6 Pieces of Advice New Moms Don’t Want


When you have a baby, people are full of advice. Some of it is really good and totally helpful, especially when it comes with a bottle of wine or a gift card. But then there’s the advice that isn’t helpful in the least, which somehow you may find yourself doling out once you’re the experienced mother…

1. “Enjoy every moment.” This actually makes my skin hot. Like, instantaneously everyone started acting like I should be enjoying everything like I was on spring break in Cabo or something. I had breast milk dried to my fat rolls and bags under my eyes for months. (Wait, scratch that. Four years). Suddenly, I have the toughest job I’ve ever had and I’m supposed to enjoy it all? Like every. waking. moment? Shit. Truth be told, I was not enjoying very many moments when I had a newborn screamy-screamer. Sure, I was head-over-heels in love, obsessed even, with my new baby. But I was exhausted beyond anything I’d ever come close to experiencing. My boobs ached. My back ached. I was alone almost all of the time and my baby screamed bloody murder through most of each and every ten hour day when my husband was at work. I thought sleeping and showering were gone from my life forever. People telling me to enjoy every moment started to make me feel like I was doing something terribly, terribly wrong. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that the reason people say this is because they totally forgot to enjoy every moment and they didn’t want us to make the same mistake. They also clearly forgot exactly why they didn’t enjoy them.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2. “Take time for yourself.” People would tell me this all the time when I was a new parent and I just kept wondering WTF? What am I doing wrong that I can’t seem to find this mysterious “time”? When you’re attached to a tiny human 24/7, you can scarcely remember that you once had time to both make yourself a sandwich and actually get the chance to eat said sandwich. Unless the person making this suggestion is on their way to your house to babysit, it’s crappy advice.

3. “Don’t feel guilty…” The fact is, guilt follows new moms like a shadow. I’ve met a lot of badass moms, but I haven’t met any, especially new moms, who have successfully avoided guilt altogether. A better suggestion would be, “it’s okay to struggle with balance. It takes time to know yourself as a parent and find what works.” I wish someone had said that to me. Feeling some parental guilt is completely normal. It just means we care and are figuring out what is important. Feeling guilty about feeling guilty is just way too much of a burden. Cut it with the umbilical cord.

4. “Sleep when baby sleeps.” Hello, most bogus advice ever. Newborn babies sleep for approximately twelve minutes at a time, eighteen if they are“good sleepers.” Plus, most of the time it’s actually done on you. Unless you have narcolepsy, you’re not falling asleep the second your kid’s eyes close. Chances are you’re still trying to eat that sandwich for fear of starvation.

5. “If you’re calm, your baby will be calm.” Yes, babies are pretty good at picking up on negative energy and freaking the freak out. But, if you are calm, it definitely does not guarantee you will have a calm baby. No freaking way. If that were true, I would’ve just gotten stoned for two years and swooned at my sweet, calm baby while eating Doritos and nursing away the calories. Some babies are just little spazoids and they can turn even the coolest cucumber of a mom into a spazoid, too.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

6. “Just listen to your instincts.” Okay, fine, sometimes this is true. But, so often we commit to this idea that we should inherently have all the answers; that they just magically come to us when baby arrives. We should know how to nurse, swaddle, suck the snot out of their noses etc, etc, etc… and when we don’t, we feel like failures. A better thing to say would be “I’ve been where you are and it can be totally intimidating. I’m here if you have questions.”

For the sake of new mothers everywhere, can we agree to avoid giving those pearls of wisdom? Let’s give them what they really need: A hand.

Related: 15 Things Veteran Moms Really Want to Say

About the writer


Sarah Bregel is a mother, writer and deep-breather based in Baltimore, MD. She blogs for HuffPost Parents and has contributed to Scary Mommy, WashPost, Mamalode, The Mid and more. Find her at The Mediocre Mama or join her growing Facebook community to keep up with her posts.


Mya 1 month ago

At this point, I’m tired of hearing all advice.
It’s almost like people believe you’re sitting there with open arms for their opinions and 2-cents worth of knowledge. I’m a pretty smart woman… and I’m over it.

