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40 things every mom learns in her baby’s first year

You know what you're doing, you really do.

40 things every mom learns in her baby’s first year

The first year in your baby's life is full of exciting changes and growth, which can sometimes be overwhelming for both first-time moms and seasoned ones. At Motherly, we have collectively a gazillion* children so we wanted to share our knowledge with the world, especially to new mamas out there who are wondering if they are doing a good job at this whole raising tiny humans thing (trust me, you are!)

(*A gazillion, approximately. 😆)


Here's what our team learned in their babies' first year:

  1. You need at least one mom friend you can text about literally anything and literally any time of the day or night.
  2. You will talk A LOT about baby poop and even snap photos of it.
  3. You will at least have one call with your pediatrician in the middle of the night for what turns out to be just gas.
  4. You'll know all the most baby-friendly restaurants in the neighborhood.
  5. You'll need to have a canned response to when someone asks you if you are breastfeeding, if you "work or stay home," and all the questions strangers love to ask moms.
  6. Self-care isn't selfish, it's essential.
  7. If you're wondering if it's poop or chocolate, it's definitely poop.
  8. You'll spend way too much time stressing about little things, we've all done it.
  9. How your baby is born is a tiny bleep in comparison to everything else that comes after.
  10. You know your baby better than anyone else.
  11. It is equally important for you to love your child's pediatrician as it is that your child loves them.
  12. Baby smiles make any day significantly better.
  13. It's okay to take your baby to the pediatrician because YOU are worried about something (even when everyone else says it's probably fine).
  14. It's okay to trust your gut. You've got a good gut.
  15. Don't rush crawling or walking. That "potted plant phase" where they can sit up unassisted but also stay put is just so convenient.
  16. There are so many things you can do one-handed.
  17. The internet can be your friend and your enemy, mom groups can be great and Google searches can be evil.
  18. Breastfeeding is hard, period.
  19. Don't feel guilty about not doing "anything" during your baby's nap, you need time off too.
  20. Sometimes, they only want mama.
  21. Babies turn into amazing people.
  22. A family dance party is a cure for most problems.
  23. It gets easier, until it's hard again, only to get easier and hard again.
  24. They will eventually stop napping on you (and maybe you'll miss it.)
  25. Always have your phone charged, your remote near and an empty bladder before sitting on a couch while holding a baby. You might be stuck there for hours.
  26. It's okay to let your partner or a different caregiver do things in their way. It's not wrong, just different.
  27. Know the signs of PPD and PPA, they can show up way after birth.
  28. Babies will sleep through anything, except mom tiptoeing 500 feet away, that will wake them up immediately.
  29. You're capable of doing things you used to think were impossible.
  30. If your baby is crying it's usually because they're hungry, tired or wet/poopy. But also, sometimes babies just cry. And when they do that you can just hold them.
  31. Hard days are temporary.
  32. Always carry extra clothes for you and baby, blowouts can happen anywhere at any time.
  33. It's okay to ask for help.
  34. You can't do it all, nor should you.
  35. It's totally normal to need a break from your baby, you're not a bad mom.
  36. It's possible to get by on two hours of sleep but it's not sustainable.
  37. No one gets it right all the time (not even that "perfect" mom you know)
  38. They don't know what they're doing either. (Even if it seems like they do.)
  39. Your baby thinks you are perfect.
  40. You know what you're doing, you really do.

Here are some of our favorite products that got us through.

BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Bliss

BabyBjorn bouncer bliss

This iconic bouncer from BABYBJÖRN is worth its weight in gold. It let us shower, make dinner and get a break all while providing (quiet!) stimulation for our littles. Bonus: Qhen they outgrow the bouncer phase, you can flip the cover over and use as a toddler chair. Genius!

$250

Echo Art Bindery baby book

Echo Art Bindery baby book

This keepsake baby book is so gorgeous it will be hard to forget to fill it out throughout the year. The best part? The sweet prompts that help capture memories you'd otherwise forget.

$62

The bökee

bokee

This brilliant little product gives you the extra hands you need to prep a bottle while you're juggling a baby. You may start with breast milk transfers or bottle holders for mixing formula, but, before you know it, you'll be placing a sippy cup in your bökee to fill with water so you don't spill all over your toddler's Play-Doh creation on the kitchen table.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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