New Mom Tips, Encouragement, and Advice for New Parents

First Time Mom Advice and Encouragement

As a new mom, I was thrown into the wide world of babyhood in one fell swoop. Everything from figuring out breastfeeding and postpartum care, to sleep deprivation and “why is he STILL crying?”

It hit me hard and fast. While I had prepared in every way I thought possible, the reality sunk in with the gentleness of ripping off a very large bandage.

Maybe this was just me. Maybe every other mother out there instantly figures everything out and is back on her feet (physically, mentally, and emotionally) in no time…but I suspect there may be a fellow new mom out there who feels me on this.

As a new mom, you will hear so much parenting advice from friends, family, and strangers. While some parenting tips are pretty standard, there are very few things that apply to every single new mom. A new baby changes everything. And that’s hard. It just is.

So, take a look at this new parent advice and the story of my experience as a new mother which led to it. If you’re a mom-to-be or in the trenches with a newborn, this post is for you. This advice for new parents will refresh, encourage, and empower the weary heart of the struggling new mom.

New mom, it's ok to need encouragement and help. Survive the first months with a new baby with this great parenting advice. If you're pregnant or a first time mom, here are tips you need to know. I wish I had known...

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My New Mom Story

I knew I wasn’t struggling with post-partum depression. I LOVED my baby. I felt joy and purpose and thankfulness. I adored being his mama. It was just…so…hard.

Then things really fell apart. Around 3 months in, my son’s sleep took a turn from stillllll not sleeping through the night to not sleeping…ever. Not just not sleeping, but HATING sleep. He hated being put down for naps or bedtime, or honestly being put down at all. He screamed. A lot. If he did finally fall asleep, moving a limb to try to creep to the crib would instantly wake him.

There’s more.

He also despised riding in the car. So, not only was that soothing option off the table, but going ANYWHERE was a nightmare. He cried the entire time we were at the grocery store, driving my stress to an impressive new level of crazy. I couldn’t leave the room to use the bathroom or set him down to wash a dish. He is allergic to dairy, so I quickly had to cut every trace of milk from my diet while nursing, which led to me having trouble finding something to eat most days. So I was exhausted AND starving.

While these things in and of themselves are extremely challenging, it was one more thing that really had me falling to pieces. I was comparing myself and my baby to every other mom I knew. I told myself that I shouldn’t, but I tortured myself wondering why things looked so much easier for other moms.

Any bit of well-meaning advice just felt like another thing I was doing wrong. I had tried it! I had tried EVERYTHING. No one seemed to really, truly understand. I saw no other babies struggling like mine. No other mamas struggling like me.

I’d see pictures of my friends’ babies sleeping in their high chairs or in the middle of their play mats. My son NEVER fell asleep on his own. He wouldn’t even fall asleep with help!

I watched as other moms went back to work and looked adorable and put-together only weeks after giving birth, while I was still hoping to crawl back into bed at 4 p.m. each day. I’d hear of friends’ families going on trips and cry over the fact that we couldn’t even go to the store without both of us melting down. It seemed like every aspect of our new life was harder than anyone else’s.

WHY IS IT SO MUCH EASIER FOR THEM?! What am I doing wrong?!

This lasted the bulk of the first year of my son’s life. I felt alone, exhausted, and frustrated…for way too long.

New mom, it's ok to need encouragement and help. Survive the first months with a new baby with this great parenting advice. If you're pregnant or a first time mom, here are tips you need to know. I wish I had known...

Those 4 Little Words

Now, I know that the reality of what we worked through would have been extremely difficult no matter what. Looking back, I can see how real that struggle was. But I often wonder how much easier things might have been if someone had explained 4 little words to me from the beginning…

All babies are different.

I realize that sounds simple and super obvious. But I had an expectation. As a new mom, as a mom-to-be for that matter, I really believed that my baby would be born and then it was up to me to control how our new life played out. This led to me feeling like everything falling apart was my fault. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t fix it. Why couldn’t I make things look more like my friends’ lives?

Between phrases like “sleep training” and “scheduling,” I assumed it was all up to me. Things I needed to DO to create the perfect baby environment for us. I never considered that an outside factor would affect our first year.