Mecca 6 months ago

Sleeping for 12 minutes is not realistic or to sleep while baby is sleeping. I tried to do this & it was an epic fail! The secret is to get to know your baby. For example, my baby was in the nicu for 2mths (preemie). I noticed that she was the most
calm when swaddled. So, when Mommie needs a couple hours
of sleep I will swaddle her after a feeding. Mommie needs her
rest because if she’s run down, what good is she to the baby.

Apryl 7 months ago

i am still going to try to sleep when the baby sleeps. I can drop off in seconds when I need to and will use that to my advantage. I can bet I will be tired all the time and collect every precious minute of sleep.

Bridget 7 months ago

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Okay, cool, but when do I pee? Seriously though, at least for nursing moms, the baby eats sleeps and poops at the same time, all of the time preventing me from eating, sleeping, or pooping! Yes, sometimes I do pass out, upright, nursing the baby, but then I wake up with a stiff neck, a numb arm, and my boob hanging out.

Christine 7 months ago

sleep when baby sleeps. Ha! My favorite (in my head) answer to that was, oh yes! And should I clean when baby cleans and cook when baby cooks? Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Even if that meant sneaking 15 minutes of a mindless tv show on my iPad when he napped after nursing. Also, as a new mom I had a tough time being ok with handing over my newborn – everyone offered to babysit but that didn’t help me as much. The BEST help was when good friends came over, let me nurse in my room (didn’t need me to “visit” with them) and I’d come back to the kitchen with the dishes done or laundry folded or hand me a sandwich. Then hold the baby so I could eat!

Leigh 7 months ago

Actually, sleep when the baby sleeps was the best advice I received. My mama was a single mom to two, not only did she tell me this, but (possibly more importantly) she told me HOW to do it. Put the baby in the bouncer (or portable swing or whatever you’ve got) in the bathroom with you and take a shower/bath. “Sometimes you’ll get a peaceful shower, sometimes you won’t, but you’ll get a shower nonetheless.” Same thing for other essentials (i.e.- cleaning, cooking). Although, I guess this wouldn’t work out if you’re doing attachment parenting. (My sanity is not structured for attachment parenting.)

serina 10 months ago

These are all great pieces of advice, they just need to be re-worded

1) Collect memories of this time because it passes very quickly. Take pictures and videos, so you can see the wonder of how your child has changed so much.

2) Don’t ignore your needs. Care for your child, but remember it is equally important to care for yourself.

3) It takes time to learn how to be a parent. Don’t stress about small mistakes, because they will not have any long term consequences. And everyone drops their baby, just try to do it from a smaller height if possible.

4) Make your sleep a priority, and try to rest whenever possible. Take a nap instead of wasting time cleaning your house, it will be better for you in the long run. A little dirt never hurt anyone.

5) It is easier to deal with a crying baby when you are calm. Learn some calming breathing exercises, and ways to slow your heartbeat for when you can feel your patience thinning.

6) Learn about parenting techniques, but choose to ignore them and do what is most comfortable for you. Don’t try to do something for your child that goes against how you live your life, or you will make yourself unhappy.

KMD 1 year ago

Not to mention people are just trying to be encouraging w/ comments like these.

KMD 1 year ago

This article bothered me mainly because of it’s tone. I felt like someone just wanted to vent the things that upset her and wants to get a reaction from everyone else. I’m about to have my 6th baby…yes being a new mom is hard and it’s like nothing else you have ever experienced and everyone has a different experience, but I think moms attitude has a big part in the mom/baby relationship and if you want to focus on the negative it will be a negative experience.

    Terri 8 months ago

    Exactly what I thought!

gena 2 years ago

sounds like u had a very fussy baby and that took up all ur time and energy not all newborns are so fussy some new moms can take time for themselves

    jezebel 2 years ago

    Obviously not all newborns are fussy. I like that this article is related to those that ARE fussy or to moms who ARE tired and don’t have a perfect calm sleepy quiet baby. This is a real mom telling it like it is to those of us who can’t say these things out loud without being judged so harshly. 1. I didn’t enjoy pregnancy. 2. I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding. 3. my delivery was a nightmare. 4. My 1st baby was difficult and fussy. 5. I was tired and not enjoying every moment. I do not feel bad or guilt. I did the best I could. I had great mommy and baby moments that I will cherish forever. It would be sad if I sat and regretted anything and focused on those moments that I didn’t enjoy 100%. Mommy is a job, it’s work, without any training and the job is always a surprise gig. You don’t know what you’re going to get. You make the best of it, but damnit, let us be honest. Let’s support each other and stop judging and criticizing. (sp?)

