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Five Must-Know Insights for New Moms

Five Must-Know Insights for New Moms Five Must-Know Insights for New Moms

In this blog post, pediatric sleep specialist & mom of three, Rachael Shepard-Ohta of Hey Sleepy Baby, reveals five learnings for first-time moms. Read on for expert advice on everything from sleep schedules to keeping your cool (and what to do if you just can’t!)

Being a mom is truly a paradox. Something that can be so incredibly wonderful and joyful can also be incredibly difficult and all-consuming. This is especially true for new, first time moms! 

As a mom of 3 and a baby sleep expert, there are definitely some mistakes I’ve made along the way, and some things that I wish I had known back when I had my first baby. I want to share 5 of the biggest ones with you so that you can avoid the same traps!


1. Asking for help is great, but being specific is better.

We all know we *should* ask for more help and advocate for our needs. I've learned the hard way that simply saying "I need more help" is not sufficient. I've learned that to be a great mom, I need to not live in a place of resentment.

To make that happen, I need to take care of myself and yes, that means asking for help and being very clear about my wants and needs. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness! None of us are meant to do it all alone. I'll admit—this one's still a work in progress for me, but I’m working on it!


2. Mindset is everything.

I say this all the time, but it's so true. When my mind is right, everything else falls into place. Even if the kids are going wild, or the baby won't sleep, IT'S ALL OK IF I AM OK.

For example, if I'm going to try to put the baby down to get some stuff done during nap time, I know that the nap may only last 20 or 30 minutes. I don't even attempt a longer task, if not finishing it will make me lose my mind. Why set myself up for frustration?


3. You can't fight temperament.

My little boy is the sweetest, most sensitive, inquisitive little soul. He's so bright, artistic, and funny. He is the absolute BEST and I wish I knew how he'd come into his own a few years ago. I was so worried about him as a baby. He was “colicky” and difficult to soothe. I truly thought he was broken!

I wish I knew that each baby is wired a little differently, and they all have unique temperaments, sensory needs, and more. I wish we didn't drive ourselves crazy trying to fix or change him. I wish we allowed him to be who he was and supported him as best we could. We definitely didn't do it all right or get things perfect, but he's turning out to be such an amazing kid that we are so proud of. Hindsight is truly 20/20!


4. Sleep will sort itself out.

Despite my job, my kids were not the most amazing sleepers as brand new babies. I didn't realize until starting this career how truly normal their sleep actually was!  I didn't know that I didn't have to obsess about holding them too much or creating bad habits. I didn't have to sleep train or stick to a perfect schedule. They’ve all eventually started sleeping independently, and we still support them as needed (or wanted!).

My husband still lays with him while he falls asleep (my son calls him his "bed buddy") and loves that time together. Sleeping through the night is simply not a thing we think or worry about anymore. I wish I knew back then, just a few months postpartum, that I wouldn't be completely consumed by sleep forever (well, maybe I would be but in a totally different way ).


5. “Be the calm,” and apologize when you can't.

Everyone tells you "a dysregulated parent can't calm a dysregulated child" and that we need to BE the calm for them. This is so true, AND it's hard AF to remember in the moment. This is where the power of repair comes in.

If I'm not able to keep my cool, I ALWAYS apologize. I do my best to repair and let them know it wasn't their fault, I shouldn't have yelled, I'm sorry. This wasn't something I knew to do intuitively when I became a mom, but I'm so grateful I know it now.

Being a new mom can be overwhelming, and you won’t know all the things right away! Focus on getting to know your baby and taking care of yourself. The rest can wait! 

Share your postpartum experiences below, and if you’re a “veteran” mom let us know one of the biggest things you’ve learned in your journey!


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