1. Don't forget to take care of yourself.
"I neglected my personal hygiene. I'm recovering from anxiety and depression and one of the biggest mistakes I made was that I would put others' needs ahead of my personal hygiene and comfort." —catybark
2. Get out of the house, even just for a short walk.
"I was so afraid to leave the house for the first three months, not just with my baby but by myself too. I wish I would've gotten out more, it would've been more beneficial for me to clear my head and helped my post-partum depression. I still see parents out with young babies and get jealous that I couldn't do the same thing." —janellejoannes
3. Trust yourself, and don't worry about what everyone else is thinking.
"I used to worry and think that other moms would judge me if I parent the way I think is best but I’ve learned that first of all, you know what’s best for your baby; and secondly, you will be judged either way because you can’t please everybody. As long as you and your baby are doing fine, do whatever you want and don’t give a damn about other moms." —glasalien
4. Baths are overrated.
"We didn’t wash our child for three weeks after he was born. We were first-time parents and the hospital made such a big deal about only doing sponge baths until his umbilical cord fell off. It wasn’t until my mom came by and mentioned something that we realized we never gave our child a real bath. We blame sleep deprivation and we laugh about it a lot now, but for a while, we had a stinky infant." —joencaitlinb
6. When in doubt, YouTube is always there for you.
"I had a bad infection and was hospitalized after giving birth. This caused me to miss the car seat video that they make all new parents watch. When caring for my child I just assumed the chest clip was for the stomach area and strapped her in like that for months. It wasn't until I saw a Facebook post about the dangers of this and proper way to buckle your child into the carseat that I found out. I'm so grateful I was never in an accident but I always wonder why I didn't just YouTube a video before ever putting her in a carseat." —n4f058d8e2
7. Save your money, babies don't need much.
"Spending way too much on gadgets/baby gear for her early life! Until they are about 4 months old, all you really need are diapers, clothes, wipes, swaddle blankets, and somewhere for baby to sleep safely. Maybe bottles and formula too, if you opt to supplement or formula feed. They require less than you think! Oh, and lots of coffee for mom and dad." —lcm552
8. But also, it's okay to indulge when you want or need something!
"At some point in my pregnancy I decided most baby equipment was a racket and I’d just be purchasing bare bones stuff, thinking that baby needs are pretty simple. This was a great plan until I was weeping, ordering a Deluxe Rock and Play on Amazon at 3 a.m. because she wouldn’t sleep unless being held.
You are not failing because you had to adjust your expectations about what your child needs or what you need as a parent." —caits2
9. Babies cry. There is no avoiding it.
"I had this absolutely insane idea that if I could anticipate all of my baby’s needs, he wouldn’t cry. I mean, obviously this didn’t work because babies just cry sometimes and that’s totally normal and to be expected, but man, did I set myself up for failure with that one. I have no clue where that idea even came from. Two more kids later and I’m much more laid back, thank goodness!" —suzannebournes
10. Swaddling FTW.
"Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! I used to pace the floor with my newborn praying for her to just stop crying and go to sleep! What I wish I would have learned is swaddling calms and soothes babies! Would have saved a lot of my sanity and her vocal cords!" —c42413f3d2
11. To co-sleep or not to co-sleep?
"One night when my kiddo was about 6 months old, he woke up in the middle of the night for a bottle. Me, being tired AF and delirious, decided to lay him down in bed with me and feed him his bottle, instead of rocking him in his room and putting him back in his bed. Now he's almost 5 and I can count on one hand the number of times he's slept through the night in his own bed. His favorite spot is directly on my face." —ashleyl31
12. A fed baby is a happy baby.
"You can breastfeed your baby until you're dried up and the baby can still be hungry. Sometimes you can't **exclusively** breastfeed and you're going to have to turn to formula. I had to come up with a system alternating between breastfeeding and formula. My kids just had big appetites." —yjnj07
13. Say "no, thank you" to unsolicited advice.
"Biggest mistake was listening to anyone else's unsolicited advice and then losing any confidence I had in the first place about being a good parent because of said unsolicited advice. Being tired and out of my mind with post-partum depression was bad enough, but then to have perfect strangers or even people known to me telling me how to do things or telling me how I was doing things wrong made me feel so much worse. And now, looking back on some of the advice I did get, 98% of it was hot garbage." —a490d886ea
14. Multi-tasking sometimes means melted pacifiers.
"I was sanitizing all of my baby’s pacifiers in a pot of bowling water. My baby had a blowout so we went upstairs and ended up staying there a while. When I came down back, the water was gone and so were the pacis. They were melted into a pretty gel at the bottom of the pan." —hollydamronc
