Words of Advice for New Mothers: What I Wish I Knew at the Time

woman comforting baby, needing words of advice for new moms

Becoming a mother is one of life’s most profound experiences.

It’s an experience filled with love, joy, and excitement. However, the journey of motherhood can also be daunting, filled with uncertainties and challenges. From sleepless nights to the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a tiny baby, it’s natural to seek words of advice for new mothers as you navigate this new phase of your life.

In the midst of all the chaos, it’s easy to feel lost or unsure of yourself. So, from one tired mother to another, I want to share some heartfelt words of advice for new mothers that I wish I heard when I became a new mom. Let’s dive in!

Becoming a Mom

Whether you give birth, adopt, or become a step-mom, becoming a mom changes you. It’s no longer just about you. You have to sacrifice your own needs and wants in order to take care of your child. While being a mother is the most rewarding job, it is also the most difficult job. Most days you are left exhausted, wondering if you’re even a good mother.

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I was given the cliche-type of words of advice for new mothers – “sleep when the baby sleeps” and “enjoy every moment”. Those early newborn days were so hard for me. So hard that I’ve actually blocked a lot of that time from my mind. I thought, I was told to enjoy every moment, but I’m not! What’s wrong with me?

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many other moms struggled through the same issues that you’re struggling with right now. You will make mistakes and have regrets, but it’s okay. There will be days where you wonder if you’re really cut out for being a mom (I still have those days) but there will be many rewarding days too. If you’re struggling and in need of some support, read on for some encouraging words of advice for new mothers.

Three Key Words of Advice for New Mothers

You may be reading this between diaper changes or while your kids are amused for a few minutes, so if you only have the time to focus on a few words of advice for new mothers, start with these three!

1. Things don’t usually go as planned.

You can try to have a plan as a mom, but chances are, those plans will change. Your first experience as a mom, childbirth, is a great example. I felt pressure to have a natural birth and was even studying hypnobirthing. When I went into labor all of that went out the window. My water broke but I didn’t have contractions so I had to be induced. The contractions eventually got very intense and I was at the point that if I didn’t get an epidural I probably wouldn’t have the energy to push the baby out. I did feel some disappointment, but that quickly went away once I realized how amazing an epidural was.

These days I try to have loose plans. I like to have some ideas for things to do with the kids, but when I have my heart set on things going perfectly, I usually end up disappointed.

2. Allow others to help you.

When I was a new mom, I wanted to prove to everyone that I could handle things. I incorrectly thought that if someone offered to help me and I said yes, that meant that I wasn’t a good-enough mom. If someone is offering to help you, accept that help! They are offering because they truly want to help you. Chances are, they were in your shoes and understand what you are going through and want to relieve some of your stress.

3. Take care of yourself.

You need to take care of your basic needs – staying hydrated, eating healthy meals, getting sleep, exercising – in order to have the energy to take care of your baby. Unfortunately it’s very easy to skip a meal, or forget to drink water, because the baby needs to be held for a nap or be fed. Take some time out to focus on your own needs – both physical and mental health.

pin for life-changing advice for new moms, what I wish I knew before having a baby

More Words of Advice for New Mothers

Ask for help.

Asking for help can be difficult, I was there! Similar to accepting help, it can feel like you can’t handle things if you ask for help. We’re told that we can do it all, but we definitely can’t do it all without any help.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

It’s easier said than done, especially if you scroll social media, but try not to compare yourself to others. People usually post about the best parts of their day on social media, not being up in the middle of the night trying to soothe a fussy baby. I would see moms going to parks or on other outings with their babies and felt guilty that I wasn’t doing all of those things too. Comparisons can be damaging to your mental health. Whatever you’re doing is all that you need to be doing!

Find your core group.

Try to get a core group of friends and family members who are in a similar stage as you. It can be so helpful to have people to lean on and relate to. I was lucky that one of my best friends had her child 6 weeks after I had my oldest. Unfortunately she lives across the country, so I don’t get to see her much, but to this day we still chat about mom issues. If you don’t have anyone close to you who is also a new mom you can always try out different mom groups or mommy and me classes to make more mom friends.

Know that things will get easier.

