First Time Mom Tips From the Mother of a One Year Old

Jul 10, 2014

I work in a very small office (3 people total, including myself) for a small consulting company about 20 minutes from my house. A few days ago I got a baby shower invitation from one of my co-workers for him and his wife who are expecting their first baby in August. Soo exciting! And let me be the first to say - she is just so dang cute pregnant. Granted, I've only worked for the company a couple of months now so I've only ever known her to be pregnant, but still - adorable. Almost every time I see her she asks me the same questions that I used to ask my cousin when I was pregnant (my cousin - bless her -  is a mother of 3 all under the age of 6. She had just given birth to her youngest when I found out I was pregnant with Evelyn) and it got me thinking about what kind of advice I would give my pregnant-self if I'd had the chance. So, naturally, I've put together a bit of a list. 

Evelyn @ 1 month old ! July 2013 Jenna Graham Photography 

It honestly seems like the first year of motherhood came and went within a couple of hours instead of 12 months. Evelyn's birthday was last month and I just cannot believe that the first YEAR has already come and gone... It was all way too fast to even grasp I think, and time just keeps speeding up. So for the sake of other first time moms and mom-to-be's, here's a little advice from the mother of a one year old. *sigh

Before her first birthday party

New mama - still in the hospital!
(Giving birth is rough y'all, please excuse my appearance)

Take a TON of Pictures
(This first one is seriously important y'all - take note)

As soon as she got her 1st tooth she was
 already opening her snacks on her own :/
Ever-so curious, this girl is. I love it. 

3 months old!
Seriously, though. It doesn't have to be every single day but definitely take at least a few a week of your precious little prince/princess. Those cute little fingers and toes will stop shedding skin after about a month, they'll start losing a little more baby fat every few weeks. You'll start to notice subtle differences in your baby as they progress to the toddler stage much quicker than you'll be ready for. Once your little one does finally grow out of babyhood you'll be so happy to have those pictures. To have caught those moments on camera to be able to look back on forever. You'll want to remember the simpler times and the faces he or she made and how they'd sleep in crazy positions on just about any surface. And just a little mommy tip - LABEL the pictures, put them in albums labeled by weeks/months or whatever makes it to where you will remember their exact age - or close enough to it. Trust me, you'll thank me later.  

I didn't prop her up like this - she was just comfortable I guess because 2 minutes later she was out!

Keep Your Patience No Matter the Situation

Now, I'm not going to lie to you here, this one can be a bit more difficult depending on your personality and patience level to begin with. But it's also very crucial. Your baby will test you - probably more so than anyone has in your whole life. Just keep one thing in mind-they aren't doing this on purpose. They do not have a vendetta against you from the moment they're born, I promise you. (even though sometimes it may feel like it) There will be nights of no sleep and constant crying. There will be times when your baby gets sick and you don't know what to do and you get frustrated. No matter what the situation is, keep calm. It will be okay, I promise. 

This picture is from one of my tougher days being a mom. Evelyn was about 6 months old and everything was finally starting to calm down - we had a schedule that we stuck to and it felt like we were finally getting things right. But this day - and I still have no idea why - Evelyn was being a total brat. Or at least, that's how I saw it at the time. It was time for her nap - I knew she was sleepy because of all the normal ques I watched for and it was about the right time of day - so I made her a bottle and gave it to her as usual but as soon as I went to lay her down in her crib she began WAILING. I mean like full on, the neighbors thought I was abusing my child, wailing. She had never done anything like this before so I immediately scooped her back up into my arms to try to calm her down. When she finally did - 10 minutes later - I gently went to put her down in her crib and as soon as she felt my arms come off of her - you guessed it - immediately distraught again. This continued for probably a good 45 minutes and another bottle in between but all was to no avail. She just was not having it. She wanted to be in mommy's arms and that was it. And let me just tell you - she tried every bit of my no sleep brain's patience that day. When she finally fell asleep though, I got the chance to calm down and realized that I should be happy that she wants her mom. Right? I should be more appreciative of this time I have with her instead of frustrated that she wanted me to hold her while she slept. This is my sweet, innocent, baby girl. Why was I trying so hard to get away from her when it was obvious all she wanted was me? I had to keep telling myself to live more in the moment and be present. Let her sleep on me all day if that's what she wanted. Enjoy it while it lasts because one day it will all change and then you'll miss it. And I can say now, only 7 months later, that I do already miss it. So enjoy it and try no to let it get to you. Patience is a virtue. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder.   

