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  • Writer's pictureOnce Upon A Mommy

Newborn Advice From A Mom Who’s Been There 5 Times…

Updated: Mar 5

By Cris S.

January 17, 2024


With each child you give birth to, you grow wiser and you learn. Sometimes what you learn with one baby is completely turned upside down by the next baby, and all of your previously learned strategies mean almost nothing this time around. After having 5 babies, there are some things I learned that would have been great to know as a new mother. Here are a few of those things:

  1. Yes, breastfeeding is best... BUT... Don't let anyone make you feel bad or inadequate if you don't! I remember being in the hospital after my first baby and suggesting to the nurse that we try some formula. I was having a hard time breastfeeding and was not getting very much guidance on it. Plus I was uncomfortable and scared as a brand new, young Mom. Well, this nurse made me feel like I was already failing as a Mother by even suggesting that we try formula! Here are some facts: You love your new baby with all your heart, and will feed him and nurture him no matter what! If that means you give him formula, then SO BE IT! Not breastfeeding your new baby does not mean that you love him any less! Breastfeeding or formula feeding is not a measure of how much you love or care for your baby. Now, as a nurse, I know exactly how that situation with my younger self SHOULD have been handled... I should have given support and encouragement from that nurse, woman to woman. I needed to hear that it can be challenging to breastfeed at first and very uncomfortable, but once me and my newborn got the hang of it, it would get easier. I needed to be taught how to properly position baby on my breast, and offered a pump to help move milk production along. Lanolin or a nipple shield may have been great too. Educate yourself on breastfeeding and learn everything you can before you give birth. Then, if you still decide you want to formula feed, know that it is OKAY! Your baby will still be healthy, smart and madly in love with you no matter what you decide!

2. Don't feel bad if you are not 100% "ready" to have a baby. I mean sure, the more ready you are the better!

Whether it was my first, second, or fifth, I can't think of a time where I was completely convinced that it was the "perfect time" to have a a baby. We were ready from a supply standpoint: The nursery was ready, diapers stocked up, meals premade. Maternity leave and hospital paperwork was all in order. But the closer it got to "go time", the more my mind went into overdrive.

Likely partially due to hormones, my brain was back and forth between "ready to roll" and "oh my gosh, how am I going to raise another kid??

What were we thinking??

How is this going to work?"

These are all completely normal thoughts to be having. In fact, if I ever waited on my brain to tell me it was the perfect time, I wouldn't have any kids at all.

There are only so many ways you can prepare to add a new addition to the family. No matter how ready you are (or are not), just know that once that little baby is out of your body and into your arms, none of those thoughts will really matter anymore. You would move mountains and cross oceans just to make sure your little one is taken care of and the love you have for him will surpass anything else.

3. Treasure every moment with her... BUT... Please don't feel guilty if you occasionally look forward to her being out of a certain stage. For example: I treasured the newborn moments with my son. He was a fantastic nurser, didn't cry much, slept well and was a generally happy baby.

I did not treasure too many newborn moments with my second daughter. She cried nonstop. She threw up everything I tried to feed her, even the breast milk. Screaming, constipation, cranky, colicky, and refused to sleep, even in the car.

Yes, she obviously had some GI issues and we did everything in our power to overcome them. Bottom line: I did not enjoy her newborn months. Like, at all. I felt guilty at the time for fantasizing about her being 3 years old and being able to tell me what her problems were, but I still couldn't help but have those thoughts.

Fast forward a few babies... My 3rd and 4th were angels as newborns (from a comparative standpoint)... And then we get to number five.. Ha! Not so lucky this time around.

My sweet fifth baby came out tongue-tied and lip-tied so nursing sucked in the beginning. (No pun intended) No GI issues this time, but she still cried and cried and cried.

Yes, I did cherish as many newborn moments with her as I could. I know this time is fleeting: It goes by so incredibly fast. I still can't believe I already did it five times!

Knowing this made me cherish my last "baby moments" even more..

But I also occasionally thought about how I was ready to get past the newborn moments and into the toddler ones. And now she is a hurricane of a toddler. We switched out the crying for a screeching, hitting, fussing, opinionated 2 year old. Do I miss the newborn days? Honestly... No, not really! And I don't feel guilty about it at all...

