10 Goals for a First Time Mom: Goals After Having a Baby
Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe I’ve already been a parent for over 11 years. Like WOAH.
And then other times it’s hard to believe that it was only 11 short years ago that I was childless!
Having friends and family pregnant with their first babies really brings me back to what it feels like to be pregnant and have NO CLUE what life is like as a mommy.
Gah, it’s scary! I remember feeling so overwhelmed, so uninformed, so clueless.
I remember feeling like so many resources were available to help me understand every phase of pregnancy yet I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of what being a parent would actually mean.
I am a big believer in having goals but the tough thing with having goals as a new parent is that you don’t even have a clue what to expect, let alone have actual goals to work towards!
As I think about my own goals, I can’t help but think about those first-time moms who are feeling those feelings of being unsure of what the future holds. And what advice I’d give to new mamas. What goals I would recommend having!
Parenting is a LONG journey and you will feel even more overwhelmed if you look at the big picture of the many years ahead you’ll have as a mom.
It can feel like you’re drowning before you even start to swim when you think too long term and too big picture.
Instead, if you are currently pregnant with your first baby, here are some of the goals I would suggest keeping in mind as you enter the mommy world:
New Mom Goal 1: Decide if you are going to breastfeed or bottle-feed
I exclusively breastfed my three biological children and bottle-fed my son we welcome to our family through adoption. Obviously, I’m very pro-breastfeeding for myself and our family, however, it is a PERSONAL choice and it’s one that I believe you need to make prior to giving birth.
Pretty much any mom I have known who
Breastfeeding is NOT smooth sailing for most people and it can be a struggle in the early days when combined with postpartum recovery, hormones, and lack of sleep. It takes a drive and determination to get through those rougher moments.
I highly recommend using the days of pregnancy to do some research about breastfeeding. Ask other moms for their advice and wisdom and about their experiences. Read up on the benefits of breastfeeding, the pros and cons of bottle vs breast, and include your spouse in this conversation. Decide what YOU think is best for your baby and family and if that decision is to breastfeed then set that goal firmly in place. It will help set you up for breastfeeding success!
How you feed your baby is one of the first major decisions a parent makes and by making it in advance you can have one less thing to stress over once your baby arrives. You’ll know what you want to do and then you can focus on bonding with your baby and adjusting to that feeding routine.
New Mom Goal 2: Get help for the early days
My #1 piece of advice to ANY new mom is to REST. I tell every pregnant mama I meet that it’s crucial to resist temptation to do all the things and to instead make your focus during the postpartum phase to rest, relax, and allow yourself to recover.
Plan ahead to have someone there to help you for at least the first week or so at home.
Who that exact person is doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s someone who will truly allow you to rest. Don’t ask an out of town relative to come to visit knowing you’ll feel pressure to keep the house clean and entertain them. Don’t ask your mom or mother in law if either of those relationships will cause friction with your spouse or put a strain on that relationship with you and her.
Ideally, your husband being home during that first week would be great! You can learn the groove of parenting together. However, he also needs to be fully aware of how important this time period is for YOU.
Have others help care for the baby (who doesn’t love to snuggle a newborn). Have those helpers bring the baby to you for feeding time ONLY and literally the only job you have during that 24 hour period is to feed your baby (assuming your breast-feeding) and that’s IT.
No changing diapers. No doing laundry. No preparing meals. No chatting with guests. You sleep. You soak in an epsom salt bath. And you feed your baby. That’s it!
If you can commit to 24 hours of solid rest, you will feel like a BRAND new person who can totally conquer the world!!! I promise!
Committing to that full day of rest and a solid week of hands on help will make a huge difference in your ability to quickly recover and best show up for your new baby, your husband, and yourself too!
New Mom Goal 3: Consider a parenting method
I am a planner. I like a plan. I myself didn’t learn about Babywise until my first baby was three weeks old. I cannot even FATHOM how I got through those first three weeks without a plan in place!
I know many people don’t personally like parenting techniques or want any sort of guidance in their parenting decisions…but you won’t know if you would personally benefit from a method or not unless you look into them!
So while you are pregnant (while you have all that precious time everyone keeps telling you to enjoy!) pick up some parenting books.