We go through so many phases as moms, some of which last longer than others. The newborn stage was the hardest for me and parenting has gradually gotten easier. I still have my days where I want to pull my hair out, but my girls are at the ages now where they are becoming more like companions. I enjoy seeing their unique personalities come out and while they make me scream at times they make me laugh a lot too.

Make time for yourself.

Just like it’s important to take care of yourself, it’s very important to make time for yourself too. As a new mom I felt guilty doing anything just for me. Reading was always a passion of mine but I rarely picked up a book. I felt guilty leaving the house without my baby. My husband starting encouraging me to do things just for me, and that was the push I needed. Start small with some quick and easy self-care tips for new moms. Once you are used to taking short breaks for yourself you will get more comfortable taking longer ones.

Be kind to yourself.

We are our toughest critic. I missed my oldest rolling over for the first time and I thought I was the worst mom. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend if she was in the same situation as you.

Make memories together.

Take a break from the normal routine and create special memories as a family. Go to a park. Take a road trip. Go out for ice cream. Time goes so fast; I’m seeing it already with my own girls. Take time out to make memories.

Do your best to be present.

I really struggle with being present. Even when I’m playing with my kids I’m thinking about what I have to deal with at work the next day or the ten things I have on my to-do list. When I make a conscious effort to be present with my kids, I feel such joy at seeing the little people they are becoming. I want you to feel that joy too. Everything else can wait.

Control your expectations.

Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to make everything go perfectly. You may go out to dinner and your baby cries the whole time. Maybe you picked out the most adorable outfit for your baby to wear for a special event but she has a diaper blowout right after you dressed her. Temper your expectations and you will be less likely to end up disappointed.

Create your own path as a mother.

Your family and friends will give you lots of opinions about parenting, but you should do what makes you most comfortable. Just because your best friend breastfed her baby, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Maybe your cousin swears by the cry-it-out method but you feel like you are going to have a panic attack hearing your baby scream. Then try something else. You are your baby’s mother and this journey is yours and yours alone.

Give yourself grace to learn.

It takes time to get into the groove as a new mom. It may take you ten tries to get the perfect swaddle. Maybe you ran out of diapers on your outing because you only packed two in the diaper bag instead of five. You won’t know how to do everything right away. It will take time to learn, and that’s okay!

Remind yourself that children are children.

Children are children. They are supposed to cry and whine. If you go out to dinner and your baby has a meltdown, that’s okay!

It’s normal to feel lonely in motherhood.

I didn’t realize how lonely I would feel as a new mom. The first few months with a newborn are just diaper change, feed, nap, and repeat. It can feel so isolating. If you’re feeling lonely too just know that it’s completely normal to feel that way.

Take photos and videos, and organize them.

I’m sure you’re taking plenty of photos and videos of your baby but my additional piece of advice is to organize them on your phone or print them out. I have thousands of photos on my phone but when I want to find photos of a certain event it’s so hard since I don’t have the organized in albums.

Don’t expect to enjoy every moment, but try to appreciate them.

I said earlier that I was told to enjoy every moment, but that’s a motherhood myth. If another mom tells you that she enjoys every single aspect of parenting she is probably lying to you. Do try to appreciate the moments though. You may be changing your eighth diaper for the day but in a couple of years you will have changed your last diaper and your child will be potty trained.

Do things at your own pace.

Parenting is not a race to win. Instead of worrying about shoulds and musts, take your time and do things at your own pace. If you can take time off work for maternity leave, do it! Try not to rush each stage. That’s easier said than done, I know. When your baby is waking up a couple times a night you can’t wait for them to sleep through it. Once they are sleeping through the night you may end up missing the middle of the night cuddles.

Do something for you when the baby sleeps.

Many people say to sleep when the baby sleeps, but that can be so hard. If you’re the type of person who takes a while to fall asleep, the baby may be waking up by the time you finally fall asleep. I think it’s better to do something for you when the baby is sleeping. Read a book chapter. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Sit on the couch and put your feet up. Don’t feel like you have to do chores, do something for you that you find enjoyable.

Take a break.

When it all feels like too much it’s okay to take a break. Make sure the baby is safe, walk away, and take a deep breath. When you’re feeling extremely overwhelmed and you try to just push through you will only feel worse.