Put Yourself in the Photos

Always so interested in getting behind the camera
     This tip coincides with the first one about taking tons of pictures but you have to remember to put yourself in the photos! I know I've certainly struggled with this because selfies always seem to turn out so horribly - especially when you have a rollie polie baby on your hands that doesn't want to sit still for the 5 seconds it takes to snap a picture. Some alternatives are obviously getting someone else to take the picture for you or using a tripod. I know I for one sometimes felt like I was being a bother trying to get someone to take the time to snap a picture of me and a less than cooperative 6 month old but I got over that pretty quickly. I decided that the pictures are worth much more than 2 seconds of awkwardness to ask someone for their assistance. I've gotten to the point now I'll even ask strangers to do it if need be!
And as far as tripods go - some of us don't have cameras that have the attachment to use a tripod, or maybe your main source of photography is with your phone (and that's totally ok! Most of my pictures on here are from the crappiest iPhone I've ever had. Whatever works is fine.) However, for those of you who do have cameras with this option I'd suggest getting to know the ins and outs of using it sooner than later. Trust me, it will come in handy when there's no one around to help you take a picture or if you're planning any at home photo sessions with your little one like I did for Evie's Christmas pictures

Take the Time to Go Outside


 For some, this advice won't even be necessary ("Go outside? Who doesn't go outside? Why is this even on here?") but if you're anything like me, when I first had Evelyn I felt like she was so delicate I needed to keep her indoors at all times. (It's safer that way you know - or so "they" say. I disagree.) When I finally couldn't handle it anymore I started to pick my old routines back up including walking the dogs or going to the park. Let me tell you - this made a WORLD of difference for me. And for Evelyn too I think. Getting that fresh air and change of scenery does wonders for your mental as well as physical health. Do yourself a favor - go outside. Right now. You and your little one will come back in much better spirits, I promise you!

Our first walk!
Luis helped with the dogs. I don't think I would've
made it far by myself with all of them.

Accept Help

My mom with Evelyn as a newborn in the hospital :)
My dad came over to hang out for a little while and
give mama a break. Bless him! 
 Okay moms - this is a big one. If someone (family, friends, etc.) offers you help in the first few weeks - take it. I didn't and I really wish I had. I have a little too much pride to accept help from people, even those close to me. I know it's dumb but it's just my nature, I want to do everything on my own and even if I am in WAY over my head - I'll never admit it. To anyone. But I was. I wish now I had taken all of the offers to help around the house or to take her for a few hours and let me get some rest, etc. I didn't though. I felt like it was my responsibility and I just needed to suck it up and tough it out. That is not how you should look at it! It's a much better idea to accept the help and recover from those long sleepless nights and days being entirely on this little baby's schedule. Not to mention give your body enough rest that it can properly heal from giving birth. (That shit's no joke y'all. You will have no choice but to take it easy afterwards, honestly) You can't get much done on no sleep, no matter how hard you try; and tempers are going to be short already from the lifestyle change that's been thrown at you. Sleep deprivation and zero alone time to recuperate on top of all this does not a happy home make. Heed my advice here mamas - take them up on their offers. Give yourself a break. You definitely deserve it and anyone who's offering to help you probably genuinely means it. They really do want to help - so swallow your pride and let them!

*And just a little advice on what NOT to do right after you have your baby. DO NOT get professional pictures taken in a sundress that used to look really cute on you when your boobs weren't the size of Mt Everest. Lesson learned the hard way for me and I will not be proudly displaying any of these pictures around my home. :/ oops! 
Exhibit A: ^

Now, this is definitely the shortened version of my "list" but I thought it would do OK for covering some of the basics. These are really just a few of the things that weren't on my mind at the time but I now realize are all very important. 

If you're a mom already, what advice would you give to new or soon to be first time mothers?


Megann Allen Photography

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