I have a few favorite parenting books and I have drawn from all of them in my eleven+ years of parenting. For the early days with a new baby I highly recommend Babywise, The Babywhisperer Solves all Your Problems, Moms on Call, and Baby-Led Weaning (which you don’t really need to read until you’re ready to introduce solid foods for your baby!)
If you only want to read ONE book about parenting though I’d highly recommend Babywise as the clear winner. It’s not just about baby sleep, it’s about so much more and truly gave me my confidence as a mom and shaped who I am as a parent.
It’s a short, easy read and a great one for your husband to read too if he’s game 😉
Even if Babywise isn’t your jam, something else might be and using the time during your pregnancy to invest in reading up on some parenting methods and parenting tips can help you feel better prepared for the day when you bring your baby home from the hospital and start this whole parenting thing!
And when that baby is born and you already have a plan in mind, you will stress so much less! Want a game plan for starting Babywise from birth? Read this post!
New Mom Goal 4: Research Smart
All the research I did while pregnant probably was enough time to get me a dang diploma!
It’s natural to want the best of everything and it’s easy to spend hours and hours in front of the computer looking a thousand different opinions and reports and such (or message boards…gah message boards as well as Facebook groups can suck you IN!).
Maybe two of them could be websites you trust or reviews for a product and then the other one could be personal reviews from people you trust.
Knowledge is power but sometimes there is such a thing as too much knowledge.
We live in a day and age where everyone has an opinion and everyone is an expert. A big frustration in entering the world of parenting is that it’s overwhelming with choices and for every pro, you find for a parenting decision you’ll find another con for that same choice.
It seems like NO one agrees. No resource is unbiased and everyone is trying to sell you something. It’s a LOT and can get frustrating and stressful and becomes difficult to figure out what YOU actually think is best because you’re so heavily influenced by a billion different opinions on every little thing.
The best thing I’ve found is to find people and resources I TRUST and then just trust them. Roll with their advice and don’t overly complicate everything all the time. I have a resource I use every time I need to update a car seat. I have bloggers I love and admire whose wisdom I seek. I also have parents with kids older than mine that I see the results of their parenting and LIKE the results I see.
Know some kids who you look at and think “man I hope my future child is like them?” THAT is a GOLDEN resource for advice for you to lean on and trust. Seek out other mamas who you admire and ask them what their thoughts are on the things you’re wondering about.
I know I consider it a HUGE compliment when others ask for my advice and I’m sure those “older mamas” will appreciate being asked as well!
New Mom Goal 5: Know Safety
It kinda goes along with research but you are about to be responsible for a life. It is overwhelming the number of choices you have to make as a parent but you also gotta know your stuff!
There are SO many safety things to understand and measures to be sure to take to keep your baby safe. SIDS prevention, car seat safety, vaccines to make sure you and others have (hello whooping cough!
It can feel impossible to navigate through but it’s important stuff.
Planning a nursery theme may seem important but knowing how to keep your baby safe is the most important thing! It’s easy to spend your days browsing Pinterest for cute baby style inspo and drop the ball on doing the harder research for safety measures to take for your baby.
A good rule of thumb is to spend a set amount of time researching and understanding safety measures for your new baby and then reward yourself with some Pinterest browsing 😉
I look back when my first was a little one and can’t believe
My first baby had dang bumpers in his crib and I remember I left the newborn insert in his car seat until he was like three months old because I didn’t realize you were supposed to remove it.
It can be tough to stay up to speed on all the safety measures for babies. So often popular products being marketed to new moms aren’t actually safe. A big one that drives me crazy personally is the dockatot. It seems like everyone on Instagram is obsessed with this for their babies and yall it’s not safe sleep practices for babies to sleep in them!
When looking into safety for your baby the most important thing to research is safe sleep practices as well as car seat safety. Car accidents are the number one cause of accidental death in children (followed by drowning)
He had bumpers in his crib for goodness sake! I wish I’d known to be better prepared to keep him as safe as possible. If I could do it over again I’d read up on safety stuff while pregnant to have better knowledge prior to his birth.
New Mom Goal 6: Prepare your home for baby
Those early days are a blur. It’s the only time I’ve ever totally forgotten to pay my bills and had to deal with a bunch of late fees. OOPS.
