Becoming a first-time mom is thrilling and terrifying.
For the past nine months you have been waiting for this day to finally come!
With these tips you will feel much more comfortable with your baby at your own home.
1. Be prepared for all kinds of interesting (and strange) noises
Babies make lots of noises. No need to fear - this is all normal. Babies cry and yes they do cry quite a lot. This is their signal and only form of communication to let you know a multitude of things…it can signal that they are hungry, they need a diaper change, they want to be held, they’re tired, or it can mean absolutely nothing. Try different things when they cry like feeding them or checking their diaper. Babies burp quite a bit after their feedings. They will also hiccup and sneeze and make other strange little noises.
2. Get ready to feed your baby 8-12 times a day
A baby should eat 8-12 times a day. Hey, they’re growing and need all the nutrition they can get.
Even big eaters may lose up to 1/10th of what they weighed the day they were born during the first five days of their life. This is not reason for concern because they should gain it back again by their 10th day of life.
Some babies may lose even more if they fall asleep during feedings or reject bottles or breast feedings. If this continues to happen you can contact your pediatrician and discuss methods to fix the issue. When a baby is up to their recommended weight it’s okay for them to turn away from feeding because this is their signal they are full.
3. Expect to change diapers at least 5 times a day
Now that we have given you some feeding knowledge, let’s talk about what happens next…it’s diaper conversation time. On average you can expect to change at least four wet diapers a day and one or more poopy ones.
The coloring is a mustard-colored mush if you are breastfeeding and will be a yellow or tan color if you are using formula. This might seem gross but what comes out of your baby is a direct reflection of their health.
4. Learn Baby’s Sleep Habits
A newborn baby sleeps A LOT. They typically sleep 16 to 17 hours a day. Don’t get too excited that you will have tons of free time while they take a long snooze because a newborn usually only sleeps for only an hour or two and then wakes up. Just think of it as 17 hours cumulatively a day.
Tips for the 1st Week
5. Consistent Feedings
Round-the-clock feedings will become a major daily task. Make it easier on yourself and invest in a comfy rocker (you and baby will love it). Get comfy because you will be sitting there for a while baby eats. Some moms multi-task during this time. Try reading a book or your favorite magazine.
6. Giving baby its first bath
Tons of parents are nervous to bathe their tot for the first time. The best technique is to use tender care and take it slow. You need to work around baby’s umbilical cord. Sponge baths are the way to go. Make sure you gather all the bath supplies you need before you begin washing up your baby.
7. Be Careful of the Umbilical Cord
Another bath tip is to place a warm washcloth over baby’s tummy while they are taking a bath. This can help them feel much warmer. You can also turn down the AC when the baby is about to take a bath or even put the heat on a bit before the bath. Super cold air can be a shock to your baby and cause them to be super fussy during bath time which is no fun for anyone.
8. How to return to your pre-pregnancy self
No need to fear, your body will bounce back! You may be in pain and feeling weak but you will get back to normal. If you had a C-section just relax and let others people help you carry your tot around.
9. How to stop the tears
If baby won’t stop crying and you’ve tried to feed them and change their diaper…it might be as simple as them feeling tired. Instead of continually trying to play with your baby and carry him around, maybe try to lay him or her down for a nap and see if a simple change like this is enough for them to settle down.
10. How to prepare a crib
The crib or bassinet. This is an extremely significant part of baby’s life. Layer up the crib to make changing it much easier. Try to put down two layers of sheets and a waterproof mattress cover on the crib mattress. Then when the top sheets get dirty it is easier to change the crib without completely tearing it apart and starting from the bottom up.
