    4) the baby age is sooooo short. enjoy every moment.
    5) things i would never ever buy again if i had another baby:
    a big baby stroller (in the first year i carried my daughter in a baby carrier pretty much everywhere; i think i used the big baby stroller only 10 times) and later i used a buggy (mclaren) which is much more convenient if you live in a city.
    a crib mobile (it might look cute but it only keeps the baby awake when it is supposed to sleep).
    a diaper bag (i did not buy one and first i had my doubts but actually any tote bag will do the same job, so no need to spend money on huge fancy diaper bags).
    5) don’t be afraid of traveling with your baby. it is actually quite easy. i traveled with my daughter seven out of the first twelve months. we took her on her first trip (to the south of france) when she was only eight weeks old. and it was a great experience!

    • Lisa says...

      I found having travelled with a small baby really helpful for when I needed to psyche myself up. We took our son from London to France (to visit family) when he was 8 weeks old. Since then, every time I’ve needed to do something daunting I just think “you took a small baby overseas. You can handle this”.

    • Julia says...

      “Everything is just a phase” – this is so true and telling this to myself keeps me through the rough moments of motherhood. It sounds so logical and simple, but being a mother of a newborn makes you feel that time passes really slow day for day and you tend to feel that baby’s problems might stay forever :-)

    • Geny says...

      “Everything is just a phase” is my motherhood mantra!! So true.
      I also felt like year 1-2 was more chalenging and exhausting than 0-1! I thought I was the only one…

  16. marie says...

    I told myself and my baby ‘we’ll figure it out’ – simply based on the comforting thought that millions of babies and mothers before us figured it out, too ! Even if there is a bad day, you’ll figure it out !

  17. Alice says...

    I would advise to talk to other new moms : they’re going through the exact same pain as you. When you talk to your own mother / aunt etc, they don’t remember the hard times. They look back with nostalgia and forget the though moments.

  18. My son is five and I am expecting my second boy in three weeks! people love to tell me that he will get jealous even though all I can see is great anticipation and love for his baby brother. I think his age has alot to do with it as he is older and we are able to communicate better. On my blog I wrote about the best piece of advice i have received regarding welcoming a new baby. Let them help! Let them be involved!

  19. LB says...

    Thank you for your timely post! I’m expecting a baby in 3 months and am feeling quite anxious/overwhelmed by the whole thing (although of course very excited as well). It’s great to have these resources to hand!

  20. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m starting to prepare for baby number two. What’s shocking to me is that even though I went through the newborn phase with my first little one only two short years ago, it’s all such a blur that I have trouble remembering the things that would probably be most useful. Reading this has been so helpful and jogged my memory.

    http://www.typeatypeb.com

  21. Emily says...

    In the midst of low milk supply, exhaustion, guilt, self-doubt, and hormones (oh, the hormones!) in those first few days/weeks a friend told me that your job is to keep the baby alive and show them love. That’s it. At the end of the day if you’ve done both, you’ve done your job. Five months in and really seeing that is does get better! And, yeah, babies be babies…

  22. Louisa says...

    I was pretty much the only person in my group of mama friends who did not co-sleep. (Ah, California.) We used a crib and we sleep trained.

    What I’ve learned: I have not met anyone who wishes they did it another way. The co-sleeping group remembers it fondly. I *adore* being able to put my daughter in her crib at 7:30 and say goodnight and she says “love you” and I close the door. She chats a little with her lovey and goes to sleep.

    • Jill says...

      Just wanted to comment to say that we are naming our baby (due in 6 weeks) Louisa. :)

  23. Jenny says...

    Just want to add…I’ve read a lot of comments talking about how hard and painful breastfeeding can be. This was ALL I heard while I was pregnant (the phrase “cracked, bleeding nipples” should be banned from the Internet), and it made me so nervous that I was hesitant to even attempt nursing. I’m glad I did, though, because I had almost no pain after the first couple days, just a bit of soreness. I’m not trying to toot my own horn (my baby was a horrific sleeper for 5 months so we had plenty of other issues to deal with!); I just want to share my positive experience so that those who are planning to try breastfeeding know that it might not be as bad as you’re anticipating! Also- bring nipple cream (like lanolin) to the hospital! My husband busted it out the moment I complained of pain and it helped A LOT.

  24. Jenny says...

    This post, and the comments, are so wonderful and encouraging. Our first baby is about to turn 6 months, and, whew boy, it has been a whirlwind half a year! The first 3 months passed by in an exhausted haze of feedings, random crying spells (by both the baby and myself!), and little sleep. We loved our baby so much and enjoyed many beautiful moments, but it was so hard! And then around 4 months she started smiling, giggling, and interacting with us (and sleeping better, finally, which was a huge game changer), and it was like a whole new, amazing world opened up. We realized parenting can be so, so fun, and I now get why people have multiple children! I try to be honest wth my newly pregnant friends about how tough the beginning can be because I felt like everyone just told me how amazing it is, without really touching on how exhausting and overwhelming it can be- and that it’s normal and OK to feel those things while simultaneously feeling so in love with your little babe. Thank you for talking about these things; it’s so helpful to hear from other strong, loving, and honest mamas :)

  25. Hey,

    Your post definitely made me cry. I gave birth to my daughter on Wednesday it has definitely been an emotional roller coaster for me. I adore every part of this little tiny being but feel so not like myself at the moment. I feel scared sometimes that I never will and I don’t know who to express that to. Most of my close friends still don’t have children and my boyfriend, while understanding and supportive, sometimes doesnt understand why I can’t be more positive when I feel overwhelmed. Only on day 5 I’m trying to tell myself that everything will truly get better and on good moments, I do find myself believing it. Baby steps. Thanks for the articles, they help.

    • Christy says...