That outside factor was my baby!

I did everything “right.” I did what the books said. Then I did what the blogs said to do when the books don’t work. I tried to fit my sweet son into a one-size-fits-all box. And it was a nightmare!

Babies Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All

I say all the time that if I had known to just set that first year aside and let things happen naturally, it would have been so much easier. To be honest it was more than a year, but all the same, if I had stopped checking in with myself thinking “he’s another month older, why don’t we have it together yet?” I think we would have all been a lot happier.

Now, let me clarify, I’m still a huge fan of doing what works for your family and your baby. I will most likely try some sleep training with our one on the way. But what I will not do is assume that he or she will respond perfectly or easily fit into the baby mold I see on Pinterest. What I will do is get to know my baby and respond in the best way I know how, because I’m the mama and that’s enough.

New mom, it's ok to need encouragement and help. Survive the first months with a new baby with this great parenting advice. If you're pregnant or a first time mom, here are tips you need to know. I wish I had known...

I’m saying, give yourself a break. If you can relate to our story at all, you know how difficult and lonely it feels. If this isn’t you, please don’t judge. You can’t know until you’ve been there! You’ve heard people talk about “easy babies,” but that implies that there are also “hard babies.” And as perfect and wonderful as my darling son is…this describes him. I’ve seen families grow from 2 to 3 or 4 and never have the struggles we’ve faced. Some babies are just harder. All babies are different.

If you are familiar with this struggle, I want you to know it’s ok to take the pressure off. It’s ok to do what works for your baby, even if no one else is doing it.

This may apply more to your life in terms of feeding or illness or something else that I can’t possibly understand because I haven’t been there. My experience has definitely taught me not to judge another mother quickly. I don’t know their situation.

What I do know…now…finally…is that we are all just doing the best we can.

You’re Not Alone

New mom, if you’re struggling, know that you aren’t alone. Don’t get caught up comparing yourself to what seems perfect in a carefully selected and edited picture. Love your baby and take care of yourself. The rest will come in time. It may be a long time, but your baby will grow and so will you. And in the meantime, reach out to other moms who share some of your story. Reach out to me if you want! You shouldn’t feel as alone as I did. You’re not.

All babies are different. And so are all mamas. YOU are enough for your baby. No sleep schedule, feeding regiment, or quick trick will be the perfect fix. Because all your baby really needs is you. And YOU are enough.

(If you want to know more about how we worked through our sleep struggles, check out this post.)

For more tips on pregnancy and life as a new mom, follow me on Pinterest.

new mom tips before baby arrives

New mom, it's ok to need encouragement and help. Survive the first months with a new baby with this great parenting advice. If you're pregnant or a first time mom, here are tips you need to know. I wish I had known...
New mom, it's ok to need encouragement and help. Survive the first months with a new baby with this great parenting advice. If you're pregnant or a first time mom, here are tips you need to know. I wish I had known...
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18 Comments

    • ashleybbass

      Mandie, I’m so encouraged to hear this was helpful! Yay! Even now, it’s so good to hear I’m not the only mama out there with this struggle! If you need help with sleep issues, I have a couple of posts on what helped us.

  1. Amber

    I love your story and can definitely relate to what your saying. Being a new mom I had seen my friends have a breeze and I kept asking why is it so diffeent, even my labor was traumatic. Thank you for sharing your story. ?

    • ashleybbass

      Amber, thank you for your sweet comment! It was hard for me to be vulnerable and put my story out there, so it is sooo awesome to hear that it’s helpful for other mamas. Keep up the hard work, Mama, you’re doing great. 🙂

  2. Taryn

    My goodness did I need to read this! All of my friends seem to have easy babies and make me feel like I’m doing something wrong since my baby has many bad days and hated sleep for a very long time. and what worked for them didn’t work so easily for me. Talk about discouraging. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • ashleybbass

      Taryn, I’m SO glad this was encouraging for you! I’m learning that it’s hard for others to understand when they haven’t been there. Just keep doing the best you can and enjoying your baby. You are definitely not alone!

