No matter how prepared you think you are, having a baby is a lot of trial and error.
Parenting tips for new parents are everywhere, but what works for some parents and their little one might not work for you. What one book says, another book might contradict. How can you weed through the good, the bad, and the ugly? How can you feed, bathe, change, and nurture your new baby without losing yourself in the hustle and bustle?
Let’s dive into a few basic “new parent advice” tips that will keep you grounded, functional, and efficient.
Your friends and family will joke about how little sleep you’ll be getting as a new parent, but reality doesn’t really set in until you’ve only slept in two hour increments for two weeks straight! Of course, there are those babies who sleep all night from the day they’re born, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm.
Sleep and time alone are two of the hottest commodities for new parents. There are dozens of books on how to get your baby to sleep, so we won’t dive into the pros and cons of the “cry it out” method or the No Cry Sleep Solution. However, here are a few parenting tips for new parents to help get the best sleep possible:
- Establish a night time ritual and stick to it every night
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – who knows when you’ll get another chance!
- If possible, sleep in shifts with your partner taking care of the baby while you sleep
- Use soothing music or sounds to help establish sleeping cues
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a stark reality that some parents have to face, research has found several ways to help prevent it:
- Keep baby on back
- Use an oscillating fan in the room
- Use a firm, tight-fitting crib mattress with no pillows or stuffed animals in the crib
- Use crib bumpers to prevent your baby from getting stuck between the rails
- No smoking during pregnancy and don’t let anyone smoke in your house or near your baby
Tips for New Mothers
Sorry guys, but mothers do a lot of the heavy lifting with a new baby, especially if breastfeeding and staying at home instead of working is involved.
New mums are often faced with mother guilt if they try to do something for themselves when their baby arrives, it is a must however that you look after yourself and your health first, only then can you raise a healthy child and keep a healthy relationship going!
- Don’t give up and don’t be so hard on yourself! – Parenting is hard, scary, and emotional! You might feel like you’re doing something wrong, but trust your motherly instincts. Humans have survived this long, so moms must be doing something right!
- It’s okay to cry! – Sometimes, a good cry is needed to release all of those feelings motherhood brings. But if cry is all you ever want to do, make sure you seek help as you may be going through Post Natal Depression. This can be very scary, so make sure you speak up if you feel down!
- Take time for yourself – Give your partner some one-on-one time with the baby, or have a friend or family member come over during baby’s nap so you can get some alone time, even if it’s just an hour.
The first time you do it, you’ll be a nervous wreck, but just a quick trip to the store alone can seem like a mini vacation
- Get back into a normal routine – Cook, clean, eat (EAT!), bathe, and get dressed
Try to incorporate your baby as much as possible – they’ll love the new experiences and sensations
- Exercise! The best thing you can do for your body and headspace! It gets you moving, gets your ‘happy hormones’ flowing, and in many cases you can also have bub involved.
Tips for New Dads
Dads seem to be often forgotten in the whole new baby scene! No wonder that adjustment can be a little hard, and you may even feel left out of some of the bonding experiences mothers have with their naturally. With the help of modern interventions these days (like the bottle), you can get involved these days!
- So what is it you can do as a new dad to build the bond with baby and keep your relationship flourish?
- Take shifts in looking after the baby. Yes I understand you work all day, but remember to give your partner a break. She needs it! Even if it is taking couple of the feeding sessions off her, or be the one that baths the baby in the evening and puts it to bed. Perfect time for creating your bond with the baby
- Have some alone time with the baby. You could make this your weekend routine! Let mum sleep in while you take baby for a walk. You will all feel the benefits
- Play with your baby. Many dads don’t seem to know how to do this till the baby talks and walks, you missed the boat in building a relationship with them by then
Getting Back to Normal
Eventually, life with your new addition will seem completely normal – as if you’ve always been a parent!
From here on out, your house will only be “functionally clean”, meaning messes happen the second you get done cleaning. It’s probably going to be a long time before your home is as organized as you’d like! Sometimes, you’ll miss going out on the weekends and partying until the early hours of morning, but these precious moments with just you and your baby won’t last forever. Turning down invitations to stay in with your family will actually sound better than going out!
Taking your baby out into public can be scary, but babies need stimulation and socialization, and new experiences are great for helping them develop. Besides, people love to see babies and new parents, so revel in being a minor celebrity at the grocery store!
Cheers to you and your new addition!