No amount of advice and pep talk will ever prepare parents for their first child. The addition of an adorable baby in life can make someone feel competent and ready at one moment, but hopeless and clueless the next. Don’t worry for you are not alone. Parenthood didn’t come with a manual and while parenting books do come in handy, experience is still the best teacher. But that doesn’t mean a few tips for first-time parents don’t help, the most it can do is to at least prepare first-time mommies and daddies for what is to come.
To have an idea of what parenthood is like, here are some helpful tips for first-time parents!
Accept the changes
Every once in a while, we hear people say that having children won’t change their life. That it’s just a welcomed addition to the family and things will stay the way they are. However, the hard truth in parenthood is everything changes. Your priorities will shift, your time will be taken, and it’ll take a toll on your physical and mental health.
If you are once a free spirit, jumping around, going to places, attending concerts, partying perhaps, do know that having a baby will crimple you from any of this. You simply can’t bring a newborn just about everywhere. They’ll cry, they need to be fed and change and require your attention every passing minute.
The first year is the most challenging and you’ll find yourself having your world upside down. If you are the primary caretaker, your day and schedule are all over the place and you need to make some sacrifices. You now have a needy and hopeless tiny human in your hand who needs you to feed, comfort, change, hold, and swing him. Babies are high maintenance and if you think having one is easy, you are in for a crazy ride.
The best you can do for situations like this is to accept the changes. Accept that you might need to miss out on that amazing party that your friend is throwing because no one is home to care for your newborn, accept that lounging around the house for the whole day might not be so possible anymore with a baby that needs your attention every second, and accept that priorities need to change.
This is one of the most important tips for first-time parents.
Sleep when the baby sleeps
When a baby is wide awake, they’ll be able to drain your energy within an hour. They are so much work and all eyes and ears must be on them. So when your baby is asleep, get some sleep too! It can be tempting to binge-watch your favorite show or get on to being updated on social media when your baby is off to dreamland, seeing as this could be the only time you’ll be able to do so. But, trust us when we say you’ll regret it.
While your baby rests, you should too. So when they are wide awake a few hours later, you have recharged yourself for another more hour in taking care of them. It’s a struggle to take care of a needy newborn when you are exhausted and running on low sleep, so it is best to preserve and draw in your energy as much as you can.
Allow household noise
When you are too conscious of keeping everything extremely quiet while your baby sleeps, you are conditioning them to wake up at the simplest noise. Allow normal household noise, this includes talking, cooking, and everyday house activities, while your newborn sleeps in a nearby room. This trains them to sleep even in a chaotic and noisy environment. That’s a win for you!
Accept all the help
Babies and younger children demand a lot of work, effort, time, and energy. Generally, there are no “easy” kids to take care of. They are always a handful, whether they are newborns or toddlers. And no one expects you to do all the caring alone, especially with working parents. So, accept all the help you can get. It could be from the grandparents, or aunts and uncles, maybe even close friends. If no one in your immediate family is available and you badly need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to call in a nanny or a babysitter.
You need it and you deserve it. Asking and accepting help from others doesn’t make you any less of a parent.
Do what works best
Breastmilk is proven to be better than formula. But this doesn’t mean you need to beat yourself up for not being able to breastfeed your baby. There are multiple reasons for not being able to do so, such as work or health conditions that cause a low milk supply.
What’s important is your baby is being fed, breastmilk or not. So choose what’s best for your situation. Remember, billions of babies have grown healthily and just fine with formula milk.
It can be easy to compare your baby with others, even if you don’t voice it out. It’s at the back of your mind, especially when their baby can do things yours still can’t. But remember, all babies are different and they develop at different rates.
A baby can walk as early as 9 months while yours won’t until 14 months and that’s okay. What’s important is that they are healthy. The range of “normal” for child development is wide. No one has a definite measurement and criteria for a growing child.
If you have deep concerns, you can always ask your pediatrician.
Photograph everything. And we mean it. Your child might still be crawling now but in a blink of an eye, he’ll be running around the house, completely letting go of your hand as they explore their surroundings. It’s true when they say that children grow up too fast.
So take photos and videos of everything. Even on an extremely normal day. Time flies so fast and you blink once and they are already teenagers, doing things on their own.