Trust your gut.

You are your child’s mother and know what’s best for your child so trust your gut. That can be difficult because you hear different tips from other people or read different suggestions online. You can take it all in, think about it, but follow your heart and what makes you most comfortable.

Set boundaries.

Set and keep boundaries. Family and friends may try to step in and do things their way, whether it’s a certain way of feeding the baby, getting the baby to nap, etc. Nicely thank them for their suggestions, and say that you have your way of doing things. There will be times that people want to visit but maybe you just want a few hours alone with your partner and baby. Say no to the visit.

baby holding new mom's finger

You won’t always know what to do, and that’s okay.

You won’t know everything right away. Parenting is a long journey and you will learn things as you go.

You will make mistakes.

As you are learning on the parenting journey you will make mistakes. You may forget to put your baby’s favorite toy in the diaper bag. You may run out of diapers. There is no “perfect mom”, everyone makes mistakes! Don’t be too hard on yourself.

The days are long but the years are short.

There will be many difficult days and phases that seem endless. You will get through them. The sleep deprivation in the beginning is very hard, but you will sleep again. One day you will have changed your last diaper. I don’t necessarily miss the baby stage, but I got through that difficult time and it does feel like it was a long time ago.

Don’t go overboard with toys, supplies, etc.

I’ve learned this the hard way but don’t go overboard with toys and baby supplies. When you’re setting up a baby registry it’s fun to add so many different things, but then you have to find space for everything. Babies grow so fast and only use things for a short period of time. Stick to the motherhood essentials and mommy must-haves for toddler moms.

Communicate with your partner.

Your relationship with your partner will change after you become parents. The important thing is to keep communicating. In the early days I’d be nursing the baby and holding her for a nap and my husband would do the dishes and laundry. My husband thought he was being helpful and he was! However, I really just wanted him to take the baby so I could do something else, but he couldn’t read my mind. Communication is so important so resentment doesn’t build.

Try to tune out the chatter.

There will be a lot of people in your ear giving you opinions. These opinions will likely make you question your gut. Try to tune everything else out. Believe me, I know it’s hard.

It gets better.

Just like parenting gets easier, it gets better too. Now my girls are 6 and 3. Yes they give me sass, an attitude, and even ignore me sometimes, but they are also so fun! They’re my companions now. I’m amazed at the things they say and do.

Let yourself laugh, even when you want to cry.

I remember early on with my oldest there was a day where she just kept having diaper blowouts. She went through at least four outfits that day. I wanted to pull my hair out, but I also just had to stop and laugh. I remember taking a picture of her on the changing table during one of the diaper changes that day and now when that photo comes up in my memories I have a really good laugh.

Don’t worry about the small stuff.

You want everything to be perfect and organized in the very beginning but eventually you will learn to let go of the little things. I’d try to be on top of everything, like know where all of the new baby books were, and make sure toys were put back with all their pieces. I’d drive myself nuts if I couldn’t find something. It took me a long time but eventually I learned to let go of the small stuff, the things that don’t really matter in the long run, and to just worry about the bigger issues.

Every child develops at his or her own pace.

Every child is different. Children start walking and talking at different ages. Most hit all of the same milestones eventually, just at different paces. My younger daughter was a late talker. She had many ear infections her first year which contributed to her speaking being delayed. Now she doesn’t stop talking and even seems more advanced than my older daughter was at this age. It’s hard not to worry when it seems like your child is behind where he or she should be, but most children end up where they are supposed to be eventually.

You will think you are a bad mom, even though you are a great one.

Almost every day I have thoughts that I am a bad mom. I wasn’t as present with my kids as I would have liked. We didn’t do the activities I was hoping to do. I forgot about my daughter’s sight word test. The list goes on. One of my friends told me that the fact that I worried that I was a bad mom meant that I was indeed a good mom. Good moms have all of these worries and wonder whether or not they are good enough. I can tell you that you indeed are a great mom too!

Encouraging Words of Advice for New Mothers

Here are some more words of advice for new mothers in the form of quotes. I hope they lift you up when you need it most.