15. Ironically, swim diapers are not great at holding liquids.
"After a long car trip, I ran out of easily accessible diapers for my 11-month-old. I decided to put her in the only diaper I had left in the diaper bag, which was a swim diaper. Big mistake. Swim diapers do nothing for liquids. Got surprised by a sopping wet car seat cover when we finally got home an hour later." —e44d143bcf
16. Sleep habits are hard to break.
"Messing up my kids sleep! When he went through his first sleep regression at 4 months we blacked out the windows and set the white noise to highest volume. He’s 2 1/2 and still sleeps like this, which doesn’t leave much room for flexibility. Whenever we travel anywhere we have to bring tacks and blankets to cover up the windows in hotel rooms. My second baby is going to sleep in the daylight if it kills me." —alenarazumovh
17. Even sleeping babies can't be trusted.
"Oh my gosh. I put my 3-month-old sleeping daughter on the floor of the living room while I went into the kitchen to make dinner. I popped into the living room about 15 minutes later to check on her and she was GONE! I freaked out! I was looking all over while sobbing and questioning if I missed hearing the door open while somebody kidnapped my baby.
After about four minutes of total panic, I saw her little leg sticking out from under the living room chair. She wiggle-wormed herself under there by pushing with her legs (while on her back) with zero direction." —godderz1964
18. Hormonal mama = pricey hospital photos.
"I made the mistake of buying the photo package at the hospital. That was a complete waste of $99. With my second child, I set up a shoot on my kitchen island and the two photos looked identical. Don't let those photographers into your hospital room. You are in no place to make decisions involving money after giving birth." —gammermomma
19. It's not a contest or a race.
"Do not compare your child's growth/development. As long as their doctor says they're in normal/consistent range, they're fine. Each child reaches different milestones at different times, and 'your baby is tall/short/fast/slow/thin/fat/loud/quiet for their age' is competitive parenting nonsense." —Tonya Cardwell, Facebook
20. Babies are resilient.
"I was usually really picky about following all the 'rules' but one morning
I was running late and didn't want to go get the bouncy chair, so I laid my 4-month-old son on the bed so I could get dressed for work. Yep, he rolled over for the first time right onto the floor in the time it took me to pull the shirt over my head. I freaked out and picked him up and ran to the freezer to get an ice pack but by the time I got there he was already laughing from getting bounced. Moral of the story - you're going to fuck up no matter how hard you try. Maybe peace with it, forgive yourself, and move on. Your kid will be fine." —alealibroberg
21. Always check the bath water.
"My daughter was born in the middle of a polar vortex here in Canada. Everything was freezing cold. Everything. While giving her a bath, I filled the bathroom sink with hot water, I let it cool a bit and put her in. She instantly started screaming. Thinking it was too hot still I reached to grab her out. The water wasn’t too hot, it was ICE COLD. The cold sink had cooled the water so much that my baby turned purple from being so cold. Ooooops! She’s a totally fine and unfrozen 4-year-old now." —carolinejane86
22. Don't forget the health insurance!
"I forgot to sign him up for health insurance. For the first month, most babies are covered under the mother, but then you have add them to your plan. It wasn't until six or eight weeks later when I was trying to book an appointment that they told me the out-of-pocket cost because he wasn't showing up on our insurance. I FREAKED out because they told me I would have to wait six more months to add him. Babies go to the doctor A LOT in the first six months." —cmary911
23. Post-partum depression is real. Reach out if you need help.
"I didn’t communicate my feelings or needs often enough during my first year as a mother. As a result, my 'baby blues' quickly spiraled into full blown post-partum depression. I was so scared that if I talked about how I was feeling, I’d have my son taken away for being mentally unfit for motherhood. It was completely irrational but I was too terrified to chance it. After lots of therapy and a change in meds, I finally started to feel like my normal self. Had I spoken up earlier, I feel like I could have avoided all those dark months following the birth of my son." —qbrad91
24. Only helpful visitors, please.
"For the first month (or three, you do you), keep visitors to a minimum UNLESS THEY ARE THERE TO HELP. A friend who will come by to see YOU while doing a couple of loads of laundry or dishes, yes. A friend who's just there to oogle the baby can wait until both of you are getting more consistent sleep." —Tonya Cardwell, Facebook
25. Sometimes it's a rash, sometimes it's just a button.
"I thought my 6-month-old son had a bad rash as he had these red welts on his legs. The doctor checked them over and couldn't figure it out until he saw his little denim overalls on the chair next to us and realized that the buttons matched up exactly to the 'welts.' Whoops." —Kristin Maze Garcia, Facebook
26. Just remember, your baby has no expectations of you, and it's all going to be just fine.
"It feels like I do just about everything wrong. But then she looks at me and smiles and it doesn’t matter that I put her diaper on backwards. She’s survived another day with me so that’s all that matters." —bryancc
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.