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6 Things I Would Do Over as a First-Time Mom

Mom holding her new born baby with eyes closed.
Photograph by Getty Images

Being a new mom is hard. Your life has been turned upside-down by a tiny seven pound infant that pretty much sleeps all the time and yet seems to leave you feeling bewildered and exhausted. Your boobs leak, your back hurts and why the hell are you crying at that Johnson and Johnson commercial again?

Motherhood is crazy. Being a first-time parent, I knew nothing. I relied heavily on the Internet and my mom friends to tell me what to do. I’ve managed to keep my daughter alive for six months now, so I’m not a total failure. But there were some things that I wish I could do over. Here are 6 things I would redo as a brand new mom, that maybe in hindsight I would have done differently, knowing what I know now:

1. I would've introduced a pacifier sooner.

Full disclosure: I was that mom who put a note in the bassinet requesting no pacifiers when she went to the hospital nursery. I do think it’s good to wait until a nursing relationship is established before using one. But now I wished I would have gone the pacifier route, especially because my baby caught on to nursing right away. Maybe my baby would have slept better at night or wouldn’t have screamed so much in the car had she been able to soothe herself by sucking.

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2. I wouldn’t have given up on bottle-feeding.

This is one of my biggest regrets. Being able to leave the house without my daughter was challenging because I didn’t know how she would take the bottle for her caretaker. Nursing on-the-go is most certainly convenient, but as a new mom, those crowds of people can be hard to deal with, and bottles would have been easier than worrying if I was flashing anyone trying to get the hang of nursing in public.

How much more could I have gotten done around the house if I would have used my Moby wrap on a regular basis?

3. I would've used my baby carriers a lot more.

How much more could I have gotten done around the house if I would have used my Moby wrap on a regular basis? How many times did I curse trying to lug the stroller out of the trunk? Yes, baby carriers can be a sanity-saver for a new mom and I definitely wish I would've used them more.

4. I would've done more skin-to-skin once I got out of the hospital.

I was in the hospital for preeclampsia for six days. There wasn’t much to do besides nurse and freak out about my blood pressures. So I was pretty much was topless the whole time, much to the dismay of my medical team. I may have gotten many awkward coughs and darting eyes, but damn it, I put in my hours of skin-to-skin. However, I wish I did more of it at home during those first weeks because it’s incredible bonding time with your baby, with so many benefits. And it’s time I'll never get back.

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5. I would've asked for help from a lactation consultant.

Namely, while I was in the hospital. I called them a few times at home and eventually got myself to a breastfeeding support group, but during my hospitalization the consultant always seemed to show up when another medical professional was there and it wasn’t until the second to last day there that I finally had a conversation with her. She never observed me actually nursing. Maybe my anxiety would have been less had I worked with her sooner.

6. I would've tried to shower more.

Can this one go without saying? Let’s be honest, postpartum bleeding is kind of gross and then add in the exhaustion and non-stop nature of caring for a newborn. New moms are split on this issue. Half seem to shower daily in those early days and insist others do it too, and the other half laugh and compete to see who has gone the longest without showering. I wish I would've showered more, not because I necessarily needed to be clean, but because really, showering is new-mom code for “me time.”

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