Aplantje 2 years ago

Think the article is just trying to get people,out of judging mothers based on what they do or don’t do. Raising a child is hard and we are always judging ourselves on whether or not we are doing well for fear that others are judging us as well. Too much is put on the idea that if you don’t do it exactly as the books/professionals/other moms think you should then you are doing it wrong. As moms we all need to take a step back and realize that if you have made it through the day and your baby is another day older than that day was a success end of sentence. Not every moment will be enjoyed, not every mother will find the ability to make time for herself from the start, not every mother has the same instincts (I think instinct and research should be combined), not every mom can sleep or wants to sleep every time baby does (but some can) and not every mom can remain calm 24/7 no matter who you are but what every mom can do is remove the expectation of perfection and just make it through one day at a time and hopefully know that she has a network of support. Us as moms need to be better at supporting each other and ourselves and stop judging ourselves and others. I think this article is great and don’t believe it was meant as a blanket statement for everyone, we are all different and deal with things in different ways so if this advice is true or not true for you it doesn’t mean it will be that for the next mom you meet. So rather than advice like the article says offer help, food or an ear to listen

Anita Davis Sullivan 2 years ago

My only advice given is that it’s tough but so worth it, and if you want advice or help from my experience, let me know. And then, no cliche help.

Great stuff.

deegie 2 years ago

This is a great article! Funny, easy to relate to, and a whole lotta truth! Once my kids were 2yrs. old, life got a whole lot easier and I could enjoy them and my life much more. Everyone is not into infants, and that’s okay.

SB 2 years ago

I’m a stepmom of 4 older kids, but having my first bio baby. Scared shitless because people keep telling me that I’ll do fine, and that I am already ‘used’ to sharing my life with kids, etc etc etc. What I really want to hear is the truth- that this kid will drive me nuts with all the screaming, that I will panic at every hiccup, snotty nose, or fever, and that I will never be able to have any ‘me’ time again. I am more relieved to hear the truth about the demands a newborn has on new moms than to hear that I am a ‘veteran mom’ for being ‘so noble’ taking on 4 kids that aren’t mine by blood, and that a baby is a piece of cake in comparison. Unless by ‘piece of cake’ people are referring to a shard of glass, I have to say most advice really is crap. This piece was refreshing, and made me feel more empowered to be a mom of a baby in the very near future :)

    Sara 2 years ago

    I love people who love truth.

Katie @ The Surly Housewife 2 years ago

#2 is amazingly true! Espeically for breastfeeding moms. Getting out of the hosue is more a pain in the ass. I merely accepted my job as a cow. Once they were off the boob, it was much easier to enjoy some time away from them.

    Tami – 3rd time mom 2 years ago

    I would have to disagree…getting out of the house was so much easier when I was breastfeeding. Now I have to worry about having enough formula/bottles along and it’s hard to find someplace to warm the bottle up.

      Karen Milton 2 years ago

      I think Katie was referring to time out of the house away from her children.

Jennyg 2 years ago

I can understand where the author is coming from because she only has four years and one child under her belt so to speak. However when you are sending your last born off to first grade or your first born off to middle school, you really, truly, utterly miss hose precious, exhausting moments where you are needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…. And you also realize how it really shouldn’t have mattered if the house was perfect or the laundry as all caught up. And you realize that you probably did obsess a little too much about every little detail when really you could have relaxed and everyone would have benefited. And, 6 or 7 years into parenting and you’re still not taking time for yourself makes for habits that are hard to break and are tough on marriages in the long run. So, while it may be annoying to get some of the ridiculous advice from time to time, don’t under estimate some of the wisdom of experienced moms who mean well

    sarahbregel 2 years ago

    i actually just don’t believe that every moment is meant to be “enjoyed.” i think some of it is meant to teach us things, test us and make us grow as parents. but enjoyed? no. not all of it. doesn’t mean i don’t love being a mom. but i don’t think these one size fits all statements help the majority of new moms very much, even if it is well-meaning.

