Perfect gift for new moms: The Rookie Mom’s Handbook

Heather and Whitney (aka the Rookie Moms) are true blog friends. I think these are two of the warmest, smartest women around. We’ve bonded over the business of blogging and parenting and life. They’ve sent in bunches of great hacks. We’ve had lunch together and we couldn’t stop interrupting each other because there was so much to say. Plus we lived in the same town (regrettably we didn’t know this till after I moved away). So I’m biased when it comes to reviewing their new book, The Rookie Mom’s Handbook.

Does this mean I can’t still write an objective review? Well, no, but does it really matter?

The fact is, this is the perfect book for new mom who’s just starting to regain her senses; the one who is ready to brave the suddenly bright/noisy/crowded world with her newborn tucked into the front-carrier. The mom who (like all of us) wonders why The Universe chose her to care for something so precious and fragile. The mom who asks herself, "Does anyone else feel this clueless?"

The Rookie Mom’s Handbook reassures new moms that, yes, we felt this clueless, but no, that doesn’t mean you must stay locked inside your house with your baby. With simple activities and insights, the book gently encourages moms to get out there, physically and mentally. It’s doable. This is a tiny book (about 6 inches square), and some of the tips are two to a page. This is something one can read while nursing, or while one has 45 seconds free while the baby naps, or whatever.

If you’ve got a baby shower or a certain Mother-themed holiday to shop for, this may be a good pick.

Win it! I’ve got a copy of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook for you! Just answer the following question in the comments — tomorrow at 5pm I’ll choose a random commenter as the winner. Good luck!

What’s your favorite "rookie mom" activity? That is, what did you enjoy doing when your first child was a newborn?

[Updated based on an observation from Meagan: how can pregnant moms answer this? If you’re pregnant or if you’re still in the thick of newborn brain haze, just leave any old comment!]

Man, I can’t even believe my son was ever a newborn. He’s approaching my height, and he’s only in 2nd grade. (I’m short.) But my favorite thing to do was to stuff him into the Baby Bjorn and walk around my neighborhood (which, at the time, was mere blocks from Heather and Whitney’s neighborhood!). I saw my town with totally new eyes once I walked it with my babe-in-arms.

And you?

Related: Mother’s Day gift ideas from the Parent Hacks Store


  1. smanley says

    I’m sure this is on everyone’s list, but really just about the only thing I did at first was to stare at my baby while she slept.

  2. says

    My favorite activity when my oldest was a newborn? I just couldn’t stop looking at her. I have two kids now, and I still feel like a rookie most days :)

  3. says

    My favorite first outing was to the mall. I’d pack her into her carseat, lock it into the stroller, and arrange the canopies so no one would get germs on her. She’d usually fall asleep while we walked, and I’d feel like I was a normal person again for a little while. When she woke up and needed a “refreshment break” (clean diaper and nursing), we’d duck into a department store changing room. It was quiet and private, and I could do both in one spot.

    Also, I’d usually come home with some really cute baby clothes!

  4. Amie says

    My favorite was watching my husband hold my son and start to interact with him. The man was playing peek-a-boo when the baby was two weeks old.

  5. says

    Great site! When my first was born Lowe’s had the great Mom-and-baby movie program and we went every Tuesday that I was on leave. Sadly they discontinued it but I really see no reason you couldn’t take a baby to see a nice matinee. Of course, both my kids were happy to nurse and/or sleep through the movies. I’d stay away from action/adventure flicks that will likely be very loud. But it was great for me as one of the things I really missed (still do) was seeing first-run movies in the theater, popcorn and Raisinets in hand.

  6. says

    I am due in about 3.5 weeks (first baby)… so I don’t even know what I will do! I like to think I will breeze home from the hospital with my super-mom cape in place and all will be right, however my realist side just hopes I can stop crying (from joy) long enough to take a decent picture with my little one!

  7. says

    Well that seems a bit silly to me… aren’t the people who would most benafit from this book either pregnant, and therefore not yet able to answer, or just starting, and therefore totally overwhelmed, and probably still not able to answer?
    Just saying. Book sounds cool though.

  8. julianne says

    Walks around the ‘hood here too, with babe in the mei tai or stretchy wrap. (We had a bjorn too, but that thing killed my back.)