      Hang in there mama, I have a 1 year old and it’s been quite a ride. If you need someone to talk to, I’ll be happy to talk or just listen. Don’t do this alone. You NEED people, support and a place to talk. There is nothing like the first 6 months of mommyhood and it’s not all roses and unicorns. I experienced some postpartum depression and was so tired that I thought I was hallucinating. Just think about the tribes that raise their children together. They support each other, take turns, take naps and get nurturing to recharge. It’s a natural need and you deserve it. You will start to feel more like yourself but it forever changes you in miraculous ways. The other piece of advice is try to enjoy parts of the ride. It flies by, the days are long and the weeks are short. It’s a bittersweet time as you grieve the loss of your freedom and welcome this little bundle into your life. My heartfelt congratulations to you and your family.

    • JL says...

      The beginning is so, so hard. I felt the same way as you and also had trouble expressing my feelings to others, and I think it was because we’re told that we should be insanely happy the moment the baby is born. I was so overwhelmed, tired, and in pain after giving birth and those were basically the only feelings I had for the first two weeks. The hormones are REAL right after birth, but after a few weeks, things got better. Now that my baby is 6 months, many women have shared that they felt the same way at first. I wish they had shared that before I had the baby so I knew my feelings were completely normal! Hoping things will get better for you soon, and for now, take comfort in knowing that many other mamas have felt what you are feeling right now. You’re doing a great job!

  26. Karin says...

    1) It gets a LOT easier at 12 weeks.
    2) It’s OK if you can’t breastfeed. I still remember meeting another mom in the bottles section of Babies R Us when my son was 12 weeks and she couldn’t breastfeed either. I talked to this random stranger for 20 minutes. I may have cried on her shoulder! My son is 16 and I still remember this moment of relief of “I’m not the only one on earth not pumping.”
    3) Enjoy it because “These days you thought would last forever will soon be just a memory.” Hard to keep in mind when your kid just spit up on the entire house, but true.

  27. Tasha says...

    This post made me cry a few tears of relief. I am a new mama to a cuddly, chubby 4 month old baby and while I cherish being with her, it’s such hard, relentless work. It feels good to know that so many other mom’s experience these first months in such a similar way…excited, joyful, bursting with love, as well as punch drunk, second guessing, and sometimes overwhelmed by the physical and emotional strength and stamina it takes to meet a baby’s needs. Its falling in love on steroids.

    Thank you for sharing such encouraging words (Omg! It gets easier!!) and for giving us a peek into your experiences as a new mom. I’ve never relied so heavily on my community of compassionate and encouraging women as I do now :)

  28. Theresa says...

    Definitely would say “It gets easier!!”…I had a couple friends tell me this when I was in first year fog and it made all the difference. I hadn’t really heard my friends honestly talk about the difficulty, so it was nice to hear, when I was crying on the couch holding my baby, that I wasn’t sure if I could do this…oh, and don’t google too much. It will drive you crazy. Do what you feel is right and ignore people who are judgmental about how you are doing things, this includes your own Mother! :)

    • Theresa says...

      Oh, and everything is a phase…I’m in toddler land right now and have to keep reminding myself of this!

  29. Aliya says...

    My advice for the new moms would be to always trust your instincts! Although they are new, you’d be surprised how spot on they are. My mother is an OB (not mine!) and she had a tendency to plant little seeds of doubt and worry in my foggy new-mom brain (She’s sleeping too much! Is she grasping things yet??) and it really tested my confidence early. I learned how to listen to myself and be confident in my decisions.

    You may be a new mom, but you are a mom nonetheless! You can do it!! :)

  30. Laurel says...

    We’ve all screwed up mamas! Every one of us. No one knows all the answers right away. I lost my kid in a Target once for 10 minutes when I was 9 months pregnant with his brother. I was frantic and crying by the time I found him. People were so kind though and several people helped me look for him.

    My point is that we all have moments where it feels like an epic failure, but it’s not. The truth is that being a parent is really, really hard at times and it’s okay if you screw up! Give yourself a break, you’ll need it.

  31. Jill Palumbo says...

    As a mother with grown children, I feel bad for the new mothers today with social media making it seem so easy and so hard all at the same time. There is so much pressure to be the perfect mom – nurse round the clock, hold them constantly, dress them in the perfect clothes, don’t take time to shower, don’t let them cry and so on. It’s ok to bottle feed if nursing doesn’t work or even not nurse every time they open their eyes and squeak. It’s ok to lay them in the crib to sleep or even to watch their mobile while you shower and brush your teeth, or fix a quick meal. I felt the time with my 3 while they were young was the simplest. Having teenagers and losing the control that comes with that was frightening to me. It’s hard to protect them when they are out in that big, scary world. With that said, I’d advise – just trust your instincts with your little one and take time for yourself, your other children and your spouse too.

    • Leah says...

      I agree with you, Jill. My son is 14 and I’m so glad I didn’t have the pressure of social media when he was a baby. His puberty, to me, is so much more challenging than the “terrible twos”.

      To new moms – the first 6-8 weeks are the hardest. It gets easier after that. Try not to compare yourself to other moms and their babies – that goes for their whole lives! Comparison is the thief of joy, and it will stress you out if your baby is not yet crawling, walking, etc.

  32. Kathleen says...

    Thanks for this post! My son is 16 months and I still feel like I’m recovering from some of the hardest moments of the first few months.

  33. Jamie says...

    This is exactly what I needed right now. 7 weeks in and dang talk about life turning upside down! I’m just starting to see the light at the end of the exhausting postpartum tunnel and for me it’s not even the baby as much as its my entire body pains, aches and let’s just mention BF is hard!!! I can’t wait to feel like a normal person again – just with a baby. :)

  34. Abesha1 says...

    Learning about the true biological needs of a newborn can be very helpful in preparing for what to expect, as can learning a bit about parenting globally and historically. We here in the US have some cultural expectations for babies thst don’t fit anywhere on the spectrum of historical and biological realities!