We all know about the nesting phase and can easily spend our pregnancy days preparing the nursery and doing all the fun shopping items to fill the nursery with all the goodies for baby. And packing, then repacking, our hospital bag 😉
The biggest blessing I did while pregnant was prepare meals for our family. I froze many meals and we lived off them for months.
You can find TONS of easy to prepare crockpot meals on Pinterest. Take a day and do a batch of meals all at once and it makes it so easy to have them frozen and ready to cook and then BAM! toss it in the crockpot and you’re good to go for dinner.
Another great trick is to cook a meal for dinner and just double it and freeze half to keep for when baby arrives.
Sure, some people will bring food (although very few did with our second baby!) but many times you won’t have stuff for breakfast or lunch.
Having easy to make things readily available is a life safer!
It is also wise to stock up on easy to eat snacks and quick grab items. Also it’s a real treat to have your home cleaned professionally in the days leading up to the baby’s birth. There is nothing better than a good home deep clean and timing it close to delivery allows your home to stay clean when people drop by to meet the baby and bring food.
Sidenote: DO NOT ENTERTAIN PEOPLE. Yes, they are bringing you a meal and you should appreciate that gesture. But you don’t owe them anything for that meal! Hide in your room and SLEEP and let your husband greet the guests, show off the new baby and thank them for their meal!
New Mom Goal 7: Don’t think too long term
You won’t need a high chair for a good six months (although I do highly recommend registering for this AWESOME high chair since it’s a pricier, but well worth it, item since with the first baby you often have so many awesome showers!).
You don’t need to stress over if you want to do jar baby food, make your own, or try out baby led weaning.
You don’t need to worry about “baby proofing” everything. Your baby won’t be mobile for quite awhile!
In the early days, keep it simple. Focus on the most important things at that current stage of life.
Once you get through the first couple of weeks you will feel more confident and more able to make decisions about things down the road. For now, don’t stress over it or let it consume you!
New Mom Goal 8: Have a support system
Ideally your husband is your best support system as you enter the world of parenting. All of these things mentioned throughout this post? All that stuff you research? All the decisions you’re making…make sure to include your husband in that process!
I know that may sound like a no-brainer but men tend to zone out and not really listen.
Let’s be real, we are super-mega pumped about becoming moms and love learning all these new things about the world of babies. Our husbands may try to listen to us as we share this wealth of new information – but they also may start to tune us out a bit and miss things that we think are important and valuable.
It’s important to make sure he REALLY knows the areas where he needs to show up for you the most!
If you want to establish baby sleep training techniques…having him on board will be a huge blessing.
If HE is your helper for that important 24 hours of rest I mentioned…then he needs to know that and be ready for it!
Our husbands WANT to help but they are not mind readers. Communicating expectations is so important in our marriage, especially in advance before the baby is born. Once baby arrives you will BOTH be exhausted so having those discussions upfront will make those early days at home flow much smoother.
For example I knew I’d get resentful and bitter if my husband slept solid all night and I was the only one getting up to feed the baby throughout the night. We compromised and he’d get up and get the baby and change his diaper then I’d feed the baby and put the baby back to bed.
That way we were both involved in the middle of the night process and it helped us both get more sleep and feel like a team. In fact, I didn’t change ANY diapers at all the first full week of my first son’s life because diaper changes were a task my husband felt like he could do and do well and it allowed me to be getting settled in for a nursing session while he was handling getting a fresh diaper on that baby!
Yes, share all the fun baby things you learn with your husband throughout your entire pregnancy. But especially make sure to get on the same page for areas you’d like help, things he’d like to be responsible for handling, and that he has all the important must-know safety knowledge too!
New Mom Goal 9: Appreciate each stage
Yes, the end of pregnancy can be tough.
Yup, the early days of parenting can be tough too.
But you’ll NEVER be a
You’ll never get to truly enjoy every second of being pregnant.
Of feeling those sweet baby kicks.
Of holding a new baby in your arms and kissing all over it!
Once you have this first baby, it won’t ever be just about you and your husband anymore.
So soak it up. Enjoy the last days of just being the two of you! Spend time pouring into each other and making your relationship bond as strong as possible.
Go on dates. Sleep in. Be spur of the moment. Savor these precious days! Have adult conversation about anything and everything (because it’s true, once baby arrives you’ll naturally talk to each other about the baby…even when away from the baby haha).