Encouraging Words of Advice for New Mothers About the Fourth Trimester

  • “There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed. But in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you are super mom.” -Stephanie Precourt
  • “Bad moments don’t make bad mamas.” -Lysa Terkeurst
  • “Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.” -Tina Fey
  • “Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.” -Ricki Lake
  • “Giving birth was the most intense experience of my life. It was also the most rewarding.” -Lisa Ling
  • “Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain – your life will never be the same.” -Catherine Jones
  • “Your most valuable parenting skill is learning to manage yourself first.” -Dr. Lauren Markham
  • “If you’re a mom, you’re a superhero. Period.” -Rosie Pope
  • “A mother continues to labor long after the baby is born.” -Lisa Jo Baker
  • “Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child…there are no words strong enough to name that moment.” -Anita Diamant
  • “We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” -Laura Stavoe Harm
  • “Motherhood changes everything.” – Adriana Trigiani
  • “Spit-up is my new favorite accessory; no outfit is complete without it.” -Nicole Fornabaio
  • “You don’t take a class; you’re thrown into motherhood and learn from experience.” -Jennie Finch
  • “You’re always going to wonder if you’re doing things wrong, but that’s what it means to be a mom, to care so much about someone else that you just want to be as perfect as possible.” -Naya Rivera
  • “Birth takes a woman’s deepest fears about herself and shows her that she is stronger than them.” -Unknown

Uplifting Words of Advice for New Mothers About the Postpartum Journey

  • “Postpartum is very real. And there’s so many resources that we just have to help each other find what they are and keep getting the word out there.” -Reese Witherspoon
  • “I don’t know if I’m bouncing back. I’m slowly crawling back. You just have to be gentle and patient with yourself, and just sort of, you know…slowly get back to your health.” -Reese Witherspoon
  • “I had a baby. I’m a superhero.” -Kelly Rowland
  • “My body has given me the greatest gift of my life.” -Hilary Duff
  • “Healing from birth is no joke.” -Witney Carson
  • “My body is the site of a miracle now.” -Kerry Washington
  • “I think a woman’s body after having a baby is pretty amazing…you just did the most incredible miracle that life has to offer.” -Blake Lively
  • “The truth is, I’m a mother, and I look like one.” -Olivia Wilde
  • “Every mark on me now, every shape that has changed since I had kids, that’s evidence of the fact that I’m a superhero.” -Kristen Bell
  • “Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be.” -Carrie Fisher
  • “Feeling fat lasts nine months, but the joy of becoming a mom lasts forever.” -Nikki Dalton
  • “No one told me I would be coming home in diapers, too.” -Chrissy Teigen
  • “Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes.” -Joyce Armor

Motivating Words of Advice for New Mothers on Mothering

  • “Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” -Maria Shriver
  • “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” -Sophia Loren
  • “I always say if you’re not yelling at your kids, you’re not spending enough time with them.” -Reese Witherspoon
  • “Once you’re a mom, you’re always a mom. It’s like riding a bike, you never forget.” -Taraji P. Henson
  • “Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” -Linda Wooten
  • “Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is… and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” —Donna Ball
  • “Having children just puts the whole world into perspective. Everything else just disappears.” -Kate Winslet
  • “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” -Meryl Streep
  • “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” -Jill Churchill
  • “A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years, and in your heart until the day you die.” -Mary Mason
  • “The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.” -Jessica Lange
  • “The life of a mother is the life of a child: you are two blossoms on a single branch.” -Karen Maezen Miller
  • “A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” -Anonymous
  • “A mother holds her child’s hand for just a short time but holds their heart forever.” -Unknown
happy mom with baby who read words of advice for new moms

Each mother’s journey is unique.

Each journey is filled with its own triumphs, challenges, and moments of pure joy, but remember that you are stronger and more resilient than you realize. Trust your instincts, embrace the highs and lows, and lean on your friends and family whenever you need them.

Celebrate the small victories, forgive yourself for the inevitable mistakes, and experience the magic of motherhood in all its messy, beautiful glory.

May these words of advice for new mothers serve as a source of comfort, inspiration, and empowerment as you navigate the incredible adventure of motherhood. You’ve got this, mama.

And remember, you are never alone on this journey.

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