5 Tips to Survive Baby’s First Year (As A New Mom)

As a first-time mama, making it to the one-year point is a really big deal for me. Baby is healthy, and I’m still sane… I think. So, for all of you first-time mamas out there, I’m going to share 5 Tips To Survive Baby’s First Year As A New Mom, as I’ve learned them.

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1: Have Expectations For the First Year? Throw Them Out the Window

I had this pretty little idea of how these first 12 months were going to go. I had mental images of a beautiful, flawless baby, a fresh-faced, smiling mother gazing lovingly at him, rays of sunshine and glowing perfection.

That lasted for about… 2 days.

Once we were home, reality set in for good. This is it. It’s up to us. And how I thought baby would and should be was totally different than how baby was.

He cried more than I thought he would. He was up at night more than I expected and for longer than expected… and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Yes, baby was beautiful. But he was a beautiful mess. And I was a mess too.

Fresh-faced mama? Maybe once in a while. For the most part, the reality was days of tired smiles and learning to laugh and go with the flow because nothing was going as planned and I’d rather laugh than cry (which I still did at times).

Word of Advice For New Mom Survival:

You’re going to have expectations and preconceived ideas. Even if you think you don’t, you’ll probably discover that you did unintentionally.

When nothing goes as expected, learn to laugh about it, cry about, drink coffee through it, shrug about it, and then move on. It’s not going to be perfect.

And that’s perfectly alright.

2: Make Those New Mom Plans, Then Get Ready For Them To Change

I’m a serial Type-A, which means I have Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. That usually keeps me feeling in control and on top of things.

Having a baby meticulously destroyed that. Don’t worry. I’m still Type-A. Now, I’m a swirling sea of “Plan B… No, Plan D… alright, Plan F then…”

One of the hardest things for me to learn was that… gasp… I couldn’t control everything. At first, that was a blow to my mama confidence.

But, gradually and by dire necessity, I learned to accept that and figure out new ways to accomplish things.

Word of Advice For New Mom Survival:

You’re dealing with another human. There’s no way to plan every outcome or control every single situation. Accepting that sooner rather than later will grant your world a whole lot of peace.

It’s easier said than done. But it’s possible and Baby makes a great teacher.

3: The Definition of SuperMom Changes During The First Year

In the beginning, my idea of a successful day was taking care of Baby and accomplishing 47 tasks. When that didn’t happen–like, never happened–I felt like a failure.

It sure didn’t help to hear all the comparisons of how so-and-so kept a spotless house, cooked all the meals, ran errands, and–oh, yeah–had two or four babies to raise!

Talk about feeling beat up! Now, a year later, I’m casting suspicious glances on those stories.

My thoughts now are, “So, you’re telling me you had a perfectly clean house, cooked meals and packed lunches, ran all errands, and you were a present and loving mother to your babies? Hmm…”

Somewhere, something’s got to give. There are “house-care” days, and then there are “grocery days”. There are “errand days,” and there are “cooking days”. Sometimes more than one at a time.

But, no matter what, baby needs to have “Mama Days” every day.

That means putting the broom away and crawling on the floor with them, sharing blocks and teaching them how to turn the pages of their favorite book.

That means cuddling them close and telling them how wonderful and amazing they are, kissing their little cheek and letting them learn what love means… despite the pile of dishes or the basket of laundry.

Keeping house is important. But a healthy, happy child is so much more important.

In 20 years, they won’t care if the house was always perfect. What they’ll remember is if you read to them, spent time with them, showed–and told–them how much you loved them. They’ll remember connection.

Word of Advice For New Mom Survival:

Be okay with the fact that some days, SuperMom means a clean house, accomplished tasks and meals prepped. Also be okay with the fact that on other days, SuperMom means you got through the day without wearing an explosion of some kind and everyone is still sane.

Remind yourself that a happy baby that’s secure in your love makes you pretty Super.

4: You Don’t Need As Much “Stuff” As You Think You Do That First Year

During the first year as a new mom, I fell for the hype. If there was this amazing gadget out there, I went for it most of the time. Having a house with less storage curbed it sometimes.

But, being completely honest, I purchased more stuff before Baby was born than I truly needed.

I wrote about this learning experience in 5 Baby Must-Haves That Are Actually Must-Not’s. It’s one of the most popular reads on MamaFearless to date.

5 Baby Must-Haves That Were Actually Must-Not's

I hope it helps you feel more confident in what you do need, and save you some cash, too!

