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.) And here’s what it felt like, to me, to go from one to two kids.

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 grouchy 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.