Baby,  Life Story,  Pregnancy

eleven thoughts for new moms

This extreme heat combined with Lux’s approaching first birthday has the early days of motherhood on my mind. The sticky floor in our kitchen, the faint hum of a hundred air conditioners through the window, the smell of baking bricks has triggered a wave of memories I’d forgotten in the last few months. I know several of my readers are expecting babies soon! I thought I would share a few things I would have loved to know in the first month or two.

Lie about your due date on Facebook. Smudge it a little starting two or three weeks beforehand, no one will notice. Majority of first births are late, up to two weeks! To keep the dear friends and family at bay during those endless last days, give yourself a little leeway.

Ask for food instead of gifts. If you have friendly neighbors and hopeful friends, tell them you would love for some hearty food in the weeks after the birth.

A doula might be a bit expensive, but it could be the best money you’ve spent. It could save you the cost of an epidural and c-section! And be enormously comforting to you and husband. It isn’t an indulgence, it is a wise investment. If they do postpartum visits and help, all. the. better.

Sleep with a favorite bed companion for your baby before they arrive, and infuse it with your scent.

Never post about how well your baby is sleeping on Facebook. Nothing marks a new parent more than this boasting, and unfortunately, it can really hurt some friends’ feelings who’ve had more difficult babies. Stay savvy and avoid this topic.

Things that are easiest when the baby is smallest: day trips, plane trips, eating at loud restaurants, and evening adventures.

Nap when she naps. Truly truly truly. If you can do this as much as possible, you’ll feel way better about the bizarro sleep patterns.

Avoid sleep training until three months. Do not spend hours googling methods when they are two weeks old. Your hips have to learn to sway, your mouth has to learn the comforting noises, your baby has to stop being a foreign alien to this world. It takes time, and no one’s cheap tricks will help.


Here’s what the hours of Googling inevitably results in: yes other babies do it. No, no one knows why. Yes, it will stop soon.

The sooner you can quiet the fear of your own intuitions, the sooner you and your baby will feel confident in your decisions.

Three questions you might ask yourself and will later look back and wonder if you were insane: Is little Lux getting enough stimulation? Am I keeping her from learning? Am I being a “good” parent at all times?

*Do you have bits of advice you whisper to new moms? I’d love to hear them, please share. Please ignore these until (..if ever) they are useful to you. : )



  • Claire

    I love this! I love the note about not talking about sleeping on Facebook. It made me crazy in those sleepless nights to think about friends’ posts of their perfect sleeping angel. And those three questions! I felt like such a bad mom when I sat on the couch with my two week old watching Cake Boss on Netflix. Why?? I felt like I should be reading to her or something. I wish I had just guiltlessly enjoyed those days. That’s what I always tell new moms now- just enjoy the days of holding a sleeping baby without any guilt. It’s such a short amount of time that we can do that.

    • Rachael

      Thank you Claire! Agreement from an experienced mom is the best. Isn’t it funny we all ending up going through the same things? You’ll know what you’re doing this time around! …or at least how to relax when you have the chance.

      • Kate Bowman-Johnston

        I thought I recognized some familiar sleep ideas in there. 😉 I was reflecting last night that as useful and sensible as a list like this is, you really do have to learn these things on your own. When I was a new mom, you could’ve told me all day long (and people did!) that my kid was just a regular baby like every other baby, but it was so hard to internalize. That’s what’s nice about the second child, I think – this time, I really have a fighting chance at maintaining my sanity… at least when it comes to what’s “normal.”

        • Rachael

          Right. I’m hoping with exact descriptions like, “if you find yourself googling…” someone might catch themselves in the act, and just let it go, shut the laptop and gaze out the window for awhile (or better yet, stream a movie!). But I’m definitely starting to believe that there can be no advice on sleep-help, only encouragement.
          “a fighting chance on maintaining my sanity…” love that.

  • Tori

    Thanks for this, I needed a calm list of helpful tips. I haven’t had much luck from acquaintances other than “advice” that scares me…

    Happy I saw your blurb on Bridget’s blog:) I’m due 6/16- wish I had seen this earlier or else I’d be saying 6/30;)

    Looking forward to catching up on your past posts!

    • Rachael Ringenberg

      Oh I’m glad you liked it! Like I said, don’t worry about it until it’s helpful to you. I hope you don’t go too much overdue–but it is nice to have a few extra days to just be still. Congratulations and good luck! Thanks for visiting from Bridget, she’s the best. : )

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