11. Focus on yourself too
Of course you probably have all the essential for you baby BUT what about you? Invest in a few products to help the first week of motherhood go more smoothly. Water bottle: it’s extremely important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Keep a water bottle near you at all times to ensure you’re drinking enough water. Pillows: think about buying a body pillow, doughnut pillow or regular cushy pillow to help prop yourself up and make yourself feel more comfy. Snacks: you probably won’t have tons of time to cook fancy meals or even cook much at all so arm yourself with some snacks to get your through the day
Tips to prepare for baby
12. Picking out a crib
Cribs. There are tons of different cribs to choose from so it’s important you look at key characteristics to select the best one for you and your baby. Consider cribs that can convert to toddler beds to ensure a longer time of use. Also look at key safety features and always review the recall list before you make your big purchase.
13. Picking out a Stroller
Strollers and car seat? Wrong…you can actually get a travel system that incorporates both devices into one! You can simply pull the car seat out of the car and install it into the stroller in just a few minutes.
There are many types on the market. Some even allow the baby to face outwards and see the world in front of them. There are often options for carriage mode in which an additional bassinet attachment is not needed.
14. Help baby’s gums
Teething toys! This is a must for all new moms. When the baby starts teething you will definitely learn quick that teething toys will help the baby transition through this rough phase. You will find yourself going crazy to use any technique in the book to more your little one happy. There are tons of teething toys to choose from. Lots of moms put them in the freezer to chill the toy and help soothe baby’s sore gums. Trust us you will do anything to keep baby happy and (quiet)
15. Keep Baby Busy
Swings. They are great to use when you are trying to do some quick chores or just merely getting ready for your day ahead and quickly brushing your hair and throwing on mascara. Easily place baby in the swing and then run to the laundry machine to flip a load or throw some food in your mouth. There are tons of options, some swings have music, flashing lights or you can even find some with MP3 players and self-rocking mechanisms.
16. How to find the perfect bag
Diaper bags. The best advice is to purchase one that doubles as purse. Think about it, you will be carrying it all day everyday so you may as well choose a good one. Find a fashionable diaper bag that you are confident sporting around with tons of diapers and bottles along with your wallet and cell phone.
Find one with a great comfy strap or even one that can attach to your stroller to take the weight off your shoulders. There are special diaper bags with easy washable fabrics or opt for one with extra pocket space and sturdy zipper to squeeze all your belongings inside.
17. Find the perfect baby carrier
Baby carrier? We put a question mark for a reason…some moms love them and others would never want to literally attach their baby to themselves. If you are interested at all think about trying it on BEFORE you purchase it to ensure it is a comfortable fit for you and your newly born child.
There are many features you can look for like adjustable straps or padded ones. Just make sure the baby’s weight is evenly distributed by the baby carrier to ease back pain or tension you may experience.
18. Tips to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding essentials. So there is such a thing as a breastfeeding pillow. This might seem a bit extravagant however, it will become your new best friend in the challenge of motherhood. You can find super compact ones that will make you feel more comfortable.
19. Picking out a breastpump
Breast pumps. Okay so you knew it was coming. This is a vital part of becoming a new mom IF and ONLY IF you choose to breast feed (which if you read our benefits section will understand how beneficial it is for you and your new munchkin). So if you plan to nurse you should definitely make this a top investment. It’s a hard process but if your pump is reliable then you won’t have much to be concerned about.
Main aspects to keep in mind when looking at breast pumps are portability if you are wanting to have the ability to bring the pump with you to work and durability because obviously if needs to withstand the length that your baby will be breastfeeding
20. Picking out out a high chair
High chairs. It’s necessary because you have to have a place to put your baby. You most likely will grow to hate restaurant high chairs so think about purchasing a travel chair. Then you can bring it with you to all the places you go whether it be sporting events or food places.
You can place it on the side of your restaurant table and you can throw it in the back your car when you’re done. It also is a great product to have when you visit granny and grandpa’s house and need a place to set your baby.
21. How to select a car seat
Cars seats. Here’s a big one. This isn’t a product you want to cut costs on because it is your baby’s safe haven while in your car. Do your research to ensure you buy the best and safest car seat possible.
Baby’s comfort and safety are your priority as a parent so this tip almost goes without saying but we will reiterate to really make it set in. Make sure to look up the recall lists because all sorts of things can go wrong with car seats and you want to ensure you don’t wanna fall into this trap.