Also, dont feel guilty if you just want to get away from your baby for a little while. Mommy, you need to breathe!! You need moments away from your little bundle just as much as you need the moments with her!

By giving yourself a bit of time to relax and unwind, you are taking care of your mental health. Doing that will result in you being a greater Mother all around!

4. Don't stress about the milestones. Every baby is different and they reach their milestones at different times.

I had one baby walking at 10 months and another walking at 14 months. Guess what? They both grew and developed perfectly fine.

Another of my babies was super hungry and ready for baby food starting between 4 and 5 months, yet one of my daughters wanted nothing to do with it until she was almost 7 months.

Milestones are a range, not a rule. Don't freak out if your baby is "running behind". He will get there.

Make sure to take your baby to his regular checkups, which are quite often during their first year. The pediatrician will let you know about where they should be, and if they're not, they can offer helpful advice and tips to move baby in the right direction. They will also let you know if there are any actual concerns to be had.

5. Don't compare you or your baby to others.

This is a hard one, especially with social media and the internet hurling ideas into your head about being the "perfect mother".

All the beautiful pictures that you see of happy, smiling mothers with newborns all over the internet (including in this post) are only showing a small, posed snippet in the day of the life with a newborn.

If we were being more realistic, these pictures would be of screaming babies, gross gooey green poopey, stinky spit up and an exhausted mother with bags under her eyes and a serious caffeine issue.

That's the reality of it! Anyone who disagrees has never actually had a child before.

Between all the gross newborn stuff, try to seek out the beauty. You created a little tiny human!

And with this human you have a bond unlike anything else on this earth. It's a magnificent feat!

Don't worry that you didn't take a shower today...

Don't worry that you are too exhausted to give the little one a bath tonight...

Don't worry that you are doing nothing but watching TV, eating, nursing and changing diapers.

If all you do today is care for and love your children, then you have succeeded at being the most incredible mother any baby could ever ask for!

6. Since we mentioned bonding, let's acknowledge the fact that you may not even feel that incredible beautiful bond with your baby right away!

You love your baby, of course. You're so excited to have your new little bundle and take him home.

But between the pain in your nether regions and breasts, the exhaustion and all the bodily fluids coming out of you and your baby, some women don't feel that "connection" that they were expecting to have with their little one.

And it's okay!

Sometimes it takes time to build that bond. It will happen. As you get to know your baby and start caring for your baby, the connection will strengthen and your love will grow.

If you find yourself sad, depressed and isolated at any time after having your baby, be sure to reach out to your doctor or midwife so you can be screened for postpartum depression. There is never any reason to feel ashamed about this. Many woman go through a period of depression after having a new baby, just make sure you reach out for help if you need it!

7. Go ahead and make a birth plan... BUT understand that there will be many opportunities for it to go a different way. For example, I was not planning for my second child to have the umbilical cord twisted around her ankles... Or for her heart rate to drop during each contraction... Or for her to be meconium stained... And voila!! There went my birth plan out the window... And into the operating room I went.

Now I'm not telling you these things to scare you. There is a reason they attach all those monitors to you and keep track of baby's heart rate during the birthing process.

More than likely, everything will go just fine and you can follow your plan. Just be open to the possibility that things can change very quickly.

Something I wish I would have done ahead of time was educate myself on c-sections. (I was not yet a nurse at the time). I was terrified when they told me I was going to have an emergency c-section, mainly because I knew nothing about them and had no idea what to expect.

Knowledge is power, right?

Educate yourself on natural AND c-sections and the recovery process for both.

8. Accept the mess. Don't be too hard on yourself in those first few weeks. You will eat, sleep and breathe your newborn baby.

Diapers will stack up.

The laundry pile will grow.

DoorDash may be your new best friend...


If you have older kids, take some time before the baby is born to go over ways that they can help. Ask a close relative or good friend if they would be willing to help out if needed, especially if your partner will be right back to work after the birth.

One of the best things that someone did for me after my fifth child was born was show up to my house bringing a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken, salad, mac-and-cheese and rolls.

It was so thoughtful and so completely practical! This act of bringing meals to families with newborns used to be common practice, but not too many people do it anymore.

If anyone asks how they can help after baby is born, ask them to bring food! (Especially if you have a big family)

Please share with anyone who is expecting and hit that cute little heart at the bottom of this post!

Happy Parenting!

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