10 Tips to Surviving Baby’s First Year

I have made plenty of mistakes here in my baby’s first 9 months. Maybe if I share them with others, it can help you to steer clear of the mistakes I made and learn from my own experiences. I even added in what worked for me so you can know what worked and what didn’t. All babies are different and have their own personalities so you have to learn by just trying what works for them.

Baby’s first year can be full of joy, but you will have some rough times and sleepless nights. That is inevitable. However, knowing some of my own personal mistakes and highlights may help make those rough times just a tad easier.

1. Use Your Crib

One major mistake I am STILL making is having my son sleep in bed with me. The reason I am still making this mistake is I know I won’t get any sleep for a few days when I switch him to the crib. However, if you stick with your crib from the beginning then you won’t have this problem. If your child does not like the openness of the crib, try using different and more comfortable, areas to have them sleep in. These could be baby swings, bassinets, or one of those little beds that attaches to yours. Just try not to make the mistake of having them in the actual bed with you.

This can even be dangerous if you are a rough and deep sleeper. I am a light sleeper so the slightest noise or movement from my baby wakes me. The other problem is they could roll off the bed. I admit that my baby has rolled off my bed more than once so I keep him on the inside of the bed which is up against the wall.

Also, my son is attached to the boob all night meaning we both don’t usually get good sleep and we wake up a bunch. At first, it seemed like an okay idea, but now that he’s 9 months, I am regretting the decision I made of having him sleep in bed with me. It is wonderful to be able to bond with baby, but save that for naps.

2. Create a Schedule

Create a schedule for your baby! Feed him/her at the same times (whether it be for breastfeeding or baby food) and have a bedtime schedule. Heck, it may even help to have a bath schedule. This has major benefits. For one, your baby will grow knowing a schedule for all their meals so that they will understand this schedule when they are older. For two, a bedtime schedule will help them to know when bedtime is coming around. Try to get a routine ready for bed such as bath time before bed, bedtime stories, last feedings, music, etc.

A mistake I made that I have been working on fixing is not having set schedules. We have a set feeding schedule, but not a bedtime schedule. Also, I never set a breastfeeding schedule. This has caused some issues. My son expects to eat right when I walk through the door after school even if he has just had a bottle. He also just crawls up to me and cries until I give in and feed him (which is another bad habit I am working on breaking).

I am not saying I shouldn’t feed him! This is just to explain that he wants to feed even when he isn’t hungry. To him, I am pacifier and something to keep him busy when he is bored with his toys. This makes my breasts sore and gives me very little time to get much done since he doesn’t want set down.

3. Introduce the Pacifier Frequently

My son did not like a pacifier from the beginning. Therefore, I just decided not to really use it. This became a problem because now he uses my breast as a pacifier instead of just food. Every time he gets even remotely tired, he thinks he needs to nurse. He does fine just being rocked or held with others, if I am not around. But if I am anywhere near, he thinks he needs to nurse.

Try to find different pacifiers and just keep introducing them. They should catch on. If not, find other sources of calming mechanisms. Do not make the mistake I did of nursing every time they get tired.

4. Breastfeed

I know I have explained in previous sections the wrong ways to nurse. But I still would never regret actually breastfeeding my baby. There is so much beauty in nursing. RIGHT after my baby was born, the nurse handed him to me for skin-on-skin contact and he went straight to my boob. Babies usually don’t catch on that quick and honestly I wasn’t supposed to feed him yet. However, I had been in pain all day and had barely eaten or drank anything so I figured my son was hungry as well. So I let him nurse and he looked right into my eyes.

At first he would just close his eyes and eat. After he started keeping his eyes open longer and making faces (around 3 months), the bonding time was wonderful. He would look into my eyes and we would just have moments of talking, laughing, and just staring.

I go to college full-time, so there are times he has to take a bottle. However, even if you work or go to school, nurse when possible. You can bond with your baby and give the extra nutrients to them. I don’t believe there are many excuses for not nursing. The excuses I will accept are: the baby not latching well and taking a bottle better, baby or mother having a serious medical condition, or the baby having allergic reactions to mommy’s milk.