22. Hide a stinky diaper
Diaper pails. This is a necessity that you will be glad you spent the money on. No one… let me repeat...no one likes a smelly diaper so find a diaper pail that will hide the nasty odor. You can find super cute and colorful ones made of all sorts of materials from metal to plastic. The key attribute is finding one with a tightly fitted lid that seals to lock in all the unwanted scents. Some you can even use regular kitchen trash bags inside so that makes it much easier.
23. Clean baby bottles with ease
Bottle drying rack. Although this is not a required item to buy before baby is born…it’s nice to have at home. This helps to avoid the kitchen counters from getting overrun by baby bottles and caps. There are festive one that you can buy to help your kitchen keeps its integrity even when you bring baby back.
24. Product to help you and baby
Stability balls. So we all have heard about a rocking chair but what about an exercise ball. You can breast feed or rock baby as you get your own little workout. This can help you focus on your core and stretch out your back. What a great multitasker!
25. How to select a baby monitor
Baby monitors. Many parents love their baby monitor because it gives peace of mind when you decide to leave baby on their own. When they’re fussy and you can’t decide if you need to intervene you can rely on the monitor to see how long they’re actually crying
26. Apps to help you
White noise machine or app. Having a device to help make some noise that isn’t disturbing is key to help you get things done around the house. You can live every moment being completely quiet to avoid waking your child so a white noise option helps buffer out any outside sounds and let bay stay peacefully asleep
27. Keeping baby busy
Play mat. There are tons of options for play mats and activity gyms. All of which keep baby busy and learning. Tots are fascinated by mirrors, plush animals and rolling around on the soft surface of play mats so definitely add this to your list of baby items.
Baby bouncers. These devices are great in keeping baby entertained and allowing you to get things done. There are baby bouncers that sit on the floor like a chair or options that hang from door frames.
Tips for Traveling around with baby
28. What to do before leaving home
Before you leave the house you must pack up your diaper bag with all your essentials. Pack it with tons of diapers and everything you will need on the go. Throw in a change of clothes for yourself in the diaper bag. You never know when baby might get you messy as well so it’s best to be prepared.
29. Go to baby-friendly places
Try to go to places that are welcoming of babies. Go to storytime at the library where tons of noisy children are running around so that you won’t be the only one with a crying baby. Look up baby and toddler events at local bookstores and community centers to find fun things to do close by.
Tips for soothing baby
30. How to hold baby
“Mimic the womb” this means swaddle, swing, soothe, sush and gently move baby around to help relax them and trigger a calming reflex that reminds them of when they were still in your tummy.
31. Find music to ease baby
Music! Everyone enjoys listening to music and I think most of us can agree it influences our mood…well this is no different for baby. Music is very helpful to help calm infants. There are tons of lullaby and music specifically created for babies out on the market.
Think of playing some classical music or even some nature sounds or the calming ocean. A top recommendation is the Baby Einstein. Test out different music and see what works best for your baby.
32. Try giving baby a nice bath
Warm baths are great to relax a fussy baby. A little soak will also help their bellies if their umbilical cord stub is still attached.
33. Try going for a walk
Some mothers find it helpful to simply walk around when their baby is upset and needs to be soothed. Take a few laps around the house. You can even do some lunges and small squats. This helps whip you in shape and create a calm for any fussiness. If you’re able to go outside, even try a walk around the block and let your baby fall asleep in the stroller during your quick stroll.
Tips to help baby nap
34. Prepare for nap time
Set the stage of sleep and nap time by using pre-sleep time rituals to ease your baby into the process. Before bed time think about giving them a bath or reading a book. Simple cues will clue baby into what’s going on
35. Train baby for nap time
This is a very specific tip but one that we believe in…lay baby down when they are still awake but on the verge of sleep. This teaches them in an independent fashion how to fall asleep without you actually physically being there to (literally) hold their hand to fall asleep.
