10 Things Every First-time Mom Should Know

By Esther Rachel Lai. - 1/02/2016

It's been almost 5 years since I first became a mom & honestly, I had no clue about the life I had coming. Despite being a teen mom, I was determined to take on motherhood and had read up everything I could read about a child's first years. Google was practically my bible to motherhood but reading about it and experiencing it was two vastly different things. Now that I have my second child, it kind of makes me wish I knew back then what I know now. So here are 10 things that I wish someone had told me then about being a new mom!

1. Having a baby completely changes your life
I know what you're thinking, "you don't say" right? But no, you have no idea what you're in for. Your lifestyle completely changes the instant your baby pops out from your womb and I mean COMPLETELY. First and foremost, your sleep patterns change. Get ready to bid goodbye to 8 continuous hours of shut-eye and say hello to 3 hour sleep intervals or less. Your social life literally goes from wildly exciting to almost zero. Your child becomes your first priority (whether you like it or not) and it is impossible to schedule anything without first settling his/her care arrangements. You will forget what it's like to have "me" time & when you finally have some time alone, you'll feel weirdly uncomfortable. Overtime, you'll realise that being a mom doesn't just throw you into a jumble, it also changes you as a person entirely (& I'm not talking about all that post-pregnancy weight).

2. You will be tired 24/7
They always say that being a mom isn't easy but before I had my first child, I never imagined that it would be THIS tiring. You will find yourself fatigued and lethargic all the time and no amount of sleep can ever seem to pay off your sleep debt. You'll be asking yourself how it is even possible to be this tired - that is, if you even have the energy to.

3. Your sexual libido will drop
I assure you, it will. No matter how much of an animal you used to be, your sexual libido will definitely plummet and it is only normal because of how tired you are all the time. Before having kids, sex can be as frequent as a daily affair but after having a child, it can be anything between a weekly or even a bimonthly occasion. Good news though, is that you will usually get your sex drive back after a couple of months.

4. Breastfeeding doesn't come as naturally as you'd like it to
It's human nature but unfortunately for us "modern day" moms, it isn't as easy as we think it is. Breastfeeding is as tedious as it is taxing and it can pose as a challenge for many moms. But fret not, with enough perseverance, you will get the hang of it. If you have difficulty latching your child on, consider investing in a pump. It doesn't really matter if your child drinks directly from the breast or a bottle as long as he's getting the best of the breast. Most importantly, don't guilt-trip yourself if you're unable to give your child breast milk. Formula milk is fine too. Don't pressure yourself or let anyone chastise you for the decisions you make as long as both you and your child are happy and healthy.

5. Everyone will have something to say about the way you raise your child
Everyone will want to give their input on how you should do this or that and although it can be annoying at times, bear in mind that they also want what they think is best for your child and are just trying to help (sometimes a little too much). The best piece of advice I read way back when I was a first-time mom is to simply listen to each advice with an open mind. You don't have to act on every single advice. Ultimately, you're the one making the decisions and you know what's best for your child however, some tips are genuinely useful and you can learn a lot from other moms.

6. Every mom's just generally winging it, so take it easy on yourself
There is no set way of parenting. Most of us are just doing it trial and error style so don't sweat it if you're still trying to get the hang of motherhood. Breathe and give yourself time to learn, it's all a matter of time before you become a pro at being a mom.

7. Do not blame yourself for every little thing
Don't hold yourself hostage for things that are beyond your control. Things will inevitably go wrong every now & then and you shouldn't blame yourself for every bad thing that happens. Children will fall sick, bump their heads and scrape their knees - sometimes way too often (especially when they hit a certain age) but that doesn't mean you're doing things wrong. It's all part of the growing up process and more often than not, you're beating yourself up for nothing.

8. They grow up way too fast, treasure every moment
The first year will fly by in a blink of an eye, and that goes for every year after that as well. You only truly spend the first quarter of your child's life with them before they grow up into independent adults. They won't need you forever, they won't always want to be carried. Forget what people say about not carrying your child too much or they'll keep wanting to be carried because honestly, how long can you carry them for before they grow too big? Put down your gadgets, walk a little slower take as many photographs of them as you like and enjoy their adolescence while you can.

9. Don't focus too much on milestones
Every child develops at their own time and unless your child has a medical problem that warrants your attention, don't obsess over when they should be hitting their milestones. They will walk when they are ready to and before you know it, you'll be chasing them around and wishing you could go back to their infantile days. Don't compare your child with others'. It doesn't matter if they start talking at 8 months or at 2 years old as long as they can talk. Once they start, they don't ever stop. Do not stress yourself unnecessarily over your child's milestones and revel in the joy of motherhood instead.

10. At the end of the day, it will be worth it
You won't be this tired forever, your baby will sleep through the night in time to come. You won't always have to hold his/her bottle or carry her wherever you go. No matter how tired you may be now, this phase will eventually come to pass. You'll know it's worth all the sleepless nights when you see your child smile to the sound of your voice or call you "mama" for the first time. Being a mom will give you a sense of fulfilment like no other. So hang in there mama, it will all be worth it.

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