There’s nothing like having your first baby. And there’s nothing like having more babies to make you realize you knew absolutely nothing the first time around! Case in point: During my first son’s first diaper change, he peed directly into his own face while my husband and I just stood there, sleep-deprived and confused. But my next son got an experienced mom, who not only knew to hold a diaper over him to catch any spray, but who likely would have laughed if it happened again.
Dana Harvey, who blogs and posts her family’s fun and fashionable Florida adventures on @homeoftheharveys, knows this feeling well. After having first daughter Pia, “my second and third [daughter Penelope and son Simeon] became my ‘do-over’ for all the perceived mistakes I made with the first. With each baby came new experiences, different products, and — most importantly — more grace for myself,” she tells Scary Mommy.
In partnership with Carter’s, whose My First Love collection is made with new parents in mind, we sat down with Dana as she looked back on the funny, shocking, and straight up TMI truths she wishes she’d known the first time around.
1. Up-The-Back Blowouts Are So Real
One newbie mistake is to spend tons of money on fancy outfits that won’t stand a chance against a baby’s barrage of bodily fluids (I can say this having once stuffed a $42 outfit in the garbage slot of an airplane bathroom).
Dana has also learned the hard way: “I realized there is no need for ‘dress up clothes’ for the first 6 months of their life,” she says. Carter’s smart multipacks of cotton bodysuits and dresses mean never having to stress about accidents on the go.
2. Tiny Buttons At 2 a.m. Are Torture
Parenting comes with a regular night shift during the first year, which is why it’s important for baby clothes to be easy-on, easy-off for quick changes when everyone (including your little one) is exhausted.
Per Dana: “I remember expecting my first and buying a ton of newborn button-up PJs. I’ve since learned that zippers trump buttons anytime, and especially at nighttime.” Soft, footed pajamas that feature a simple zipper have been Dana’s go-to ever since.
3. (Doing) Less Is More — Seriously!
New moms can be — how shall we put this? — a little extra. “I’m pretty sure I internet-searched more in my first year of parenting than I drank water,” Dana laughs. “I read all the books, listened to everyone’s advice, and tried all the products.” But now that she’s a parent of three, Dana trusts herself more — and wishes she had been able to find more time for relaxation. “If you can, do less,” she recommends. The Harveys love relaxing by the pool in Carter’s UPF 50+ rashguards, which keep kids comfy and protected so parents can rest easy (literally) knowing their delicate skin is covered.
4. Comfort Comes First
Any first-timer who’s ever tried to pull stiff, itchy fabric over an infant’s screaming face quickly learns that anything other than soft, stretchy material is a nonstarter (sorry, grandma — love that hand-knit sweater though!). “I’m a sucker for cute baby outfits,” Dana tells Scary Mommy, “but I’ve since learned to choose the cute and comfortable outfits for my little humans.” Once she landed on Carter’s, she was hooked. “They had innovative features and cute styles that made dressing my babies so much easier, and they were high quality, which is any mother’s dream.”
In these sweet coordinated outfits, baby “Simi” is as cute as he is comfy.
5. There Is No “Right” Way To Parent
If there’s one thing veteran moms would like to yell from the rooftops at their younger selves, it’s that every child is different, which means that there is no one-size-fits-all method to parenting. Above all, trust what works for you and your baby. “I wasn’t capable of doing so the first time with my type-A personality,” Dana admits. “But try to remember to do what you think is right.”