Every person you know (and some you don’t) has an opinion to share. Real moms dish to our editors on the best advice.
Plan everything ahead. I’m one of those people who puts everything off until the last minute, but my boyfriend kept pushing me to finish the nursery, pack my hospital bag and do lots of other stuff that I thought could wait a few weeks. When I ended up going into labor four weeks early, I was so glad that he had made me do all that ahead of time, or else I would’ve been completely unprepared! —Marty, 31
Formula isn’t all that bad. I really beat myself up when breastfeeding didn’t work out for my daughter and me—I waited much longer than I should have to put her on a bottle because I just didn’t want to give up on it. I felt like such a failure, because all you hear is “breast is best.” But my brother-in-law said one day, “Formula’s not going to kill her,” and I realized that he was right. Now I’m a happy bottle-feeding mama. —Erin, 32
Schedule time for your spouse—and time for yourself. Right after my daughter was born, my husband and I were both really unhappy. We were tired and neglecting each other and ourselves to care for our colicky baby. I honestly think that we might have gotten divorced if my ob hadn’t suggested at my six-week checkup that I start scheduling a date once a week and a “me time” outing once a week. It made a huge difference in our marriage and made us both better parents. —Elisabeth, 26
Pack maternity clothes for the trip home from the hospital. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t drop back down to my old size overnight—I know that might sound silly, but I had only gained 20 pounds and I didn’t think that it was anything but baby weight. My mom told me to pack maternity clothes for the trip home from the hospital and I told her I wouldn’t need them—so she brought them herself, and thank God, because those size six jeans wouldn’t have fit around my ankle. —Christy, 34
Put on makeup—it will make you feel so much better. After my son was born, I went through a period where I just felt really crummy about how I looked. I was sitting at home all the time nursing in my sweats and catching up on SOAPnet reruns, when I had always worked in an office with a strict “suits-only” dress code and 60-hour weeks. A friend suggested that I get up in the mornings and “get ready” by at least washing my face, putting on some mascara and doing something to my hair, even though I wasn’t planning to go anywhere. It worked! It made me feel a lot better just to have on real clothes and some makeup—and it also motivated me to get out of the house a lot more.” —Tabitha, 37
Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much. I seriously gorged myself on food the first few months of my pregnancy since I was “eating for two,” until my husband gently pointed out that the second person in the equation didn’t require a full meal every time I did. I still ended up gaining too much weight, but if I hadn’t slowed down when I did, I would’ve been in really terrible shape. —Karyn, 40