Why being a first-time mom is so hard

Let’s be honest: I had no clue what I was doing. At. All.  

Why being a first-time mom is so hard

I have four kids ranging from 2 to 8 years old. I’ve never been one to hang around the house, so we are frequent visitors of coffee shops, stores and restaurants. We are a bit of a novelty and rarely (if ever) go out without someone stopping me to comment, “Your hands are full!”

It is true. I am a busy mama. But honestly, my steepest learning curve was not my fourth child, it was my first.

Being a first-time mom is HARD. If you’re a mom of one or two, and are questioning whether it’s a good idea to add to the chaos, you might consider these reasons (I think) it gets easier.


The first time around...

You have NO idea what you’re doing.

Seriously. I sort of thought I would have a magic infusion of motherly wisdom when I gave birth to my child Malachi. Instead, becoming a parent was like an episode of Survivor. An episode of survivor where my boobs were on fire and my teammate didn’t speak English. It really sunk in when my baby was losing his mind and my mother in-law (veteran child raiser) asked me, “Why is he crying?”

I don’t know, lady, and also, if you don’t know... I’m in trouble.

You may never be an “expert,” but with experience you build confidence and an arsenal of tricks of the trade, plus you’re just more “okay” with the fact that no one ever really knows everything.

You have a lot more time to obsess.

With your first, there is ample time to obsess about things like whether your kid is going to fail at life because they use a pacifier and if today’s “face time” was adequate. Babies two, three (and ever after) don’t have your constant attention because it’s not possible. For me, having more kids helped me make peace with my limitations. You’re having a complete identity crisis.

Many mamas feel like they don’t know who they are anymore.

They say in transition it’s common to feel angry, depressed, confused... and so many other emotions. It’s part of your process. Every baby is a transition, but I believe that moving into motherhood for the first time is monumental. After that it’s, as they say, “once a mom always a mom.”

You are sure that every little thing is going to last for eternity.

You don’t know how to imagine “later” with this child. When baby nurses 47 times in the night you think, “This is it. This is my life now.” You live in fear of things like “sleep crutches” imagining them when they’re 12 sprawled on top of you at every bedtime. When you wake up in a pool of your own milk, you’re like, This is the road I have chosen. I have arrived. Now I’m going to be Soaked-Milk-Girl.

Once you’ve gone through the baby stages once or twice, you have a real-life gauge for how fast it goes.

It becomes a whole lot easier to roll with the punches. I have a friend who says to every infant/toddler concern, from being addicted to pacifiers to exploding diapers to biting your nipple, “Hey, they (probably) won’t be doing that in kindergarten...”

There are just so many surprises.

Breastfeeding sounds a lot less difficult before you actually have a baby to feed. And then there’s the way that little ones seem to know that you’ve just fallen asleep—and make that their optimal time to wake up. No matter how many stories you were told pre-baby, experience is your true education.

You don’t have the know-how to filter advice.

Advice-givers are coming out of the woodwork. They’re in your grocery store, they’re at your church and they’re in your family. You used to think that there were social boundaries around what’s “okay” for people to say to you. Around the time that an older gentlemen in suspenders asks you how much weight you’ve gained in your pregnancy, you realize that baby raising is a strange new world. When I was a brand-new parent, people were constantly informing me that my baby was hungry. I’d doubt myself even though I was fully aware I’d just finished a feeding. With my second, third and fourth, people didn’t assume (as often) that I needed their “expertise,” but I also had the confidence within to hold onto the good things and brush off the rest.

Everything is a Baby Apocalypse with the first.

Their first cold. First ear infection. First time screaming at you. It might as well be Armageddon, and no one can convince you otherwise. Not even me right now. When my oldest lied to me the first time I wept. Seriously. I told all my friends how concerned I was. They encouraged me while also telling me that maybe I was “overreacting.” To which I was like, “Umm, he’s 3. Clearly I’ve ruined him.” In contrast, my third baby mimicked her first swear word, and without thinking I repeated it to her to see if she’d say it again. With time you realize that every child passes through seasons and it’s not because you’ve failed, it’s because they’re kids. First time around you’re taking everything (especially yourself) way too seriously.

So yes, I’m a mom of four and technically I have “my hands full,” but nothing has compared to my first transition to motherhood. If it was a rough ride for you as well, take heart, chances are it will get easier. As my sister-in-law so wisely put it, “The chaos of babies and toddlers will only last for a season anyway, and when you think about what your Thanksgiving table will look like in 20 years. It will be worth it.”

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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