      Jennyg 2 years ago

      No, of course not – there are no one size fits all statements. But, some of the points in the article are “one size” and I was offering another point of view. Don’t get me wrong – there were parenting moments I HATED… However, looking back on those times with a little more experience and distance, I realize that I miss even the times I hated at the moment and I do remember them quite clearly! What I wouldn’t do to be covered in spit up right now just so I could hold my newborn(s) one more time!! :) Maybe we can agree that better advice would be “Each moment is special whether you love it or hate it.”

momofthree 2 years ago

Better yet… just don’t give new moms advice. Give them cooked meals, or help, or vodka… just please, seriously, no ‘advice’

    Katie @ The Surly Housewife 2 years ago

    Agree. 1000% especially to the vodka :)

No worries 2 years ago

I’m a relatively new mom, and I have to say that I disagree with this post. That being said, I don’t have twins or another child as other commenters have stated, so I can imagine that would make things more difficult. I followed a lot of this ‘bad advice’ and I feel like my baby and I are pretty well-adjusted. I always slept when she slept, and maybe I was lucky, but she slept for more then a few minutes at a time. I think this is the one piece of advice that kept me sane! I also agree with the ‘being calm’ (not to say that I didn’t have hair-pulling freak out moments on occasion), but I do believe that a constantly stressed out mom can make for a cranky baby. That’s exactly why I took time for myself. Even though my little one refused to take a bottle, my family would come over for 1-2 hours and encourage me to take a walk, go out for coffee, or wander aimlessly around a department store. This also helped with my sanity. I do know that everyone’s experiences are different though, and I got plenty of horrible advice that didn’t work for me either. Moms get pretty good at practicing the smile and nod, whilst screaming internally. Just one of our many super powers.

Bex 2 years ago

As a new-ish first-time mom, I want to add the inability (or ability) to breast feed does not make or break a child – or mother. Breastfeeding is freaking hard and even when done with multiple visits to an LC, eating all the ‘hippie’ stuff, drinking water till you never leave the toilet, pumping, and reducing stress, it still doesn’t work for many/most moms.

Don’t let breastfeeding define your ability to provide for your baby.

    Merry Jo Reckeweg 2 years ago

    True, breastfeeding doesn’t work for SOME moms, even if they do all the right things, and we need to be understanding of that. However, it does/would work for MOST if they are committed to doing it.

      Bex 2 years ago

      Silly me forgot the “You didn’t try hard enough” crowd.

        Lee Maneman 2 years ago

        And here I thought she was just correcting your obviously inaccurate statement. Since breastfeeding was basically the ONLY way kids got nourishment in the pre-formula days, the existence of the human race provides a good testament to the fact that breastfeeding works pretty well, really. Still, there are certainly exceptions, and Merry agreed (as do I) with your main point, which was that the ability to breastfeed a baby does not provide an adequate standard to judge a mother’s parenting skills and dedication.

          katy 2 years ago

          Back in pre-formula days … they used wet nurses if a mother couldnt breastfeed.
          Sone women can actually NOT breastfeed.

          Tracy Love 2 years ago

          Im a mum of two and was NOT able to breastfeed. Proud to say my two are thriving well and have lived to tell the tale!

          Kim K 2 years ago

          back ‘in the day’ they also didn’t name a baby until they were one – because so many people died in infancy, so yeah: i’d say plenty of woman don’t produce enough milk – even historically. 0_0

    heather 7 months ago

    I agree, my first son I cried and cried because I just couldn’t breastfeed. I felt like a failure, they lightly shoved it down your throat! I think there should be more articles written about it being ok not to breastfeed! Your baby will be fine if you don’t!

