The first year of motherhood is packed with joy, sleepless nights, and more than a few surprises. It seems like absolutely everyone -- including books, pediatricians, parents, friends and a plethora of well-meaning bystanders -- has an opinion on the right and wrong ways to care for a baby. It's enough to make a new mom crazy. How do you figure out which advice to take, and which to ignore completely?
Never fear -- other moms have been in your shoes, and we collected their insights to help you make sense of it all. Moms on CafeMom.com, the largest site for moms, delved into the question, "What advice do you wish you had gotten as a first-time mother?" Veteran mothers offered up tons of great tips, and we picked 10 of our favorites.
Whether you're getting ready for motherhood or already in the trenches with your bundle of joy, here are 10 tips to help you navigate the surprises with your sanity intact. Read on for parenting pearls of wisdom.
1: Don't Compare Yourself to Other Moms
Don't worry about what other moms are doing too much. Try not to compare yourself: You'll know if you're doing all you can for your child, and no one else should judge too harshly. Same goes for when you see another mother doing something differently than you. Remind yourself that everyone is different (mothers and their babies) and you really have no right to say your way is better. - CafeMom member ours
2: Trust Your Instincts
Do your own research, but also trust your motherly instincts! They are there for a reason! If it feels wrong to let your baby cry, then pick them up. If you want to rock your baby to sleep and cuddle them while they sleep, then go ahead. If it feels right, then it usually is right. - CafeMom member sarahmae3
3: Savings Over Stuff
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You don't need so much "stuff" for a newborn ... They outgrow most of it within weeks! Get by with less and put all that money you (or the people who came to the shower) wasted into a savings account for the child. Babies aren't babies forever! - CafeMom member Bjoan
4: Stay Calm
Baby's insecurity comes from sensing yours. Stay calm and the baby will be calm.
- CafeMom member jesse123456
5: Don't Forget About Your Hubby
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Don't forget about your hubby, and take time for yourself, and you both will be better parents if you do! - CafeMom member Goldenbrowny
6: Set a Bedtime Routine
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Get your baby on a bedtime routine nightly as soon as you can, usually around 3 months. It will make your life and their life easier as infants, toddlers and young school-age children. - CafeMom member midnightmoma
7: Enjoy the Time
Enjoy the time you have when they are little. Never say, "I can't wait until they can do ________," because you can wait and once they do it you will say, "Awww, I wish they were babies again." Time flies. - CafeMom member gemgem
8: Go Easy on Yourself
My best piece of advice to a new mom? Don't expect too much out of yourself. It's a tough road; don't make it harder on yourself by trying to be supermom. Your baby won't love you any less because of it. - CafeMom member kristal2146
9: Pick Your Battles
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Pick your battles or you will spend your whole life fighting. Patience is a virtue, and it's hard to find when you have a little one. - CafeMom member jcsmummy
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Read, read, and read to them ... This is the BEST thing a parent can do for a child's education. - mom2twobabes
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