36. Change diapers before napping
Ensure baby has a clean diaper and her/his tummy is full before you try to send them to bed for the night. This ensures baby won’t wake up in the next 30 minutes crying for food or needing a diaper change
37. Carefully select soft lighting
Make sure baby’s room is lit dimly during the day if you are trying to encourage nap time. Hang curtains of blinds to encourage baby to sleep
38. Napping is a learning process
Teach baby the difference between night and day. In all honesty this tip may be the most helpful on this entire list. Babies easily get confused on their sleep routine and wake up as the sun is setting and decide they want to sleep the entire day away.
During the day try to keep baby busy with toys and games. Try to sing or dance with baby and keep them busy so that they begin to learn that this is the time to be awake
As night approaches closer, slow things down by making the house quieter and more subdued
Tips for preparing your home for baby
39. Must get your home prepared
Babyproofing your home is so extremely important. You should ensure everything is safe for when it’s time to bring baby home from the hospital. Do these things BEFORE baby is brought home to help your own sanity
40. Cover sharp areas
First step. Chances are your home has sharp places on furniture or rough edges that can harm babies. Try to wrap edges with plastic or bubble wrap. You can also just move around and rearrange furniture to help baby’s contact with the dangerous area
41. Secure furniture
Confirm any furniture that is heavy or can easily tip over is secured. Cover any electric sockets with baby guards and purchase latches for cabinets in reach of baby, especially those that have dangerous or hazardous items inside.
42. Remove unsafe objects from the home
Take magnets off the fridge that are in a baby’s reach because these can prompt a choking hazard. You will be surprised by the things babies can get into that you never would have thought could pose a threat. Once they start crawling prepare yourself for just about anything
Tips to for mom to stay “sane”
43. Enjoy the process of motherhood
Becoming a new mother is very exciting but with the thrill also comes chaos. Infants are very time-consuming and for you to be the best mom possible, you need your sanity. It’s extremely important to find techniques and methods to lower you own stress levels.
44. Ignore unwanted advice
This will make you much happier and the entire motherhood experience much more enjoyable. So take a deep breathe and fall in love with being a mom.
A major stressor that you probably never would have expected prior to motherhood is the stress and pressure you will receive from other people. Ignore the confusing advice if it becomes too overwhelming. Everyone seems to believe that they know best but in reality you are the parent. It’s great to get tips when you need or want them.
45. Find comfort in friends
You can reach out to trusted friends and family or even do your own research. However, don’t let everyone tell you how to raise your child just because you’re a new mom. You will learn as you go and can handle it!
46. Try chatting with your own mom
Now on the other hand…it’s great to accept advice and help when you do need it. Call up your mom and ask her how she handled the terrible twos or what methods she used to calm you down when you were fussy. Mom will love giving you her input and her experiences to help her beloved grandbaby.
47. It’s okay to say yes
People will offer to help you by just holding the baby and it’s a great opportunity for you to allow someone to literally take the weight from your tired arms. If a friend is begging to babysit baby, let them. Give yourself a few hours to run errands or get things done around the house. It’s okay to say yes!
Tips to get dad involved with baby
48. Encourage dad and baby bonding time
Give dad a chance to bond with his bundle of joy too. Let dad and baby hang out. This helps the baby feel comfortable around people besides you and gives you a break as well. This also gives dad a chance to figure things out like when baby cries what to do.
The baby can learn that they can receive comfort from someone besides momma which will definitely help in the future when grandparents or babysitters might start to watch your tot.
49. Methods for dad to bond
Some easy ways for dads to bond quickly with baby are through play. Yes, a newborn can’t throw a football but they can enjoy playtime too. Dads have a different style of play and interaction with baby. Try reading a book or play peek-a-boo. Dads can try soothing the baby, singing or walking around.
50. How to feed baby properly
When bottle-feeding, hold baby in the same position that he/she is held while breastfeeding. The baby will pick up on the similarity and feel much more at ease.