  35. Katie F. says...

    Ditto what Madie said. The newborn phase was a lot easier for me than a 3 year old. Less fun, but easier. The emotional swings of a 3 year old figuring out their world are way out of this mama’s league some days. That said, you will be the best mama or papa to your child, and you will be the expert on your child. Drown out the not helpful noise, trust yourself, and occasionally give yourself a pat on the back. You’re kicking ass or going to kick ass, and you deserve encouragement. Hang in there. There are always easy times after hard times, and you will get through it. If I can, you can. Trust me; you got this! You might feel much of the time like you can’t, but I like what someone said about if you are trying, and you care, then you’re doing a great job!

  36. Kat Petersen says...

    As a first time mom I’m so excited to read through all these links! I just had a baby 10 weeks ago. Baby boy :) I wish someone had told me about how hard postpartum recovery can be. I had read about the bleeding, the fatigue, and the advice to “take it easy,” but someone should’ve shaken me and said, no, Seriously!!! I was active up until the day of delivery so I thought I’d bounce right back. After walking to the Pediatrician’s office and to the grocery store on day #3 (a walk I could have easily done pregnant), I was so so so sore down there! Not to mention exhausted. It really set me back. I had torn during delivery through my pelvic muscle, and I should’ve realized that meant I needed to take a load off. There is a reason women qualify for short term disability after delivery. Our bodies go through so much and you need to take it easy! I’ve only begun to feel back to normal these past two weeks. I’ve gone on two runs now! So exciting!

  37. gk says...

    how about raising twins?

    • Lol. My twins are 7 weeks and WOWWEEE I’m exhausted. People keep telling me it gets better and I’m like, “WHEN?! HELP ME!” I feel like I deserve a gold star at the end of each day just for surviving.

    • t says...

      I am so glad a doula friend said “just put them in their infant car seats on the ground and prop the bottles” – basically everything you aren’t “supposed” to do. But pumping and then bottle feeding my twins took all day and night and when I could finally find a way to feed both at once and keep my hands free it was a miracle. I could actually drink some water or eat something while they drank. Also it meant that at night we could alternate feedings. Of course I watched them like a hawk but at least they were both feeding at once and so was I. Best thing ever.

      Also I never bought an automatic swing or anything like that because we were worried about flat heads. If I were to do it all over again I would have two of those suckers in a heartbeat.

      AND we LOVED our babysense breathing monitors. It meant we could rest easy during the moments they were asleep especially because they had so many apnea episodes in the NICU.

  38. Jillian Gordon says...

    Hi Joanna,
    I just wanted to say that I love love love your “Motherhood” posts and appreciate them all the more now that I’m expecting my first baby. Somehow there’s never enough reassuring words of wisdom one can receive during this time. I also wanted to add that we just found out we are having a boy, and your sweet/hysterical posts about your two gorgeous sons make me more excited than ever (especially during those times when I’m scared sh#tless) :) Thank you <3

  39. Amy says...

    I would say…’Try not to decode everything. Just when you think you cracked your baby’s sleep/eating/etc code, it will change again before you know it!”
    Also, this phrase got me through- “This too shall pass”.

    • Dalia says...

      Totally agree!! It’s all a phase and don’t worry too much! like you said it will keep changing! I have a 4 year old and 10 month and the biggest difference is my attitude, im trying not to worry or stress too much about sleep, eat and milestones. And looking back the first 3 months are easiest when they just sleep, eat and poo;)

  40. Lisa says...

    Just wanted to say babies cannot self soothe until they are at least 6-8 weeks old (and some experts even say 6-8 months!). Yes, it’s totally up to you how to parent, but it’s recommended that you don’t let babies “cry it out” until they are at least the 6-8 weeks old.

    • Nicole says...

      6-8 weeks??!!!!! That is insane. Quite frankly, even 6-8 months is. Why anyone would let a baby CIO is just beyond me. I’m actually quite shocked that this method still seems to be acceptable to many parents. No baby deserves to be left alone crying it out, not even for a couple minutes.
      So so sad :(

  41. Mollie says...

    I’m so glad I came across this post today. We’re expecting our first baby next month, and defintiely feeling a little anxious. :)

  42. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have regular routines for eating and sleeping – and that goes for adults too – if that is how it works for you. You are not being cruel. Also: the best advice is that which is given when asked for. Having an old friend, who is also a mother, to stay and simply be with you is wonderful. Likewise a mother who doesn’t tell you what to do but likes to hold babies. Worst: people who tell you what other people do and would like you to do the same. They should be escorted from the premises. Or punched.

  43. Madie says...

    I may be in the minority, but I loved the newborn phase, and actually find parenting a toddler to be much more challenging! I only say this to reassure the expectant moms who ONLY hear “it will get better!” and therefore feel super uneasy about the first few months. Sure, there were lots of challenges, but I wish I could go back and tell myself to slow down, and not worry about what was coming next, or try to anticipate all the ways it would get “easier”. It was easy enough.
    Also, even when things are A-OK with breastfeeding, it DOES hurt like hell for about the first month. See a lactation consultant, get your latch right, rule out tongue-tie, etc. but then know that for me and a lot of other mommies I know, the one-month mark was when it all magically felt better.

    • Sarah says...

      I totally agree with you and feel the same way. I have a 2.5 year old and constantly feel like I have no idea what I am doing and find life quite challenging. I found those baby months calm and blissful.

    • Debbie says...

      Oh man I so so so agree with you. Parenting a toddler feels a lot more hectic than parenting a baby.

    • Nicole says...

