How To Bring Baby Home With Less Stress and More Joy

New moms dream about the moment when they can finally hold their newborns in the soft morning light of their Pinterest-worthy nurseries. Behind the scenes, however, every seasoned mom knows these tender memories are equally balanced with navigating a daily reality that’s full of change, especially within the first few weeks of bringing a baby home. To help you make the most of this joyful transition and get into your new groove, we asked real moms to share their best parenting tips for new moms.

Give Yourself A Break

Décor and design pro Sandra Rojas-Chinni has three boys and her mom life has included coming home from the NICU. As a result, she prioritizes herself and her family as soon as she gets home.

Carve out quiet time. “If possible, keep your schedule clear for the first two weeks and take time to get to know your baby and establish a routine. I know friends and family are eager to meet the baby but don’t be afraid to say no if you aren’t up to it.”

Take the stress out of feeding. “I personally had trouble with my milk supply so don’t feel bad if you have to use the bottle. The most important thing is to feed the baby no matter what. In our case, my three kids were fed a combination of breast milk and formula.  ”

Spoil yourself. “Invest in luxurious pajamas and a robe. You pretty much live in your PJs for the first few weeks, so it helps to feel good in them. And give yourself a boost for the night ahead. For me that meant taking a long, hot shower or taking the baby for a walk before bed.”

Little Hacks With Big Impact

Art director Joanna Kam, whose one and only wee one is two months old, says her parenting tips for new moms is all about capturing stolen moments and making the most of time savers.

Make dinner in the morning. “That’s when we have the most energy to cook something simple; we don’t cook elaborate meals anymore. Right after breakfast we’ll make something that’s fresh and healthy—like rice, chicken and some vegetables—to eat for the rest of the day.”

Ditch the onesies. “Those buttons drive me crazy. It’s so much easier and faster to change him while he’s wearing two-piece pajamas.”

Stay in touch. “Every time our parents come over to help, my husband and I will watch TV in our bedroom. This little escape helps us connect and feel normal again. When I’m feeding in the middle of the night, I’ll text other new moms who I know are awake so we can catch up. And when I’m taking the baby for a walk, I love listening to podcasts that feed my mind and give me a break from baby mode.”

Keep Your Eye on the Prize—You!

Author and maternal advocate, Allison McDonald Ace, who’s busy with a little one and pregnant with baby number two, says take it easy on yourself.

Accept the help. “Don’t have too much pride and insist on doing it all, or doing everything you did before baby. If ever there was a time to let others pitch in, this is it—all you need to think about is you and your baby.”

Sleep.“It’s the single most important thing you can do for yourself. In the beginning, your baby will still be tired from delivery and sleep more than they will in the coming weeks. I can’t stress this enough: Take advantage of this downtime. Sleep as much as you can, whenever you can, and forget the laundry.”

Go with the flow. “Even if this isn’t your first baby, this is the first time you’re meeting this baby. Be patient while you get to know each other during those first few precious days at home. Give each other the time to learn the ins and outs of who you are. Just when it seems like you’ll never figure it out, something will click and your mama instincts will kick in.”

We’re looking for your advice too! Feel free to share your real-life expertise to our community of new moms.

What’s the one thing you did to prepare for baby that made life so much easier during those first few days home?

In hindsight, what’s something that you wish you did or put into place?

What’s the best tip you received from your own mom about bringing baby home?