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The Only Advice That All New Moms Need to Hear

Photograph by Twenty20

There's nothing quite like bringing home a newborn for the first time. Suddenly, your whole world is turned upside down and you find yourself spending your days changing diapers, washing bottles or pump parts, doing laundry, and feeding the baby. And the sleep deprivation? It's like nothing you ever imagined.

Basically, being a new mom to an infant is completely overwhelming. I remember not leaving the couch much in the early days because I was so tired and also because I spent hours being topless trying to keep my daughter awake while she nursed. And she took forever to nurse. Seriously, why do babies have to eat so much?

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I Googled. A lot. Searched terms like "Newborn and green poop", "How to swaddle", and "Is it normal for babies to grunt so much?" I borrowed books from friends and the library—anything to help me better understand this tiny being I brought into our house.

My text messages consisted solely of anxious questions to my mom friends, sure I was totally messing this parenting thing up. I asked them how they handled nap times, cluster feeds and bath times. I wanted their input on sleep habits, mainly if I was screwing myself by letting my baby sleep in bed with me because OMG! I needed sleep!

But if I could pass on my number one tip to a new mom it would this: Do what works for you.

I got some great advice. Mostly from my friends, because let's face it, researching things on your own when you only sleep in hour and a half increments is just not going to happen. Maybe some moms can do it, but me, I was too lazy and just wanted someone to tell me what worked for them. And the advice I got in those first six weeks was invaluable and continue to be four months later.

But if I could pass on my number one tip to a new mom it would this: Do what works for you.

I know, right? It sounds too easy. Really though, this idea has helped shaped my own parenting and even saved my sanity at times. Seventy-five percent of my conversations with my mom friends started out like this: "I know nothing about babies. What did you do when..." And I think all new moms feel this way.

Clueless.

Right? It's not just me?

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The thing is, utilizing moms who have gone before you is incredibly helpful. They're there to build your confidence and give you ideas on what worked for them. Gather all the advice you could ever want but then do what works for you and your baby. Don't discount your own instincts (you have them, I promise!), and never underestimate your "Mama gut." It's there for a reason. It's hard not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, but in the end you know your baby best.

Be confident that you're raising your child the best you know how, even when it doesn't feel like it.

And remember, you're a great mom.

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