      I agree with this as well. My son was a very easy baby who spend the first 3 weeks of his life in the NICU. While that was such a challenging time both physically and emotionally we learned so much from the nurses there that once we came home things just seemed to click. Our perspective had also evolved, being so elated to be home and relieved that he was healthy which made some of the newborn hardships not seem so heavy. Despite his beginnings he proved to be a very laid back infant through his first year. Then came the toddler years. He’s 3 years old now and I feel like I’m navigating a different challenge 10 times a day. I feel the pressure of needing to make the right parenting choices now more than when he was a newborn as he’s absorbing and mimicking nearly everything my husband and I do as well as others around him (which aren’t always in line with how I want to parent). And his energy level and highly opinionated personality, while wonderful and refreshing to be around, sometimes exhaust me as much as feeding all night did! I think, for me, it has been a path that hasn’t necessarily gotten easier with time, just different. Different challenges, different victories, different emotions. Parenthood is such a beautiful journey, one I feel so privileged to be on. I have to constantly remind myself to soak up every possible second regardless of the mood or phase because I know there will be a day that I’ll greatly miss these early years, tantrums and all!

  44. Such a sweet and much needed post! Very nice!! xxoo

  45. Alice says...

    Our daughter is 6 months old. I’ve had the best pregnancy ever and the hardest time during her first month. I remember hating myself and thinking of myself as a monster because I wasn’t as happy as people wanted me to be. My delivery lasted 29 hours, I couldn’t breastfeed my baby and gave up after 4 days of pure torture. I suppose it’s ok to have a hard time. Now everything is perfect and she is the sweetest little girl ever. I love being her mama.

  46. Maryse says...

    Dear Joanna,
    Excellent timing once again. Your post on the Hatch clothing line came days after I found out I was pregnant, now I’m 12 weeks along and it starts to feel real. For a few minutes, every now and then ;-). Your motherhood posts are the only pregnancy and children related things I read. All the other stuff just looks either too you-are-on-a-pink-cloud-of-fairy-dust dreams or too panic!-everything-can-get-your-baby-killed-you-will-never-have-fun-again. Thanks for being so real and down to earth!

  47. I’m 31 weeks pregnant with our second kid, our son is 2. He’ll be right at 2.5 when our daughter is born. For what it’s worth, we’ve been prepping him a lot about Baby June. We say hi or night night to Baby June in Mommy’s belly. We talk about where the baby is going to sit in the car. We talk about how Baby June is going to sleep in the crib in the room next door, and how Caleb will get a “Boy Big Bed” (his words!). We talk about how babies cry, and they get bottles, and they sleep a lot. We’re also lucky to have some friends in our life with newish babies, so he’s gotten interactions with babies. Thankfully, so far, he has LOVED them! He has not been interested in books like “Baby Sister is Coming!”, etc. He still prefers books on trucks, trains and construction equipment, thankyouverymuch. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be an easy transition.

  48. My daughter is 12 days old and my almost three year old son adores her and loves being a big brother. But, like you said, he is much more challenging for us. I wish he went to sleep easily every night, but we’ll get there eventually.

  49. Justine Clark says...

    The best advice I had was from my sister, who said when people give you advice, smile, nod and stick the advice in your parenting toolbox. Maybe you’ll use, it maybe you won’t. Trust your instincts and remember that your job is to do the best you can, not to be perfect. I found mothering groups extremely irritating because it felt like a giant competition. I am a big advocate for doing what works best for your family. For us that was co-sleeping, nursing on demand, self-weaning and baby-wearing. I received a great deal of vicious judgment from other parents about those things, then also received a great deal of vicious judgment from my formerly supportive “crunchy” parent acquaintances when I went back to work (after an 18 month leave!).

    You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, so do what works for you. I have strong feelings about certain parenting practices that differ from mine, but try hard to remember that everyone loves their children and are doing the best they can with what they have, and the culture and support system they exist in.

    • Dalia says...

      Great advice! It was weird but I got a lot of judgment when I didn’t put my son into daycare….everyone was telling me he was going to be antisocial! I work evenings and weekends so keeping him home during the day with me was what worked for us otherwise I would never see him!

  50. Get dressed and get out of the house everyday! Even if it’s just for a walk around the block. Fresh air does wonders.

  51. Sarah Beth says...

    I have a 6-month old daughter, and the best piece of advice I got was from my mom, who told me, when I was stressed about something or another in the early days, “you are the expert in your baby.” Everyone has so much conflicting advice it can be hard to figure out what to do, but over and over I’ve reminded myself that no one knows my daughter better than I do, and to just trust my gut. It has worked for sleeping, eating, what she should wear in the winter– everything! Yes I’ve gotten tons of advice, much of it good, but “you are the expert in your child” has become my mantra.

  52. Eleanor says...

    My favorite advice was from my 90 year old grandma. “Ignore everyone’s advice and do what’s right for your family.” We couldn’t co-sleep, I couldn’t breastfeed, we had to sleep train, my daughter is a “feed me at 5pm or I will hurt everyone in my sight!” so dinners can’t be together as a family. I’m home with her and work during naps, every single thing we do I’ve been judged for or told a different way of doing it at some point. It’s not all what I pictured but it’s perfect for our family. It’s what everyone needs right now. Just do what’s right for you guys, it all works out!

    And snuggle the heck out of that baby. (or don’t, it’s ok!) My 2.5 year old takes maybe one nap on me or needs to sleep with us once a month, and I want to freeze those moments. Baby snuggles are the best. Cleaning and cooking can wait, those snuggles do end.