  9. Annette says

    Our first outing with DS when he was a new little bundle was to Costco. I remember wandering around the big, bright warehouse bleary eyed, disheveled and beaming like a total idiot!

  10. Tanya Moyer says

    What a great book! My sis-in-law is pregnant with her first and this would be great!

    I remember when my oldest (10) was an infant – we had just moved to a new state. I was lucky and found a mom’s group at our church that had about 6 moms and all of our kids were within a few months of each other! It was my saving grace to meet with them once a week and share/chat/cry/laugh/commiserate with each other! It’s a good idea to for a first time mom!

  11. says

    Even though I would have gladly traded it for sleep at any given moment, there was something nice about that zen state you get in once you’re past the initial mud-brainness of waking up at 4am after only three hours of sleep. I kind of miss that time-has-no-meaning-anymore period of nursing the baby and watching movies and Seinfeld reruns.

  12. Sara says

    I loved to walk to the park/playground with my daughter in her Moby wrap. Looking at the other families reminded me that many other moms and babies survived, and so would we!

  13. mircat says

    i have a 4 month old and still need new tricks! but in the early days, when i was still getting used to nursing/diapering out of the house, i liked to meet another mom friend in the Nordstrom’s women’s room to nurse, chat and pop the babies into slings for a long mall-walk. great for a winter baby!

  14. says

    The surprising part about having a newborn, was that we could easily include her (now 8 months) in most the activities my husband and I already enjoyed. When she was wee-little, we loved taking her to coffee shops and playing games such as boggle, like we did before she was born. She slept right through it all. It’s just a lot more fun to have a cutie pie tagging along!

    Thanks for the opportunity. The book sounds like a huge help!

  15. Raven says

    This would be great for my sister in-law that’s expecting her first :)

    My favorite thing to do was take my new baby out for walks around our neighborhood. I also loved to just hold her while she slept and nuzzle her soft little head.

  16. Julie says

    While my son was sleeping and I should have been, too, I watched every episode of “Bringing Home Baby” and “A Baby Story” on TLC. No longer were those shows entertaining and somewhat fascinating/intriguing, but I could RELATE! I built a strange, new bond with all those strangers through my own wide-eyed sense of accomplishment.

  17. Page says

    My favorite things were walking her around the neighborhood in the stroller and singing/rocking her to sleep.

  18. says

    My favorite thing that I did with my first newborn was nursing in bed in the morning while daddy got ready for work, and then snuggling in together and catching a little bit more sleep. Now that I am on number 4, there is no sleeping in for me. I am always up and going with the others. I miss the slower pace of just one!!

  19. Lisa J. says

    Dressing my little guy up in all of the cute clothes I had collected and imagined putting on a tiny body.

  20. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Meagan: you have a point. I’ve updated the rules for entering.

  21. Amy says

    I thought lots of others would have said this, but my favorite thing to do with my newborn was go to the library, mostly to find new baby books to help me through that time. It helped me to be able to do something that I was used to and felt normal, even when everything had changed! Thanks!

  22. Jules says

    I have a 3 1/2 month old. I love just holding him and playing with him. He’s so expressive and so much fun. And then its naptime or bedtime and he just snuggles up to me as he gets ready for sleep. What an amazing feeling!

  23. says

    being a pregnant mom, not sure how to answer this. But, right now I am constantly watching my tummy, so I wonder if we will constantly watch the baby the same way…

  24. Rhonda says

    I had twin boys (now 9) my first time around and I remember how utterly overwhelmed I would get. But every Tuesday at 10am I would bundle up my boys and head to the “Mommy and Me” class at the hospital and I would sit down and take a huge, relaxing, breath that took the weight off my shoulders because I was with a bunch of great ladies who understood what I was going through. It wasn’t that anyone else had twins or triplets or anything. We were all just first-time moms with an hour and a half to stop paddling frantically and just go with the current. I really miss that boat…

  25. says

    my favorite thing that I did with my first child (now six years old) that I didn’t get to do much (or ever) with the other two babies was bring him to bed around 6am, nurse him to sleep in my bed, and then we’d both sleep until 9:30am. It was wonderful. I miss sleeping in.