5. ALWAYS Be Stocked Up on Diapers and Wipes

This one seems obvious, but sometimes my boyfriend and I have thought we had more diapers and wipes then we actually did. Or we just didn’t pack enough diapers and wipes for the night. ALWAYS pack more than you think you need!

There was a night where we were ONE diaper short. Zeke (my son), his daddy, and I all stayed at Zeke’s aunt’s house for a night. Well, Zeke ended up going home (on an hour-long drive) with his daddy’s shirt wrapped around his privates. It is a funny story now, but we felt SO bad about not packing enough diapers.

6. Make Homemade Baby Food

This is a tip I have been with since the beginning. We use WIC meaning we get some baby food free each month for this first year. Since we get it free, we buy some baby food.

However, without WIC we would not get any. Baby food prices add up. Making homemade baby food is cheaper. Plus, it has no preservatives in it so it is healthier and has more nutritional value.

I love using my baby bullet blender and baby bullet steamer for making homemade baby food. You can try different combinations and even meal plan for the month. Baby food can be frozen for a month or put in the refrigerator for a few days up to a week (depending on the food).

Links to Baby bullet products: Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Turbo Steamer (1) and Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Baby Care System

7. Find Time for Yourself

Being a mother can be stressful. This is especially worse if you suffer from postpartum depression. It helps to find some time for yourself. I HATE being away from my son, but I know I need that free time here and there. During that time, I usually catch up on sleep, take a long bath, and give myself an at-home mani/pedi. Just spend time enjoying yourself! You are a WONDERFUL mother and do SO MUCH taking care of another life. Praise yourself for this!

Other ideas of how to spend your “you time” are: girls nights out, a shopping spree, catching up on a project you have been working on, drawing, playing a video game, or drinking some wine (if you are of age!) and watching your favorite movies.

I love spa days, date nights, girls’ nights, and movie nights best, but I love doing all these activities!

8. ALWAYS Use a Changing Mat

This one is definitely a “learn from experience” moment. Babies can’t tell you when they aren’t done pooping or peeing. Now changing mats don’t really help with pee ESPECIALLY when you have a boy, but it helps for poo poo!  There have been a couple of times I made the mistake of not having a changing table or mat with me. Then I have gotten pooped on and peed on. Also, I ended up having to take time to clean the floor and give baby a clean-up bath!

Just be prepared! Always have your diaper bag on you with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a change of clothes, and a portable changing mat. Then add whatever else you need, but these are NECESSITIES.

9. Get a Walker

A Walker has helped SO MUCH. My son was confused as to its purpose at first, but we kept introducing it and he caught on and LOVES it. He loves running around and being able to walk around us as we do dishes and make dinner. The walker makes him feel like a big boy!

We first introduced it when he was 6 months, right around the time he started wanting to stand with assistance. He caught on around 7 months. Now he is 9 months and still loves it and has gained so much speed in it! So this is on my list because it has helped me. It keeps him busy while I do homework or finish chores. Just make sure you close all doors and that there aren’t any stairs to a basement nearby. We have a basement so we always make sure that that door is closed when he is crawling around or in his walker.

Link to the walker I have: Cosco Simple Steps Walker, Monster Syd ->

10. Enjoy Your Time with Your Baby

This is another tip that just sounds so obvious. But it is completely true! Your baby grows SO Fast. Faster than you could ever imagine. So enjoy EVERY moment! Take pictures, write down special moments, and take videos. Go to Pinterest and find fun activities to do with your new baby! Help them learn how to talk, crawl, walk, and grasp everything in sight!

I never expected to ever be a mother. I never really wanted to. When I became pregnant, I was downright scared. Everyone was right though. Your motherly instincts kick in instantly and when you look into your precious baby’s eyes, you wouldn’t want your life any other way.