  53. JulieB says...

    Currently reading this with my 6 mont old son asleep on my lap. His twin brother is asleep upstairs. The article first kid v second kid made me laugh so much. Even at 6 months I consider it a good day if the boys are in proper clothes as opposed to sleepsuits by midday. Everything in their lives has to fit in with their older sisters schedule. With their sister I would spend so long trying to find answers to what I perceived as problems as if she were a logical puzzle. Now I just accept they are how they are and redirect that energy elsewhere.

  54. Elle S says...

    At 37 weeks pregnant, sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one out there expecting the worst? Literally, I am expecting it to be a worse version of my current life. Like, I am expecting: no sleep for years, boob awefulness, husband distance, not ever feeling good enough, being spread thin, maybe not liking my baby, loneliness, maybe postpardum depression, a new normal that’s actually a little worse, no independence, and other things I haven’t imagined yet… the works. The internet reminds us it’s okay when all this stuff goes on, so why would I expect it not to? Yes, I can’t wait to meet my daughter. This is IT, you know, that full-life event which stands to grow my little family spiritually, psychologically, emotionally (of course there’s other ways to do those things, but this is one way I think too!). But the adjustment period sounds like hell. Does everyone go into this thinking it’s going to magical… I wonder.

    • Eleanor says...

      It just depends! I loved the adjustment period, but I worked from home for a few years so it was nothing new to be home “alone.” My husband didn’t love that adjustment period now, he openly admits the toddler phase is his favorite. It’s good to be prepared, but I had someone over-prepare me for the worst and I was terrified, and it ended up being a lovely time for us. Best of luck! It truly is amazing :)

    • There are times when it is awful! But after the first few months you get into a new normal. This is coming from a mother of two. One had colic for 6 months and one was too small to nurse so I pumped every 2 hours for months and continued until she was about 14 months.
      You’ll be tired and go longer without showering the you’re used to, eat many cold meals and there will be tears.
      And according to someone everything you do is wrong, so trust your gut.

    • Inge says...

      I’m also 37 weeks pregnant… I have a great husband who I can count on. I fear the lack of sleep a lot, but have great friends with lots of babies, whom I can ask for advice. I try not to worry much now, you cannot foresee what will happen so worrying now is wasted energy. After the delivery, I’m going to take it day by day.

    • Rachael says...

      I am 38 weeks pregnant and being induced in 6 days and I SOO agree with you.. these are my exact thoughts! Sometimes I think it might be better to go into it thinking this way so we don’t let ourselves down too much! I’m SO excited and cannot wait to meet our sweet baby, but oh so scared of all the things you mentioned!!! Best of luck to you and I hope you have a safe and healthy delivery.

      xo

    • Meredith says...

      Congratulations on being a realist! I always thought that it was my friends that were the youngest growing up (or only children), few family members with small kids, or no babysitting experience that were the most shellshocked when they had their first child. Little to no exposure to babies leads you to believe it is all magic, and sunshine and new baby smell. I was under no such illusions having grown up with two much younger siblings and babysitting all though middle and high school. Plus when you expect the absolute worst, it is a pleasant surprise when things turn out OK!

    • t says...

      All those things you described were/are totally true. I have three year olds and my life is still a much worse version of my life pre-kids. Less fun, less connection, less laughter, less sleep, less money… overall spread way too thin. But for some reason I am happier. The love that (eventually… it took a while) floods my heart makes up for it.

    • Ramona says...

      As the mom of a 6 month old, the biggest thing I’d tell a new mom is that babies are constantly changing and growing, and so you just have to keep trying things and trust that they will be ready for things when they are ready. For the first few weeks of her life, my baby wouldn’t sleep anyplace but on me. I spent the whole night awake trying to get her to sleep in her cosleeper, but the second I’d set her down she’d start crying and I’d have to pick her up and rock her back to sleep on me. And then suddenly around 3-4 weeks old, one night I put her down in her cosleeper and she had no problem with it, and she has slept in her own space ever since. Now I wish that instead of staying up all night pushing the cosleeper on her in those early days I would have just gone to sleep with her on my chest, since it would have made us both much happier. I was so worried at the time that if I let her sleep in the bed with me I would create some kind of lifelong bad habit. But really, I just had to wait for her to be ready. Babies aren’t like anyone else you’ve ever known, because it is as if they are totally different people every few weeks.

    • Astorienne says...

      I’m 20 weeks pregnant and feel exactly the same. I’m sort of hoping that by expecting the worst, I’ll be pleasantly surprised when actually it’s not that bad…but I’m really expecting it to be that bad. I do not expect it to be magical. I only ever knew one woman (one!) who said to me one day, when her daughter was about a year old, “You know, it really is such a joy! She’s turning into such a delightful little person, and I just love watching her grow up.” Every other mother, including my own, says things like, “It’s a lot of work. It’s just hard work. Work work work.” I asked my sister jokingly, “But what about the joy of motherhood?” and she said, “Hah. It’s 90% work and maybe 10% joy.” That’s why I read blogs like this one–for stories by women who seem to enjoy life with kids, despite everything.

    • Jenny says...

      You’re not the only one! I felt the same way when I was pregnant. I willingly, and happily, got pregnant, and then realized…oh god, what am I getting myself into?? I felt all those things you mentioned during the first three months after my daughter was born, the toughest of which was not feeling that immediate strong bond. But things got a little better every day, and I am now completely, totally, over-the-moon obsessed with my wonderful, sweet, adorable 6 month old. The exhaustion is REAL in the beginning, especially if your baby isn’t the best sleeper, but even that will improve with time. It’s a crazy, awesome ride that is really scary at first but soon you’ll feel like a superwoman for all you can do :)

    • Louisa says...

      I was expecting the worst. Seriously. I would think: someone I’ve never met, who doesn’t speak English, cannot use the toilet, doesn’t sleep through the night and sucks on my boobs is about to permanently move in to my house. This sounds like the worst idea ever. (I LOVE SLEEP.)

