I have a few ladies in my life who are currently pregnant with their first babies. I have a few friends who have recently had their first babies. Occasionally I get asked about this and that because I am on my second baby so I have some experience with this whole thing. I will say that the second time baby care is easier because you (mostly) remember the things you are suppose to do. Time management is another story. Anyway, I was thinking about what kind of advice I'd really give to a new mom. There are a lot of things I could say. I have opinions on most everything. But really my advice comes down to two things:
This is only applicable to breastfeeding moms. If you don't want to breastfeed, then don't. It will be fine, your baby will be fine, you will be fine.
1. There is a good chance that breastfeeding (especially the first time) will hurt at first. And don't let anyone tell you differently. Hell, it hurt the second time, but not as bad.
With Bub it hurt about 2 weeks but a lot of that had to do with a late milk supply. So he'd nurse forever but without getting very much. My milk didn't come til around day 7. He was starving and he was supplemented for a while. Because he was hungry and there was nothing there he'd suck and suck and the friction and strong suck just killed my nipples. He also got thrush which didn't help. With Button, my milk came right away, but I still got really sore and cracked nipples. It's just something your body has to get use to. Plus she had a lazy latch when she got sleepy and we had to work to correct that.
My point is that breastfeeding does not come easily to everyone and even when it does there still can be problems. If this is a priority make sure you try whatever you can to fix it. If you have to give up do not feel like a failure. While breast is best, it is luckily not the only food available. Happy moms have happier babies and if feeding time is filling you with dread than it is not good for either of you.
2. This is your baby, not your mom's or your mother-in-law's. Yours and your partner's (if you have one). So while it is helpful to hear what has worked for others it doesn't necessarily mean it will work for you. There are things that most babies like in general but not all babies. Most people like cupcakes, some don't. Babies are the same. Button is completely different from Bub so I've had to work out new tricks with her.
Relatives mean well for the most part but when it is suddenly your job to take of a new little person, it is hard when they seem to be up in your face all the time pointing out what it feels like you are doing wrong. Those relative do genuinely care for you and your baby. They just can't seem to understand that you are actually old enough to care for an infant yourself.
Also older relatives like to say things like Well, in my day, we used X baby thing and it didn't kill you. Well, you know what? Science, ok. Maybe sometime in the last 30 years things have become more advanced. Perhaps a reduced rate of infant mortality can be explained by the use of, let's say, car seats as well as many other wonderful baby safety items. Just because your kids made it out alive and with all ten fingers doesn't mean a rocking horse on a giant spring is a good idea.
Don't be afraid to stand up and say this is my baby, thank you for caring but I will take care of him/her in the best way I know how. The truth is you know your baby better than anyone. No one else will ever have that bond so you will know what to do whatever may come.