When my little man was born, I'd read all the books--and then some--but I still felt a little unprepared. I'm sure all you moms out there know what I'm talking about. And, seriously, I had been told time and time again about thow much my life was going to change, but nothing, I mean NOTHING, could have prepped me for the real thing.

But for you very new moms or those of you who are about to become new moms or those of you even thinking of becoming moms, I wanted to share the seven most important things that got me through the first few weeks after Sebastian arrived. 

  1. A strong support system: It's absolutely essential to have a good network of friends who are also moms, friends who just listen, mom and mom-in-law, even good websites (like MamasLatinas.com!) that can be a source of information or comfort in the days that lie ahead. From little questions (like, why does my baby make such funny noises at night!?) to really deep confessions (during those inevitable baby blues days), make sure you have some people you can confide in and trust!
  2. Lots of receiving blankets: Okay, this may seem like it's out of place here, but honestly, I can't stress enough how having a whole lot of these little blankets is a life saver. Let me count the ways: during the baby's first days, they are super, super useful to swaddle the little one so he gets some sleep; they are the perfect size to use as sheets for the bassinet; when laying the baby on the bed, it's essential to lay the baby on one of these—in case of, you know, spit up or other accidents happen! My favorites are these muslin wraps that are breathable and super cute, but there are other plushier blankies if your little one is a winter baby!
  3. Breastfeeding supplies: This includes some bra pads for leakage and—very important!—some nipple cooling gel disks, like these (life-savers!), and lanolin creams to moisturize tender spots. Even if you don't plan on breastfeeding long-term, the shock of the first few times the baby latches on was enough to make me reel with pain, so be prepared.
  4. Vitamins: Think you should stop taking your prenatal pill after the little one arrives? Think again! Not only is taking these a must if you're breastfeeding, honestly the whole pregnancy-delivery thing takes SO MUCH out of you. I've kept taking these multivitamin, even now 15 weeks after the baby arrived. It will help with all those post-partum surprises (hello, hair loss and joint creakiness!).
  5. Trust your inner mom voice: No for real, trust it. It's there if you only listen. You do need that support system I mentioned in number 1, but as the days pass, you'll get to know the little one so much better—and you'll almost certainly know when something is normal and when it seems off. Trust that feeling and you'll be good.
  6. DVR: Okay, for real, I could not have survived the overnight hours spent pumping and breast feeding without a little boob tube (ha! Pun so intended). I know what they say--use that time to bond, look deeply into your baby's eyes, blah, blah. Which is all true and amazing, but when you're feeding every 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes your little guy has had enough of you and you just really need to catch up with the latest Dancing with the Stars (or any other mindless tv show of choice!). 
  7. Maternity clothes and cute PJs--for you: Cute PJs are essential because for the first few days, they are all you'll want to live in. If you're breastfeeding, make sure they either button in the front or provide easy access to the boobage. It may seem a bit superficial, but feeling and looking cute will make a world of difference when you're feeling like you were just run over by a truck (especially if, like me, you had a Cesarian section). And as for maternity clothes, don't discard these too soon! I confess, I am still wearing my maternity jeans to this day. Yes, they're a little big, but so comfy. I may never go back to regular jeans ever again!

What else would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!

Image via Ginny Washburne/flickr

About the author

Yuliana is the Assistant Managing Editor of Mamás Latinas and a new-ish mamá (as her son is almost a toddler, she can't claim new mami-hood anymore). She was born in Medellín, Colombia and raised in New Jersey.

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