      Everyone’s experience is different but I fell so profoundly, deeply in love with that little bunny. I just loved taking care of her. It was probably some post-partum hormone haze, but I would cry to my husband “do you know that one day she’s going to be all grown up and leave us??”

      She’s 2 now and I miss that newborn baby so much.

    • Kerri says...

      I had my first baby two months ago and had the same mindset as you. I felt like all I heard about was how hard motherhood was so that was what I was expecting (and it was/is so hard!). I think because I was expecting it, it made the transition a little easier. Even so, I don’t think anything can quite prepare you till you go through it and how each person handles it is so individual. It totally depends on your own personality/experiences, which aspects you’ll find most difficult. I thought my sleep actually improved because during my third trimester I was up every half hour to pee. When I started getting 2-3 hours in a row with the baby, it felt heavenly! However, the thing I struggled with more than sleep deprivation was feeling like I couldn’t control things (which I couldn’t)/that our days were unpredictable (which they were). Now, two months in, we’re getting into a routine and it’s so true that it gets easier and easier every day. Good luck mamas!

  55. Two things I try to remind new moms: 1) breastfeeding can be way harder than you think it should be. People talk about it like it’s so natural and will just automatically happen, and that’s often not the case. If it’s something that’s important to you, ask for help until you get your rhythm. Also – the first couple weeks HURT LIKE HELL, which was unexpected for me as well.

    And 2) You may hate your partner for a while. About six weeks in, at peak sleep deprivation, I remember wishing my husband would just go away. It wasn’t his fault of course – he wanted to help, and tried to, but… Anyway…it’s okay if you want to pummel your partner sometimes. :-)

    • Christie says...

      Amen to both of these, but especially the first one! Both of my kids were tongue-tied. They both had to have surgeries. After that, nursing was wonderful, but it took a while to get there. If you think something is wrong, find a lactation consultant, and if she doesn’t help, find another one!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes to both of these! :)

    • Cat says...

      I couldn’t agree more! Why don’t people tell you that? Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Elena says...

      Yes! My son is 5 weeks old, and we had SUCH a rough start with breastfeeding. He also had his tongue clipped (at 5 days old), but before that lost so much weight and even after the surgery we had a lactation consultant come to our house…the jaundice:/sleepiness made it so that the surgery wasn’t a magical fix. We had to start with an insane routine of pumping a little to get milk flowing/giving him a little bottle to get some calories in / then try breastfeeding / then give him more bottle / then pump for 15 minutes. Now we are just breastfeeding. Once I talked to other moms, I realized almost ALL of them had a story about how breastfeeding was more challenging than they expected…but I was not prepared in advance!

  56. I found the transition from 1 to 2 even harder than the new mom stage. I was never a huge worrier, so I really enjoyed being a new mom – but brining home a new baby with a 17mo waiting at home was harder than I ever expected. I now tell all of my friends die with their second to know they’re not alone in questioning EVERYTHING. Weeks 3-5 were very hard and isolating, and I want other moms to know they’re not alone. But it gets so much better, and now I have 2 little girls who love each other so much!

    Also – the best piece of advice I received as a new mother was from my postpartum nurse. She told me that my baby is new at this too. Just like I’m a new mother, she is a new baby, and has no expectations of me. We are both learning together. What a wonderful thought – I carried that with me always and found it immensely comforting.

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

    • Megan says...

      I really like this bit of advice. I can continue to apply it today…my daughter Just turned 12, and I have never before mothered a 12 year old. So simple, yet very insightful! Thank you.

  57. Awads says...

    well, regarding feeding a hungry baby in the middle of the night….it really depends on the baby you’ve got. i had an underweight infant (still, at age 8, underweight, though healthy). we fed him on-demand. we still do. sure, it’s not very convenient, but babies aren’t supposed to be.

  58. Lindsey says...

    Thank you! I was 38 weeks pregnant on Friday. Gulp.

  59. Laura C says...

    What a beautiful post, Joanna. Babies are babies and toddlers are toddlers right? :-)
    When I was pregnant I was always afraid that I wouldn’t have been able to dress the baby properly. How many layers should she wear? Will she be too hot? Too cold? I was really worried about that!
    Everything is going to be ok, mamas. You’ll do fine.
    Xoxo

  60. Lauren says...

    I often wish I could go back in time and whisper comforting words to myself after having my son. I would say “trust your instincts”. Pretty cliche, but I found myself second guessing what I thought was the right thing to do. Eventually, I fell into a routine where I just did the best I could do with the experience and knowledge I had. It helped me to be so much easier on myself. Great post!

  61. Lily says...

    My kiddo is turning four (!!) this Thursday, so I’ve been waxing nostalgic for the past few days about her birth and my first year as a parent. I echo the sentiment that it’s a lot of pressure to “love every minute” of being a mom. This is especially true for me because a huge chunk of my experience of being a parent was also clouded and directed by postpartum depression. I wish people who talk about this more often and openly. I went to individual and group therapy for almost a year and one of the things that stuck with me the most from that is this: you don’t have to like something to be able to survive it. And it will get better! And if it doesn’t, there is always, always someone who can help you. A fellow parent, a friend, a doctor, a therapist–motherhood can be so isolating, but you are not alone!

  62. Amanda says...

    I think it’s so important to remind new moms that it’s OK not to “enjoy every moment.” Some moments are going to be incredibly difficult and overwhelming. It’s so normal to have moments when you feel like you want to go back to your pre-baby life at times. My son was an insanely difficult baby that nursed around the clock and never slept. I remember crying to my therapist saying, “This is just not what I thought! It’s just not enjoyable.” She was so comforting when she said, “Who would think nursing a baby 15 times per day is fun? It’s ok for you to feel like it’s not enjoyable because it’s not.” That helped me so much. At 2.5, my son is still strong-willed and spunky but is also the most incredibly loving, hilarious, and sweet boy. We finally got up the nerve to try for number 2 and are expecting in October. Eep! I’m really banking on the phrase “every baby is different” and hoping I get a sleeper this time around! :)

  63. Vicki W. says...

    Oh, gosh. That “Don’t Carpe Diem” article from Glennon Doyle Melton. I ugly laughed! Thanks for that one!

