It is an amazing feeling to be pregnant for the first time.

Your filled with joy, fear, anxiety, excitement, terror, and a host of other emotions all at once. It’s one of those moments in life’s when you truly have no idea what you’re in for, yet you can’t wait. I quickly started reading everything I could on pregnancy and parenting seeking any wisdom I could gather before the baby arrived.

Then, as soon as I began to show, a crazy thing happened. I started getting  advice from everyone I met. In the grocery store, at restaurants, friends and family, at gas stations. You name it, people wanted to, and felt entitled to, give me advice about pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood. As if I wasn’t already overwhelmed enough, right?

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I do wish I would have had some information upfront.

Not so many delivery horror stories, but really helpful advice. I have a few family members who are getting ready to have their first baby and I thought, what would I have wanted to know from all those people who wanted to share their wisdom?

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So, here’s my list of the most valuable parenting information I could have had as a first time mom.

1.You don’t need all the stuff– buy the essentials and buy other things as needed. Your house will fill up quickly which only leads to added stress.
2.Say yes to help– it can be hard to accept help, but remember that others truly do want to help and make your life easier, so let them.
3.Start budgeting– make a budget at the beginning of every month. I highly suggest looking into Dave Ramsey if you haven’t already. Money can be stressful especially as a parent, but it doesn’t have to control you. If you haven’t read Dave Ramsey’s books, I highly recommend you do. My favorite is Total Money Makeover, which you can buy here.
4.Simplify your life– the less you own and the less you do, the more you will enjoy your new little one. Simplifying will give you peace and time.
5.Read the Bible often– there will be times that you feel overwhelmed and there will be times of insane amounts of joy. Seek wisdom in the Bible often so you can survive those not so fun times. And remember to praise God for the great times. Here is a wonderful devotional Bible for Mom’s. Certainly a gift worth buying yourself!
6.Rely on your husband or a best friend– don’t take it all on yourself. Rely on each other. Laugh together, cry together, and change diapers together. When our first son was a week old he had a really hard time nursing, he wouldn’t stop crying, I hadn’t showered in three days and couldn’t remember the last time I had slept. I was crying and overwhelmed. My incredible husband gently took our baby boy and told me to go take a long shower. When I came out he was finally sleeping, the house was quiet, and I was rejuvenated. You need someone else to be there when times get tough.
7.Take your shower to start your day– you will feel so much better if you take care of yourself and the simplest way is to make time for your shower.


8.Don’t get all your parenting advice from Pinterest– you’ll feel like you should be doing everything differently than you are, doing it better than the rest, feeding your child only organic local food that you have prepared yourself while running marathons, making all your little ones clothes, and keeping a cleaning schedule. Trust me, you don’t need the added stress!
9.Have a routine– don’t drive yourself crazy with a precise schedule, but create routines around major parts of the day. Naptimes, mealtimes, bedtime, etc. It will be helpful for you and your baby.
10.Don’t rush every time your baby cries– often your baby will fuss and then soothe him/herself. If you respond quickly every time, your baby will never learn to do this. It’s hard not to want to run to their rescue at the first whimper, but it is good practice for not running to their rescue as they get bigger too.
11.Exercise– make time to keep yourself healthy. 45 minutes of exercise will go along way in how you handle stress and frustrating situations.
12.Dont let yourself be the only one that can sooth your child– It may feel great to be the one your baby always wants, but trust me, you will need a break and wish your husband or someone else had the magic touch.
13.Don’t think you have to have it all figured out– Remember you haven’t ever done this before. You are not an expert and you don’t need to be. Seek wisdom from anywhere you can.

And a bonus- Don’t compare yourself or your child to anyone else! Remember that no parent is perfect and no ones child is perfect.

Here are a few of my favorite books and other resources for new parents. I still rely on many of these as I parent my three young kids.

Books:

The Power of a Praying mom: Powerful Prayers for You and Your Children

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel

The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Gary Chapman

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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Baby Stuff

Fisher Price Rock-n-play This piece of baby equipment was the best investment we made. Literally saved us when our baby couldn’t sleep. My most used baby item with all three of my kids and it costs less than $50.

Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddles  Our two oldest kids have worn these blankets to shreds. All three of our kids love them still and I used them constantly when they were infants. The perfect swaddle blanket!


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