21 Times "Seasoned" Moms Didn't Sugarcoat What It's Truly Like Being A New Mom

    "When you pack snacks for your baby, pack some for yourself. Many of my afternoons were saved by a couple of energy bars stuffed in the side pocket of a diaper bag."

    We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community, "'Seasoned' mothers: What advice do you have for new moms with babies and toddlers?"

    Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo in "Jane the Virgin"

    Fortunately for the internet, these experienced mothers stepped up to the plate and shared some sage advice. Being a new mom is a difficult job to get used to, and they could probably use all the tips they can get.

    Sarah Hyland on "Modern Family" holding a baby and looking scared

    So, here are some tips/advice from experienced mothers that might be useful for new mamas:

    Jenifer Lewis on "Black-ish"

    Note: Not all submissions reflect a universal experience of motherhood. Everyone's story is different.

    1. "Stick to a routine, not a strict schedule. The amount of advice I got saying I needed to stick to a strict sleep schedule/feeding schedule honestly ruined my daughter's sleep. When my daughter was about four months old she stopped taking hours-long naps and started sleeping in 30-minute increments. I began to worry a lot and looked to the internet and family for advice (all of which said to put her on a strict sleep schedule and that she had to sleep in a cave). I followed this advice, and my daughter went from an amazing sleeper to having increased night wakings. I felt exhausted because she didn't want to follow MY sleep schedule."

    "When your child is that little, all they need is sleep, love, and food. They know when they're hungry, and they'll tell you. They know when they're sleepy because they'll end up falling asleep. 

    Unless it's affecting your child’s health, don't mess with something that doesn't need to be fixed. Go with the flow and don't take every piece of advice you see online."


    2. "Stop sweating milestones. Just because your baby didn't start walking at one or talking at 14 months old, so what? Your child is a total and complete individual like all of us, and have their ideas about these things. So many parents 'freak out' because 'every other baby' they know hits this invisible mark at the 'right time.' No, they didn't. Many parents will fudge the ages to make their kids seem like geniuses. Just let your baby grow, develop, and do things in their own time. It will happen when it happens — just be patient and there when it does."


    Parent helps toddler take steps, both smiling, in a room with a crib

    3. "IT. IS. OKAY. TO. LET. A. BABY. CRY. IN. A. SAFE. PLACE. AND. GET. SOME. SPACE. FOR. YOUR. OWN. SANITY. (To clarify, put the screaming baby in a cot, close the door behind you, put on some headphones, and just stop for a five to 10-minute breather). Nothing will keep a baby crying longer than a stressed-out mother."


    4. "If you have pets, make sure they have a safe, kid-free space to retreat to, especially if it's your first kid and they're not used to the noise and grabby hands. With our first, our beloved, gentle pet would never think of hurting him. However, he would surely and miserably stand by the baby gate, whining and giving me his best pouty puppy eyes until I opened it for him to go upstairs for some downtime. When our second child arrived with her colic, we would find him in his crate, in our closet, taking a break from the noise. But, just like us, he would recharge and return to playing and cuddling our kiddos. Your fur babies will do better with the transition if they feel safe and secure."


    Toddler embracing a small goat indoors, conveying a sense of childhood animal bonding

    5. "The best gift I can pass on to new mamas is the phrase, 'It's just a phase.' So many things feel overwhelming, problems that you can simply not find a solution for. Then, before you know it, they stop doing whatever was stressing you out, and it's on to the next thing. So try not to beat yourself up — they grow out of everything eventually!"


    6. "Everything you do will be wrong to someone and completely right to another. I've had a random old man tell me, 'There are many things wrong with artificial feeding' while bottle-feeding my first son. He almost died of dehydration because I have a medical condition I didn't realize made it impossible for me to produce enough milk. I had had a random old woman disgustedly tell me, 'You need to put a jacket on that baby' when 'that baby' was just screaming bloody murder and sweating through his clothes underneath the jacket I had just taken off of him and left in the car. The temperature was only in the sixties. I had another random old woman tell me, 'He acts like that because of the way you respond,' when my toddler slammed his head so hard into the handle of the cart that he had a goose egg and started bawling. I picked him up to cuddle him while he cried."

    "Someone can find something wrong with EVERY parenting decision you make. Love your children, and do the best you can."


    7. "You don't need to spend hours playing with them and entertaining them at an age-appropriate level (which, let's be honest, gets very tedious very quickly). Some examples are taking them to shops, sitting with them in the kitchen while you make food, chatting with them, and interacting like you would anyone else. I used to spend hours agonizing over whether I was playing with my son enough. Looking back, he was happy being with me and sharing whatever we were doing. They'll find their way, so let them lead you, and don't stress about not doing enough. You're doing great, and you're doing it together. That is so precious."