  3. Kathleen Constant

    Oh boy can I relate to this! My DD is 28 months now but we STRUGGLED with sleep, food allergies, and SPD for the first 2 years. At 18 months I finally (4th Dr!) found a ped who would test her Ferritin levels. Turns out no anemia but also no Ferritin! She much much better on novaferrum iron suppliments. But you absolutely can try EVERYTHING and have NONE of it work! I was told I needed to Ferber (TRIED it!) and be a tougher/better mom… guess what I am an awesome mom who trusted my gut and my baby. Hang in there mamas! I will get better!! <3

  4. I absolutely LOVE this post! My son had a lot of sleep issues which made life rough. When I would talk to other moms and their little ones slept would get more frustrated. I just had my 2nd baby and already the differences are there! Every baby is different…parenting is not one size fits all!

    • ashleybbass

      So true! I’m so glad to hear that this post was encouraging for you. It makes all the difference to know there are other mamas who understand. And yay for a good sleeper!!!

  5. Angelyka James

    hey, so I just recently found out that my youngest daughter (I have three) has a milk protein allergy. I’m really looking for encouraging diets, tips, tricks, advice, anything to help me get through this, and I have read a few of your posts, and I just wanted to thank you for having the courage to write about the struggles you go through with your son.

    • ashleybbass

      Angelyka, thank you so much for that encouragement! I am so glad that my story has helped you and I hope these tips make your dairy free experience a little less challenging. I hope you continue to follow along!

  6. Kate

    Sometimes not fitting into the “box” mold is the hardest and best lesson ever! My son (although baby stage was “ok”), not talking and behavior issues made me and him so isolated. I still feel judged when a hyper active non stop 4 year old won’t sit still for 10 mins and have been told we need more discipline. We and babies and kiddos are all different and need LOTs of grace for ourselves and our babies being themselves! What a great blog! Every mom needs to read this.

    • ashleybbass

      Kate, Oh this is so encouraging. Isn’t it just great to know we aren’t alone? I can see my big guy being a lot like yours when he’s 4. You’re right, grace is the key. Thank you for the comment!

  7. Angela

    I wish I had read this 16 months ago! My darling little boy was and is the hardest baby I’ve ever known! Especially in terms of sleep/naps/car. Your story resonates so much with mine. I’m sad to say I spent the majority of his first year crying and stressing because he hated naps and the car and wondering why couldn’t I figure him out. I read and tried everything that was advised. Nothing worked.
    Baby 2 is due this summer and I’m trying so hard to have no expectations haha and to just love this baby and do what is needed.
    Thanks again!

    • ashleybbass

      Angela, thank you so much for sharing this! These are my favorite kinds of comments. It STILL gives me so much encouragement to see there are other mamas feeling this way. Congratulations on Baby #2! Yep, exactly! Just love them and do the best mommin’ you can. They are worth the struggle! You’re a good mama!

  8. Michaela

    Hi Ashley,
    I stumbled upon your post by accident, and ended up reading the whole thing! Oh my goodness, I get you! My son is turning 3 next month and he still refuses to fall asleep on his own! He is a good car napper now, but that wasn’t always the case! I remember one night in the 1st few months of his life where hubby and me drove over 40km’s and back in an effort to lull him to sleep, without success!! I tried EVERYTHING the books, the blogs, the old ladies (you know – those ancient mama’s who think they’re entitled to giving advise in this day and age!!) said, but nothing worked. I was diagnosed with PND only to find out later that it was actually just a serious case of anxiety brought on by a constantly crying infant!! Somewhere after 18 months things started getting easier. Maybe because he started to talk and walk, making him more independent, I don’t know! All I do know is that I look back at his first years and realise how much I missed, because I was so tired and frustrated! Now he entertains me with his clever remarks and giggle fits, and that makes up for him still not sleeping! We are also expecting our second, and I am already anxious about what life will hold in store this time around…
    Thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and for writing this post. I hope it will encourage a few new mama’s going through something similar! Hang in there mama, you’re doing an awesome job!

    • ashleybbass

      Michaela, I LOVE reading comments from mamas who understand this struggle! You are a strong, loving Mama. I agree, just let go of the expectations and enjoy your little ones. You’re a good mama, Mama!

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