  64. Caitlin says...

    I am due with my first baby on Memorial Day. Perfect timing for this post! Since I’m so close I’m getting very nervous. I love reading all the amazing advice to try to ease my mind. Thank you!

  65. Motherhood is magical. You’ll “magically” adapt to the things you never imagined you’d be able to handle. It will require extra deep breaths to summon our inner Buddha & lots of coffee (& the tougher day will/may require something stronger)!

    (Joanna I’d love to hear more about Moms who are one and done. Does the inkling to have another ever go away? Does the guilt subside? How is it when they are older? Are we less of a mother because we only have one? Most days I feel very confident with our decision, but once in a blue moon the what ifs sneak in. Especially when someone close to us is pregnant again. But then I snap out of it when I realize how happy I am with us being the three musketeers.)

    Xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com/2016/05/motherhood-adaptability.html?m=1

    • I totally relate to the one and done questions!

    • Jess says...

      I would love to see a post answering these questions!

    • Awads says...

      I am one-and-done! My son was a wonderful baby, but i felt overwhelmed. The decision was easy for me for many reasons (live in a small city house, everything is super expensive, i’m over 40). But the guilt is real. I didn’t question my decision until a few years ago, when my son started asking for a baby brother or sister. He still gets angry at us for not having a sibling for him. (By the way, I personally could do w/o my siblings sometimes!!). Anyway, if I had it to do over, and i was younger, i would have had a 2nd. I’m still very happy being a threesome!

    • Jennifer says...

      I totally agree with you. I’m happy with the 3 of us but there are those sad moments where I wonder if I’m depriving my little one of the wonderful world of siblings. :/

    • Justine Clark says...

      I’m one and done with a 12 year old. I miss having a baby, but I feel very comfortable with our decision. We would have had to go to extraordinary measures to have a second, and decided not to. Our son is happy, health, well-adjusted, polite, selfless; all the things people told me he wouldn’t be as an only. I love our son to pieces, but I also love that my active parenting will end when I’m young enough to enjoy my freedom, for lack of a better term.

  66. I would add that it’s okay to admit that you might not be enjoying every second of motherhood. I really struggled the first six weeks with my firstborn. My body hurt, my boobs hurt, he cried all the time (colic), I was exhausted and anxious, and frankly it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be — motherhood was hard and not really that enjoyable at first! Having close friends I could admit that too was huge for me and took a lot of pressure off. And, as many others have testified, it got SO MUCH EASIER! Now, three kids later, I can confidently say that I don’t love the newborn stage but adore being a mother.

    • Meghan says...

      I could not agree with you more!!

    • Dana says...

      Agreed! Loved this and so true!

  67. Tamsin says...

    My advice would be to say out loud “she/he is only a baby, she/he doesn’t know what else to do”, when your newborn wont stop crying/flapping themself awake/refusing to be put down/ head-butting your breast, etc. Saying it out loud made me more patient, and stopped me yelling “why is she doing this??” all the time!

  68. Liz says...

    Hi Joanna, thank you for the post! It’s so important to remember it gets easier, and to take things one day at a time because one day you’ll wake up and realize that it’s gotten easier when you weren’t even looking!

    When we first brought our little guy home I started to dread the sun going down so much—the nights just felt totally insurmountable. I broke down crying on night three and my mom told me, “Remember, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” It was such a funny phrase but really helped in the moment, kind of realigned me into thinking, “Get through this night and worry about tomorrow night tomorrow.” Cut to today and my baby is eleven months old exactly, funny, cuddly and animated, says “Mama” and “Dada” AND sleeps through the night. So not only does it get so much easier, it gets so much more wonderful too :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i remember feeling almost panic-y as the night drew near. i totally hear you! and i LOVE your mom’s phrase. your baby sounds wonderful. xoxo

  69. Meghan says...

    The sleep training has been used with all of my children and is a true life saver!!! They sleep uninterrupted 11 (sometimes 12!) hours every night (unless they are sick, which I let them cuddle with us all night!)

  70. Making mom friends truly saved my sanity. By the time my daughter was 4 months old, there was a small gang of us. We had never met, but all of our babies were born within weeks of each other. I had a rough time adjusting, and experienced post part depression. We exchanged advice, kept each other company during the pre-dinner witching hour, traded babysitting time, and cheered each other on. Taking care of a newborn can be lonely – seek out other moms and share the experience.

  71. Jo says...

    Best advice I received from a more experienced mother when I had a newborn: I lamented to her, “I can’t wait until we get back to normal!” She said, “You are not going to get back to normal. You’re creating a new normal.” That changed my outlook completely.

  72. Emily says...

    even just 14 weeks in (to pregnancy!), I’m already taking comfort in your statement: “You will feel like yourself again.” I’ll cling to that hope!! thank you, xoxo.

  73. My babies are grown and have their own babies now.
    This is what you have to remember when you can’t stand your children lol .. One day they will be parents and you can sit back and be smug and relaxed and play and cuddle that new grand baby of yours while you watch those kids of yours who knew everything there was to know about Everything- being flummoxed by a little baby :)

  74. Elena says...

    I’ve been reading your blog for many, many years (definitely before you were married!) and have been combing back through all the pregnancy and parenting posts this year…so perfect. My son (first baby) is 5-weeks old right now, so this post came at just the right time. Thank you! We are so, so in love with him, but parts of it have also certainly been challenging (feeding issues/weight loss, jaundice, tongue tie, very little sleep, etc). It’s always nice to hear that it gets easier…and that our best is enough.