    Of course, I’d fall asleep with my boob still hanging out of my nursing bra, but he didn’t care. :)

  26. Leah says

    My favourite thing to do with my 4-month old is to read to him. We go to the library every week to get new books so he (by that I mean me) doesn’t get bored. It’s a lot cheaper than buying tons of books too!

  27. Sunisa C. says

    I’m expecting and due in August. I would love to have a copy. I hope my husband is reading this (hint, hint)

  28. Brenda says

    My favorite thing with my first was carrying her around in our Maya Wrap sling. It was winter time and it felt great to keep her so close and warm.

  29. Kara Cassen says

    My baby is 3 1/2 months old. He just started giggling and I love hearing him laugh! It’s fun when I can make him giggle, but I love it even more when I can hear my husband make him laugh and laugh in the other room.

  30. says

    My baby boy was “due” yesterday, but it wasn’t until last night that I started to (physically) feel that his arrival is imminent! My pregnancy has already been a positive, life-changing experience for both me and my husband, and we’re especially looking forward to the first few weeks when it’s just the three of us (four, if you count the cat). I imagine we’ll be overwhelmed with awe…

  31. Stacy says

    I’d like to enter this giveaway for my friend who gave birth a week ago, to a preemie who is still in the NICU. She’s in a foreign country, and this is her first child, so I imagine she’ll need all the tips she can get!

  32. Abby says

    I think rachel who posted just before me should have this book! I just love the “looking forward to the first few weeks” comment. I can’t even remember the first few weeks, except that I was in bed a lot recovering from Csection and trying to go a full hour without bursting into tears!!
    My favorite thing, though? Taking her outside so she could stare at the leaves on the trees blowing in the wind. She loved it.

  33. Laurie says

    MY favorite activity when my daughter was a newborn was sleep, hands down. Any time, any chance– even if it was just for 3 minutes between nursing, diaper changes, laundry, etc. Although I love my daughter and was in total awe of having a baby, I think the best advice for a rookie mom is to remind her to take time for herself for rest and rejuvenation, even if only in little spurts. Other than that, I loved walking with my daughter in the baby carrier through the woods near our house. Being in nature, in a forest by a lake with my perfect little daughter just seemed so pure and so real… and those moments are the ones I really cherish.

  34. erika says

    I used to love to nurse on the couch, then drift off with the baby asleep on top of me (belly-to-belly). Long walks in the stroller were also a favorite activity, as they helped to clear my head, speed my physical recovery, and make me feel like a “human” again :)

  35. says

    I used to love it when my daughter would fall asleep on my chest. Just the sound and feel of her breathing was such a comfort and made me feel like I was doing something right for her to be so peaceful.

  36. Dana says

    My favorite thing to do with DD was to take her for walks around the neighborhood in the Baby Bjorn. I made sure to keep her covered up with long sleeves, hat and her infant sunglasses. The best was when she would actually fall asleep this way and just give me some time to just reflect on the love I had for her.

  37. says

    My favourite was simply going for walks every day. No matter what the weather, it got me out of the house, it helped walk off that weight gain, and she usually fell asleep at some point, so I’d scoot to my coffee shop, sit and READ for one glorious half-hour before she awoke. She became a favourite with the regulars, and was able to indulge in hr favourite game – staring at people until they noticed her, then grinning until they started to gush. I’m planning to do this again with the one on the way, too.

  38. Gail Luther says

    When my twin boys were newborns (they’re almost 6 now), I would pack them and the double stroller up and go walking in our mall. I would stop at the food court and get a coffee and beignet while they napped. It seemed like it took all day to accomplish this one thing.

    If I win the book, I’m going to donate it to our local twin mom club’s library.

  39. Gail Luther says

    When my twin boys were newborns (they’re almost 6 now), I would pack them and the double stroller up and go walking in our mall. I would stop at the food court and get a coffee and beignet while they napped. It seemed like it took all day to accomplish this one thing.

    If I win the book, I’m going to donate it to our local twin mom club’s library.

  40. Gail Luther says

    When my twin boys were newborns (they’re almost 6 now), I would pack them and the double stroller up and go walking in our mall. I would stop at the food court and get a coffee and beignet while they napped. It seemed like it took all day to accomplish this one thing.