The truth is that, in the beginning, all that cool stuff is amazing. But, after several months, packing baby’s diaper bag continuously, bathing, and doing all the Mom-life stuff, you find that less become a whole lot more.

If there’s a simpler way to do something, it’s a golden method. Most of them time, the simpler ways are using things you already have in your home.

The things I wound up relying on–and still rely on after a year– are things like my forever loved muslin blankets, boon grass (no rack or other accessories needed), and Baby Boy’s sippy cup that works miracles and is a major life-saver.

I’ll be writing a post soon about several items we use every single day to hopefully give you an idea of what’s needed.

Word of Advice For New Mom Survival:

If you have something in your home that works just as well as that amazing baby item out there, use what you’ve got. The simpler everything is, I promise you, the more peaceful you feel.

My child is currently playing with Tupperware lids… and he’s extremely content. Hopefully that helps give you an idea!

5: New Mom, You Are WAY More Capable Than You Realize

This is perhaps the most difficult one to remember while raising Baby during the first year as a new mom when the going gets tough–and it will get tough at times.

I think the greatest opposing force to your mom powers is exhaustion. Days can become long and nights can become short. It’s easy to wear down.

Despite all the advice out there that says, “Drink Water! Get Rest! Take Some Time Off,” you will find yourself depleted at times. It’s just the name of the game.

It’s at those exhausted, vulnerable times that you’ll start to feel a blow to your confidence, and it’s easy to begin questioning everything you are and everything you do as a mother.

Don’t fall for the lies.

As a mom, no matter how tired you are or how discouraged you may feel, you will never lose sight of your love. That’s what makes you Mama.

Children are so, so gracious. They adore you, even on your not-so-great days. They aren’t expecting perfection, they just need your love and security. Knowing that is a beautiful thing.

There’s been times when I look at my son and say, “I don’t have the energy to do much, today. So let’s just sit on the floor and breathe.”

Despite my feeling like complete failure at life, I’ve just made his day. Within minutes he’ll be offering a toy or finding something to show me. And I’m good with just sitting there and admiring what he has to offer.

It gets easier as the days go by and I learn more and feel more confident. But, I had to learn to accept that I’m just not perfect and there will be days when all I’ve got is a hug, a weary smile and 5 cups of coffee to keep my eyes open.

But Baby Boy is happy, he’s healthy, and he’s content. That means that, despite those weird days, we’re succeeding.

Word of Advice For New Mom Survival:

Hold on to the fact that YOU, and you alone are Mama. Others may make you feel inadequate (and it can happen on those most vulnerable days), but absolutely NO ONE can replace what you are.

Your baby needs you–your tired, frazzled, sometimes insecure, tear-smudged self. And they’ll take you, just as you are. That’s the beauty of mama and baby.

Read about your baby’s advice on self-care (p.s. your baby is pretty brilliant).

Mom Advice, Self-Care

And that makes 5 Tips to Survive Baby’s First Year as a New Mom

I hope these 5 Tips to Survive Baby’s first year as a new mom has helped you. No, there’s no exact science. It’s a bit messy.

So feel confident, and feel courageous, because no one has EVER gotten through that first year flawlessly and with every hair in place. Just doesn’t happen.

So welcome to the club. You’re a beautiful addition.

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4 Responses

  1. Vanessa says:

    Yes! I felt this to the max!
    My son was 4 months last week and I’m a single mom back at work… hard. So. Very. Hard.
    I have felt that failure in sure a huge way because I require so much half from loved ones and he of course has a babysitter during the week. I always feel like he’s happier with other people.. they get more time than me.. etc.
    I’m trying daily to remind myself I’m doing the best I can and trust that he knows my love for him. 🙏🏼Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kinzie L Fleming says:

    You have no idea how much I needed this right now! I’m currently sitting in the tub, and I searched Pinterest for “Surviving the first year as a new mom”. Because the weeks are flying by, and I can’t help but think, “How the hell am I gonna be capable of this?! How in the world do I keep up with knowing what to do as each day flies by?! How do I raise a human, be a good mom, and realize I’m not raising a puppy anymore?!” I started to get super anxious, and just down right overwhelmed, feeling like I’m not gonna be able to do this.

    I clicked on your pin, and it brought tears to my eyes reading #5. What I was feeling lead me right to where I needed to be!

    THANK YOU!🙏❤

    • Aww this makes my whole day! I’m SO SO happy to know that you found some encouragement and support from MF. You are going to do GREAT! Seriously! You have my support and prayers! You’re a strong one and you’ll SLAY mommyhood!

      Much Love,

      Elizabeth <3

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