  75. Ruth says...

    A great collection of posts. My little sweetie is 6.5 months old and it was SO hard in the beginning. People just kept telling me it got easier and I didn’t believe them! But now, with a baby who is giggly, sleeps through the night, and seems to learn something new every day, I see what they were talking about. We may even want another — though not soon! ;-)

  76. Laura says...

    I would say follow your baby’s cues. Your baby will tell you what they need if you listen. You can’t spoil a baby too much. Don’t worry about creating bad habits… they have needs that they communicate by crying, and we instinctively are hard wired as mothers to want to meet those needs, so do it! I disagree a little with the baby not needing to eat overnight, babies have growth spurts and quickly digest breast milk and are designed to feed during the night especially in the first few months. However, do what works best and for you and your family!

    • molly says...

      I completely agree! xo

  77. Amanda says...

    Beautiful – I especially love the advice of telling your baby if you’re having a rough moment, bad day, or “off” feeding, etc. I remember talking my son (and myself!) through feedings or diaper changes when he was crying or we were struggling… it definitely helped calm me down, which in turn calmed him down. Glad I had all that practice now that I’m talking through feelings with a toddler! ;)

    I would love to hear a little more about your toilet learning/training experience with your boys. I remember reading your “plan” with Toby, but I don’t think you did a follow up on how it went. My son is at the age where (mostly well-meaning) friends and family keep bringing up potty training… so far, we have taken Janet Lansbury’s laid back approach, but I’m curious as to your experiences!

    • katy says...

      Ditto! We’re at the potty training age with our oldest boy, and I would love to hear how it went with you, Joanna! A round up of stories from the trenches or even a few tips would be amazing. Also, love reading these comments; such smart women and parents – so thankful this group of readers are commenters, too!

  78. Jill says...

    Hi Jo, glad to see you back on deck! Hope you’re feeling better this week :)

  79. Tyler says...

    the first child vs the second child thing… hilarious. the co-sleeping thing is so scary to me, I have heard several sad stories about people suffocating their babies :( maybe like she says, its an over-hyped occurrence, but still, probably not something I’d be brave enough to try!

  80. Aw I needed this today. We are two months and 3 days into having two kids:) I remember in a previous (baby shower?) post one of your friends said something like “Your spouse is not the enemy. Your baby is the enemy.” Ha. But kinda true, and has been helpful for me to remember!

    • meghan says...

      Yes! I remember that post, too. My husband and I repeat that all the time. Your spouse is not the enemy. The baby is the enemy….

  81. Katie H. says...

    Sometimes Motherhood Mondays are so hard… Though I love “Conversations with Toby & Anton” and other cute posts, I long for the days that practical advice will be relevant. We’re trying everything to get pregnant, and I feel like it will never happen. That said, you really do a great job of sharing the stories of both struggle and joy.

    • Trish says...

      Hi Katie – I’ve been there, and I know it’s so, so hard. During our fertility struggle, a wonderful counselor said this to us: “You will be parents. One way or another, however it happens, if you want to be parents, you will be.” That was hugely reassuring to us, so I hope it’s helpful to you too. We didn’t make our family the conventional way (we chose to do IVF with a donor egg), but we are lucky parents to our amazing little girl and that’s what matters in the end. :) Don’t give up hope. Giant hugs to you.

  82. I would say, “relax.” There wouldn’t be 7+ billion of us on Earth if everything had to be perfect for babies to be OK. Love is #1. After that, everything will work out.

  83. Alice Quin says...

    Sending this post to my new mama friends right now, thank you!

  84. Natalie Brennan says...

    Thank you for this post! I had my first baby, a little girl, three months ago and I am only now getting my head above water. The highs are amazingly high and the lows for me were pretty low, although i love her to the moon and back. Thank you for this space for women to share the realities, good and bad, of life and parenting.

  85. Sophia F. says...

    I now have two daughters, and one of the things I wish someone had been brave enough to share with me before my first – it’s ok to not like your baby right away. Sure, I loved my daughter fiercely, and still do, but after the initial blissful phase of newborn sleep, she was a really difficult baby, and until her personality started to emerge months later, I found myself feeling constantly guilty because I wasn’t ‘loving every minute of it!’ the way I thought I should (and the way others told me I should). It is so, so hard to pour all your energy and love and effort into a tiny person that cannot reciprocate, and you just need to trust that it will all be repaid thrice over soon enough. I don’t mean to scare off prospective parents or new moms, but I do tell pregnant friends to think of all the babies they see in TV/movies/ads – none of them are newborns, for a reason!

    • Liz says...

      Hi Sophia, just wanted to say I agree with your comment so much! Particularly on the point that they can’t reciprocate all the love and effort you put in—I remember looking down at my newborn in a very exhausted moment and wondering, “Do you even LIKE me?”

  86. Jaclyn says...

    Perfect! I am 40 weeks today – so expecting my little girl any day now :) Love the “Babies be Babies” mantra. haha!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations!!! how exciting!!! :)

  87. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this! Such helpful stuff for preparing for that tough/amazing newborn stage. I’m expecting my second and getting anxious about that and the labor itself. I recently wrote about how to deal with the fear of giving birth (http://www.lushbreak.com/?p=632). Hopefully that can help some other mommas out there too!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a beautiful post, maggie. i’m also reading Eleven Hours right now, about a woman giving birth. it’s really beautiful, you might like it. xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS although i haven’t gotten to the end yet!

    • E says...

      Maggie, I laughed out loud at your Kim K comment! Very accurate :)