And guess what? Once you have another baby (someday…I know it’s unimaginable when you first give birth!) it will never be just about this baby anymore either.
So soak that up too!
Each phase of parenting brings about new challenges and new concerns but also new exciting experiences and new wonderful memories.
It’s true what they say: the days are long, but the years are short.
These moments will FLY BY so appreciate them the best you possibly can! Take all the pictures. Especially videos! Those sweet baby sounds fade FAST. Embrace all the snuggles. Allow yourself grace. And again, get that 24 hours of rest so you’ll be better able to appreciate the time with your new baby – I promise it works!
New Mom Goal 10: Trust YOUR Gut.
As a new parent you will get lots and lots of opinions and advice.
And it’s hard as a new mom to trust YOUR gut. I was very insecure as a new mom.
I second-guessed myself constantly and let others influence me all the time. At some
The sooner you have that ah-ha moment, the better!
Yes, do research. Yes, ask for advice from those you trust.
But also listen to what your instincts tell you.
If you think your baby is sick and everyone else says they are fine, go to the doctor.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking your baby out in public yet when everyone else says to go ahead and go for it, don’t go!
Here’s the thing with parenting advice: it’ll always contradict other parenting advice. And often people will even contradict themselves!
As a lighthearted example…we took our first baby to Mexico when he was about six months old. We were on a free work-related trip and with a group of co-workers on the beach when a man approached with his pet orangutan.
EVERYONE said “Omg you HAVE to get a picture of your baby with the monkey! You HAVE TO.” So we did it. And then as soon as we did? EVERYONE said “omg I can’t believe you let your baby be held by a monkey. You shouldn’t have done that!” (Sidenote, it did make for some epic pics haha)
While it’s all funny now, in the moment it was so frustrating to have all these people peer pressure me into a parenting decision and then judge my decision when I did what they’d been pressuring me to do.
One thing I finally learned is that it’s YOUR BABY. YOU (and your husband of course) get to make ALL of the decisions. Not your mom. Not your mother in law. Not your friends. Not random strangers on the beach. YOU.
It is tough to get that confidence and to know what you want for your baby. It’s hard not to feel like you need to override your gut feeling and trust advice given by other parents you know and trust. Especially when it comes to family, your mom raised you so it’s hard to make decisions for your baby that she may not agree with (we dealt with many family members who weren’t supportive of Babywise).
Follow your gut. It’s telling you something for a reason and once you start listening to it, over outside influences, you’ll feel so much more PRIDE and much less STRESS with this whole parenting thing!
And the best thing about learning all of this with your first baby? When you add in a second baby you’ll have SO much more confidence in parenting. (And even more with the third baby...and by the fourth you’ll be a dang pro haha)
So even when you feel lost and insecure, remember it will only get easier from here!
Most of our country’s presidents are firstborn children so that “guinea pig” baby will be okay even if you don’t know it all right away 😉
I’d love to hear from other experienced mamas and what they would recommend new parents should have in mind for their goals?
Goal setting is a great way to prepare for any big change in life. But don’t let the ideas of setting goals in parenting overwhelm you. It’s not like a new year resolution type thing, this is an entirely new phase of your life.
You will hit some tough spots and rough patches and things won’t always go the way you planned and some of your goals will shape and evolve over time, especially as you learn and grow in your parenting and really figure out exactly what your true parenting priorities are.
I also want to point out one goal I did NOT mention focusing on as a new mom? Weight loss. I know what it feels like to get home from the hospital with that postpartum body and feel frustrated by what you see in the mirror.
But the early days of parenting are not about fitness. Or looking “Instagram perfect.” Your body needs time to recover. Do not make some high-stressful goal on yourself to be back in your pre-pregnancy jeans anytime soon. There will be time for all of that once you’re well adjusted to this parenting game! For now focus on yourself and your baby and the health of your little family and eliminate anything in your life that causes you to feel any sort of pressure to look any sort of way (yes, maybe delete IG for a bit if you need to…comparison can be a quick thief of joy!).
I hope this list helps put things into perspective for the pregnant ladies who feel overwhelmed and that you are truly able to enjoy every second of this amazing journey ahead of you!