51. Have dad take the night shift
Dads can sign up for the “night shift” and give mom a break. When the baby cries have mom stay in bed and instead let dad have some alone time with the baby. Keeping some bottles prepared in the fridge for middle of the night feedings will ease the work of getting up during the wee hours of the night.
Tips for moms that plan to breastfeed
52. Learn the benefits of breastfeeding
It’s common knowledge that breastfeeding is super healthy and beneficial for babies BUT did you know that it’s super great for you too! Breastfeeding helps your uterus go back to its normal size before you were pregnant and also slows down post-delivery bleeding. It can also help you lose the pregnancy weight (woo hoo!)
53. Drop the extra baby weight
Breastfeeding can help burn up to an extra 500 calories a day…so basically that’s the equivalent of a large waffle with syrup or McDonald’s Big Mac. It can also help lower your risk of postpartum depression.
54. Learn how breastfeeding helps your mood
Breastfeeding can help relax moms because it releases the hormone oxytocin which promotes nurturing and relaxation. It may reduce the risk of breast/ovarian cancer. Some studies point to the fact that breastfeeding has a direct relation to the structural changes in breast tissue and lactation suppresses estrogen amounts that the body makes
55. Understand breastfeeding benefits for baby
How breastfeeding benefits baby…One study found that breastfed babies are less than formula fed babies to get fevers after their immunizations. It has been proven to lower a child’s risk of having allergies and helps kids get sick less frequently
55. Learn the nutritional value of breast milk
Lowered risk of obesity and Type 1 and 2 diabetes. Reduced the risk for ear infections and gastroenteritis. The nutrients in breastmilk are optimal in strengthening and developing a baby’s young immune system. Breast milk is not comparable to any other form of nutrition.
56. Breast milk helps baby’s dental health
Breastfeeding aids in oral development by making the baby use certain jaw movements. Gives baby specific nutrients that directly decrease the risk of tooth decay. Yay a healthy beautiful smile! It decreased the likelihood of pneumonia or bronchitis hospitalizations and lowers any risk of infections in the respiratory system
57. Breastfeeding benefits the brain
Breastfeeding can make baby SMARTER. Studies have linked breast fed children to have higher scores on performance and cognitive development evaluations. Plus hello…if it wasn’t obvious already but breast milk is FREE! So it’s not only great for you and your baby but it will make your wallet happy too!
58. How to begin breastfeeding
A great tip to begin breastfeeding is to try doing it within the first hour the baby is born. You can ask to have your baby with you in your room at the hospital which makes feedings much easier. Breastfeeding right away helps contract the uterus which is beneficial for you.
59. Ask the nurse for breastfeeding advice
If you’re worried about doing it incorrectly, have a nurse help you before you leave the hospital. It should not be a painful process so ask for tips and tricks to make sure you are comfortable breastfeeding before you are on your own at home
60. What to expect from breastfeeding
On average, you will breastfeed about eight to twelve times every day (every 24 hours that is). Baby will cry or put his hand in his mouth to signal to you that he is hungry.
Think about breastfeeding as a supply and demand type of activity. Don’t be afraid you will run out of milk because the more nursing you do, the more milk your body will produce.
Tips to prepare baby’s nursery
61. Focus on creating a peaceful place
Make the nursery a peaceful environment. No matter if it is in your bedroom or in a separate nursery room try to make it a quiet place. Use subdued lighting and select a place that has little traffic. Your baby will most likely spend quite a bit of time in this room so you want it to be fantastic
61. How to choose baby’s bed
Many moms choose a bassinet during the first months of the newborn's life. Portable baby beds are great to transport around the home. They can be carried room to room which makes it nice when you want to spend time in the living room or in the kitchen because you can have baby right there with you.
62. How to make the nursery perfect
Tips for choosing a crib...Obviously you will have to invest in one eventually so here are so great pieces of advice to select the best one for your bundle of joy. Slats of the crib should not be more than two and three eighths (2 3/8) inches apart. This helps baby from slipping through (terrifying we know).
