When I was pregnant with my first child, I armed myself with as much information as possible so I could hit the ground running as a new mama. I read all the requisite baby books from cover to cover, stalked the mommy forums for advice, and signed up for every pregnancy and parenting e-newsletter known to woman—much to my already-overflowing inbox's chagrin. But all of the parenting flashcards (yes, they exist) in the world apparently couldn't prevent me from making some rookie mistakes. Here is what I learned from experience:
The Top 10 Mistakes I Made As a New Mom
10. Spending an obscene amount of money on my newborn's wardrobe. Yes, getting to buy teeny-tiny rompers is the number-one reason we have children (or was that just me?). But here's the thing about infant clothing: your baby really will grow out of that adorable romper before you even get the credit card bill for it. And banks do not accept "like new" rompers as payment. (Trust me. I tried.)
9. Not bathing frequently. Contrary to what I told myself, patting down my body with baby wipes was not as effective—or spirit-lifting—as actually stepping in a shower.
8. Not accepting any help. As a first-time mom, I was very territorial with my new baby. "Nobody can look after my daughter as well as I can!" I thought as I refused offer after offer. Which explains why I got exactly zero hours of sleep.
7. Eschewing newborn-sized clothing. The babies in my family usually weigh more than nine pounds, so I was advised to skip newborn clothes altogether. Imagine my surprise when my daughter ended up weighing 7 lbs., 13 oz. and was swimming in her take-home outfit. Meaning: Be ready for anything.
6. Not hiring a professional photographer to take newborn pictures. I was convinced I could take equally as nice photos with our new SLR camera, but in retrospect, I wish we had hired a professional to capture our daughter in those first few weeks of life. Especially considering I hadn't discovered the "automatic" setting on our camera yet.
5. Changing my hair color. They tell you not to do anything drastic to your hair under the influence of pregnancy hormones, but postpartum hormones may be even more misleading when it comes to beauty choices. Learn from my clown red haired-mistake: Just step away from the dye.
4. Spending hours upon hours picking out the nursery bedding. Turns out, I never even used the crib bumper or coordinating blanket. If you follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations on ways to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, as I did, all you're left with is the fitted sheet, anyway—and many wasted hours that could have been spent on something more productive, like talking yourself out of that new clown red hair color you're considering.
3. Not encouraging a bottle. I was so freaked out about possible "nipple confusion" that I was hesitant to allow my daughter to drink from a bottle—so that by the time she entered daycare at six months of age, she would refuse bottles all day until I showed up to nurse her. As if my mom guilt wasn't already all-consuming!
2. Buying a baby book. Nice idea, no time whatsoever to complete it. Three years later and that empty baby book remains in my daughter's bottom drawer, along with her unused bottles.
1. Worrying about my weight. OMG, you just gave birth a week ago, woman! Stop trying to pull on your old skinny jeans and instead go bore your friends by posting a hundred photos of your sleeping baby on Facebook, like a new mom should be! (Or so I would say to myself if I could travel back in time three years.)