    Woman multitasking with phone and coupons in grocery store with baby in cart

    8. "For the love of everything holy, don't put any shelving or wall decor over the changing table that a toddler can reach from standing on said table. Trust me on this one — it looks adorable in pictures, and your newborn will lie there and stare at it. However, babies quickly sit up and will soon stand up and grab at EVERYTHING. In a perfect world, they will never do that on the changing table. But in the real world, you will reach for the wipes or bend down for the diapers, and, in the blink of an eye, that little cherub will be on their feet trying to reach for anything they can, beaning themself with that adorable decor. Those little stinkers are FAST!"


    9. "When you pack snacks for your baby, pack some for yourself. There will come a time when you are out and about, absolutely famished, and stopping to get something for yourself just isn't feasible. Many of my afternoons have been saved by a couple of energy bars stuffed in the side pocket of a diaper bag."


    10. "Find other moms who are in the same phase as you. Join a MOPS group or a baby class where you can meet and chat with other moms."


    Group of moms walking with strollers in a park

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    11. "If using formula, batch make the day's formula using a pitcher. Use the individual-sized premade formula if the budget allows to make middle-of-the-night feedings easier during newborn days."


    12. "Try to leave the house daily if you can, even if it's just a five-minute walk around the block. Being at home with little ones can be isolating, and getting out of those four walls can make all the difference in the world."


    13. "You don't need to read the parenting books — all the information (especially for first-time moms) can be overwhelming. Trust your intuition and get to know your babies. Every single one is different. It also helped eliminate my anxiety about 'milestones' that my baby was 'supposed' to hit at a certain age. You'll worry either way, so do it your way."


    Woman reading a book in a garden chair, relaxing outside

    14. "I cannot emphasize this enough: GET A WATERPROOF LINER FOR THE CAR SEAT! They sell ones that fit into the bottom of the seat and they are a LIFESAVER. The very first trip to the store I took with my first kid ended in him having a blow-out poo that took half an hour to clean up in the store bathroom. I came out to find the cart full of stuff I had been almost ready to pay for, which had been mistaken as abandoned and put away. I had to redo the entire hour-long shopping trip for two and a half hours."

    "Fast forward to my second kid. The same thing happened, except I had that liner. It was a 10-minute cleanup, the cart was still there, and off to the register. Now, I buy one for every baby shower I attend. New moms never register for them because they don't know, but now they do. You're welcome."


    15. "Don't hover over your kids — let them try new things independently (within reason). I'd take my kids to the park and as long as they weren't doing anything where they could injure themselves or others, I'd let them be."

    "Also don't over-schedule your kid to the point where they don't have time to just be kids."


    16. "Don't buy them expensive name-brand clothes. Babies are messy, and they outgrow clothes so fast. Save your money and get something you need."


    Toddler in a suit on a swing, looking happy

    17. "If you are concerned about your parenting because you were raised in an unideal situation, do the mental work to start reparenting yourself along the way. Everyone wants to break the cycle of toxicity, but it isn't as easy as it seems. Just as your little one will grow and learn, you will grow and learn with them, and you must be open and vulnerable. I wasn't able to process a lot of my trauma until I became a mother, and doing that hard work has made me into a parent I'm proud of."


    18. "LET THEM WATCH TV. If you need a break or to finish the dishes, sit them in front of the TV and put on The Wiggles, Ms. Rachel, or Bluey. It does not make you 'the devil' and it does not make you a 'bad mother.'"


    Toddler holding a remote control while facing a television screen

    19. "Your baby will get an awful raw rash at some point. Even something as gentle as baby wipes will be painful when that happens. We know bathing their bums at each diaper change is only feasible at home, but we must run errands. That is where water wipes come in. They weren't available for my first two babies but were for my third, which was a game changer."


    20. "It's okay if the nursery isn't done before they're born — they don't care. A couple of my kids don't even remember their nursery, but my oldest only does because he remembers playing with his younger siblings there. You're fine as long as they have a safe space to sleep and you have some plan for where to change them and how to store their clothes and diapers. My niece spent more time sleeping in her playpen anyway (since it was closer to my sister's work-from-home space than the nursery was). Nurseries aren't always necessary, especially if you can't afford one."


    21. And finally, "Accept the help. People will offer to help you cook, clean, or take the baby while you sleep and you'll want to do it all yourself. But accept the help — it's important to take care of you, too."


    Woman in patterned dress carries child and bags on city sidewalk

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.