It might come from her mom, her best friend or even the strange lady at Target—but when you find something that works, it’s in the unwritten Mother’s Code that you have to share. Real moms honored the code to tell us some of the best advice they’ve ever received.
Don’t forget the play yard.
My best friend helped me register, and she said that the most important thing to have is a Pack ‘n Play. She was definitely right! My daughter napped in her Pack ‘n Play downstairs when the stairs were still a bit much for me to maneuver post-C-section, and we took it everywhere we went—to visit grandma, to the park, even overseas for our vacation. It’s also great to have at home for when friends come visit and their babies need somewhere to nap. —Lynda, 34
Sleep when the baby does.
Everyone told me that I should sleep when my baby did, and I thought that they were crazy—why in the world would I want to take a nap in the middle of the day when there were things to be done? After two weeks I caved and hit the bed every time he did, and I was really mad at myself for missing those first two weeks. I should’ve been sleeping! —Stacia, 29
Trust your instincts.
The new-parent jitters almost did me in. I was a nervous wreck around my newborn until my husband looked at me and said, “Just trust your instincts. You know what to do.” And he was right, I did. I had just been over-thinking and second-guessing everything, but when I just went with my gut, I was a much better parent than I gave myself credit for. —Lila, 42
Buy a really good prenatal reference book.
If I hadn’t invested in a good pregnancy reference book, I would’ve been on the phone with my ob at least five times a week. It answered a lot of my questions and reassured nearly all my needless worrying. —Liv, 35
Don’t take parenting too seriously.
My best friend kept telling me that I couldn’t take parenting too seriously, because you have to be able to laugh at the bad days as well as the good. And she was right. As the mother of triplet boys, I can’t tell you how many times I got wet during diaper changes, and you just have to learn to laugh (and make sure you have plenty of clean shirts).—Cleo, 36
Freeze a week’s worth of food before your due date.
My mom came over one day right before my due date so we could make up a week’s worth of dinners and freeze them. It was so nice to have my family’s meals already taken care of—plus friends brought food for the first six days, so we went a whole two weeks without having to cook. —Sharon, 39
You need a nursing cover.
I didn’t see the need for a nursing cover with my first child, but a friend bought me one for my second after I said I didn’t think I would need one, and it was the best present ever! With the second child you’re on the go a lot more, and I can’t tell you how many times I used that nursing cover while breastfeeding at the park or library. There’s nothing wrong with nursing in public, but I liked my privacy—and keeping the snickers of the 9-year-old boys to a minimum. —Jennifer, 29