63. Choose the best mattress for baby
Choose a crib mattress that fits snug and nicely inside of the crib so that it doesn’t move around. Make sure you take off all plastic coverings and select tightly fitted sheets. Never ever place the crib near a window with blinds, or curtains. This can cause a hazard with the cords that might be hanging.
64. Always place baby on its back
Each time you set baby down to sleep make sure they are placed on their backs. Everyone has heard of the very serious Sudden Baby Death Syndrome, also known as, SIDS. Think of the phrase “back to sleep” when you are putting your bundle of joy down for a nap or to sleep for the night.
65. What not to do
Never put fluffy pillows, blankets or toys inside of the crib with your newborn. The can prompt suffocation or could accidentally become tangled around baby
66. Select the best changing table for baby
Changing tables are super important because after all you will unfortunately be using it all the time. Go for a sturdy and stable changing table. Try to find one with a 2-inch guardrail that wraps around all four sides. Secure the changing table to the wall if you’re able to. This avoids a tragic tip-over. Also check to see if there are wheels on the legs and if so, make sure you lock them
Tips for baby’s skin care
67. Create a skincare routine
You may have not thought of baby skin care but it is a vital aspect to your tots health and wellbeing. Johnson and Johnson says baby’s skin needs extra protection from environmental changes and harsh cleansers.
68. Understand baby’s skin
It’s 30% thinner than adult skin and is much more prone to irritation. Baby skin absorbs water much faster but it also loses the absorption faster as well. Choose mild and gentle cleanser and moisturizers that are specially made for babies
Tips for everything else baby-related
69. Try a baby massage
Baby massages can help strengthen your bond to your tot and also benefit healthy development.
70. Steps to a baby massage
Choose a time when baby is fully awake and alert. Make sure it is when they have eaten so that they are not hungry but also not super full. Make the lighting in the room warm and avoid it being harshly bright or this can ruin some of the relaxation aspects of the baby massage.
Position baby so that you can see their face. Use some baby lotion and rub it into baby’s delicate skin
71. How to make your life easier
Clearly you won’t have a ton of extra time to get ready once baby is born. So here are a few pointers to get ready quickly. Get everything ready the night before so that you aren’t scrambling around in the mornings. Shower at night right after you put baby to bed.
Pick out your clothes the night before and even consider picking out your outfits for the entire week at one time to save in the long run.
72. How to save time and still look fabulous
Don’t do your entire makeup routine but instead pick your basics and come up with a simple 5 or 10 minute makeup regimen. You don’t have to stop caring about what you look like or say goodbye to makeup just because you are a new mom. Throw on your bb cream and mascara and you will still look gorgeous and great while on the go
73. Try waking up earlier
Ugh this sounds dreadful. But if you wake up just 30 minutes before baby gets up, this give you extra time to get things done around the house and ensure yourself some sanity. It will be well worth the early alarm clock. Trust us!
74. Pack the perfect diaper bag
Here’s our list of must-haves that you shouldn’t leave the house without. Diapers: pack one for every hour you are out and maybe toss in some extra ones too
Wipes: these are great for the obvious (diaper changes) but also nice clean up messy hands and unsanitary surfaces you may come across
75. Make sure to pack extras
Changing pads: you may not have thought of this one yet but it’s nice to line the surface you are placing baby on when changing their diaper. A towel even works!
Hand sanitizer: this is a no-brainer
Snacks: this is more for older babies or toddlers. Think about like jar baby food, utensils or finger foods. Make sure you throw in some bibs for your messy baby
76. Choosing the best bag for you
Diaper bag tips (what to look out for)...Waterproof lining so you can easily wipe up accidents. Pockets and lots of compartments to keep yourself organized. Nothing is worse than not being able to find your car keys in the bitter cold or having your cell ring and it be in the bottom of the bag. Test it out! See if the bag is comfortable for you
77. Take time to breathe
Last but not least…breathe. Take a deep breath and enjoy this beautiful process. You made it through the past 9 months and now you get to raise your little tot. Take our advice and fall in love with all motherhood has to offer!
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.