    If I win the book, I’m going to donate it to our local twin mom club’s library.

  41. Christina says

    I loved nursing my son. I loved it when we would both fall asleep together–him so pooped out from being awake for half an hour, me so pooped out from trying to be Super Mommy.

  42. Karen says

    I, too, am pregnant with my first – still have several months to go. But what I am looking forward to is sharing experiences with a new person – what will they see, hear, and feel as we go about the day.


  43. says

    My favorite thing to do was to dress her up in all those adoable outfits she had. Since she was constantly spitting up, I had plenty of opportunity!

  44. Dan says

    Just laying them on the ground and looking at them from above or laying next them to them and having them reach out and touch your face.

  45. Marla says

    I used to take my finger and hold it up to his forearm, so I would remember the days when he was that small. He’s almost six now, his forearm is almost as big as mine ;-)

  46. says

    My favorite would have to be…

    Thinking I’d have time to do all those things around the house I needed to…and finding myself spending that time staring at my little guy playing contentedly on his play mat. *chuckles* I still find myself watching my two toddlers play when I should be folding laundry!

  47. Ticia says

    I had twins first, and I loved going out with them in the monster of a stroller I had and letting everyone ooh and aaahhh over baby twins. Of course that didn’t happen until they were 6 weeks old. Before that, I think I slept and sometimes remembered to shower.

  48. Jen says

    When my 2yr old was a newborn, she would only do an afternoon nap belly-to-belly. So, after a good bottle, we’d crash on the couch, turn on “What not to Wear” and snooze the afternoon away. As the time got closer for me to return to work, I took her with me to the mall for new “post bebe” clothes…armed with our rules! Now, she still loves to be snuggled to sleep with me…and go to the mall!

  49. caroline says

    my favorite activity was going to my local hospital for mommy and me classes. it was a safe environment where the babies were #1 priority and it gave me a good reason to brush my hair once a week and actually leave the house. from there, i built the confidence to go out more with the baby.

  50. says

    When my first was born, I think all I could do was sit around and stare at him. I was so amazed at that tiny thing that I had made. Now that I just gave birth to my second I find myself doing the exact same thing with her.

  51. Alli says

    :::stumbling from the haze:::
    My 8-week old and I like to go for walks on the bike path…Daylight is good, especially when it’s been nearly two months since I’ve gotten much fresh air! This book sounds fantastic for the likes of me!!

  52. Ethel says

    When my girls were born, we had little money and the weather wasn’t always good. I needed to get out of the house, so I took advantage of the malls and went mall-walking nearly every day that my husband worked. I packed a lunch and didn’t spend a cent.

    Plus the girls got the stimulation that they were craving, but which I was too tired to provide.

  53. Rossana says

    My favorite thing to do was to pop her in her stroller and take 2-3 hour walks every morning. I really lost that baby fat fast!

  54. Mary M says

    Taking a hot bath and shaving my legs. This was really tough to do in my last trimester!

  55. says

    I used to check to make sure they were breathing. Often!

    My favorite activity was going to the zoo with my first baby but now that I have a 4 year old’s nap schedule and 9 month old’s nap/feeding schedule to deal with, it’s not quite as easy, logistically…

  56. Joyce says

    I loved going to meetings – Lions CLub, Church Council, etc. Everyone loved him, and I could pretend for a little while that things really hadn’t changed that much. I could still do my adult things and I could carry my baby in a sling and nurse him and love him all at the same time. He’s 8 months today and he’s still the most popular person at meetings.

  57. says

    my tastes have changed so between my oldest and my now-baby, monroe! when everett was a newborn, we liked to go to the zoo or (yikes!) to costco. now, my favorite thing is to go to the farmer’s market with our family bike. monroe looooves farmer’s market goodies. especially asparagus and rapini. yum!

  58. Adam says

    My wife is recently pregnant with our first. I’m sure this book would be a welcome addition to our ever-growing reading list. Tossing my hat in the ring. :)

    I guess if I have to pick something for my soon to be rookie mom-wife to have as her activity, it will be something involving letting dad take care of the little one while she indulges herself in something quiet and peaceful like a hot bath.