Haley 2 years ago

I love this article. I was lucky to be free of most mommy guilt, but the rest of it I can definitely relate to. My baby ate every 45 minutes for almost 3 months straight. By the time she started sleeping for more than an hour at a time, sleep with something that was a figment of my imagination. The option of sleep when baby sleeps, was simply not going to happen if I ever wanted to shower, eat, clean, or talk to another human being.

Tanessa Toten 2 years ago

This is horrible advice. You will miss every single moment when they are little. Trust me. Enjoy every single one! Guilt makes me a better person and mother. It drives us to be better than we were yesterday. I HIGHLY recommend sleeping when baby sleeps. That 12 minutes is better than none at all! I still nap with my daughter who is 2 sometimes. It’s very refreshing. The idea is for Mom to stay calm, even if baby is upset, if mom stays calm it will be better for both her and baby. And trusting your instincts, like not listening to that formula loving doctor who wants you to supplement because your baby IS gaining just not at the speed which he expects every single baby to gain. Because all babies are exactly the same, have the same genetics, and should grow exactly the same. Yea. Trust your instincts and don’t listen to that fool. Trust your body and trust your baby.

    XKy 2 years ago

    Sorry, but no. My oldest is almost 3 and I do not miss many moments from her infancy. Not every baby is the same, not every mom is the same, and not everyone will enjoy (or later miss) the ride.
    I do, however, agree that “trusting your instincts” shouldn’t be on this list. It is my biggest most important piece of advice for any mom who asks for it. That doesn’t mean that you will instinctively know how to swaddle or nurse or get rid of cradle cap or whatever – but you will know when something feels wrong or just off, you do know what is best for your own baby. It means you don’t go against your mommy gut, even if that means going against all of the well-meaning advice you will be inundated with.

    Taylor 1 year ago

    Seriously? Not everyone can sleep when the baby sleeps. It takes some of us awhile to fall asleep. So basically the second we finally fall asleep the baby wakes up. That makes us more tired than we were before we tried to nap. And no, every single second is not enjoyable. I love my babies more than words. But when both toddlers are having a meltdown and I’m trying to nurse the baby while I have a migraine…not enjoyable. Will I miss them being little? Absolutely! Will I miss that moment above? Probably not.

    Terri 8 months ago

    I have 3 teenagers and a 20 year old. I do miss it! Any of the stress of lack of sleep and tantrums from when my babies were all babies at once was easy in comparison. Seriously I’d go back to those days in a heart beat. This is coming from a mom with one child on the autism spectrum, a preemie who was later adhd, and another child with health issues. My 4 babies were all born within 5 1/2 years. I learned my lesson with the first one, you may not fully sleep in those 12 minutes but you can take a rest during some of them even if it’s not full sleep it can help. Staying calm is true, I had two colicky babies it helps to remind yourself that there is a reason they are upset and learn what helps them. Staying calm yourself makes it a lot easier to do that. Also taking time for yourself? Your not a horrible mother of you hand your baby to your husband when he’s home and tell him it’s his turn sometimes (mine worked two jobs and would do this for me) or ask a family member to help out once in awhile.

    Rose 7 months ago

    You completelyyyy missed the entire point.

    Heather 7 months ago

    “Enjoy every single one!”

    Do you have any idea how damaging this advice can be to a new mum? A woman who’s overwhelmed and scared and at best dealing with the baby blues (at worst severe PPD). It’s taken me months of therapy to come to accept that I don’t have to love every moment with my infant. It’s okay to hate some of the times. It’s normal and natural. Healthy, even. Telling someone they have to enjoy every moment sets new mums up to feel like a failure if they so much as think “I hate this. I hate the sleep deprivation and the crying and the pain and fear and the anxiety and, and, and…”

    It’s really a cruel thing to do. Don’t ever say that to someone unless you’re trying to be a complete asshat.

Angela Wickwire 2 years ago

Very well said. I hated the advice everybody tried to give me. Made me want to scream.

Mary 2 years ago

The last sentence was the best part. AMEN. What new parents really need is an open offer of occasional help with babysitting, errand running, whatever, from the people they love and trust.
My mom and sis stayed with me for two weeks when I had my second, taking care of my first and helping me out after a difficult pregnancy. It was a GODSEND. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.


Enjoying this? Then like us on Facebook