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Being a First Time Parent

Updated on March 21, 2015
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Susan is the last of 8 children, has raised 2 children, and has spent 26 years teaching high school kids. She grew up with a strong mother.


Bringing Baby Home

Many times when first time parents bring their new baby home, they want things to be perfect.

The only thing is making things perfect is never going to work with babies because they are the ones who are changing the parents' lives.

The one mistake parents make is trying to keep the house quiet so the baby can sleep.

No, stop right there!

  • Turn on the TV
  • Listen to music
  • Talk in a normal voice

Don’t change your house to help the baby sleep.

The baby will adapt to the environment and will sleep and be content when he or she hears the normal sounds of the household.

Newborn Checklist
Newborn Checklist | Source

Baby Supplies

Hopefully, you have had baby showers and received many things you need. There are items that people don’t think about. First, start clipping coupons because babies cost a lot of money and every little bit helps. Buy newborn diapers and the next size up – you will be amazed at how fast the baby grows. Go to a big store like Sam’s and buy a box with six to eight packs of baby wipes. Don’t worry about name brands. The baby doesn’t care and there is no difference in many products. If you like name brands, buy a Huggies carton and a Huggies diaper bag wipes box and place your off brand wipes in them. The one thing I do remember is that the Huggies’ carton was sturdier and did keep the moisture in the wipes.

You will also want plenty of bottle nipples even if you are breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, you will want to express your milk and keep it in the refrigerator so your husband can feed and bond with the baby, too. The bottle nipples get sticky when you least expect it. Same goes with pacifiers, if you choose to use them.

Even if you are not using cloth diapers, buy a box for burp clothes to wear on your shoulder. You will also want diaper pads to lay the baby on to change diapers anywhere. When people say you carry everything but the kitchen sink when going anywhere with a baby, they are speaking the truth.

If you did not get a baby swing in your shower, save your money and go buy one. Baby swings are life savers when you need to do something around the house while having the baby in the same room with you.

Take Advantage of Sleep Time
Take Advantage of Sleep Time | Source

Crying Time and Sleeping Time

Warning, your sleep and sanity are going to be tested with a newborn. No, seriously, having a newborn is the most joyous time, but it does take patience, and you will not be sleeping well for a long time.

First, patience… Most babies have a crying time each day on their own little schedule. You cannot do anything to stop the baby from crying. You can’t hold the baby, walk the baby, swing the baby, rub the baby’s back, or rock the baby. Trust me, you will try all of these things. You just have to let the baby cry it out. Sounds awful, and you feel awful when letting your baby cry. You can do your best to sooth the baby and pray it works. If you get frustrated, though, keep your cool. Make sure the baby is safely placed on its back in the crib or place the baby in the swing and pray the swing will soothe the baby. Stay with the baby to make sure there is no choking. Be patient. The crying time will stop.

Daddy-Baby Bonding Time
Daddy-Baby Bonding Time | Source

Sleep time is so peaceful. Many newborns sleep for most of the day and night. Don’t try to wake them up by patting their feet or gently rocking them. Let them sleep, and you should sleep, too. Cherish their sleep time. Also, your husband needs to bond with your baby, too. It is very easy for new moms to want to do everything. You must get help from your baby’s father. He needs to take at least one nightly feeding in the middle of the night because you need your sleep, too. If he balks, don’t worry, he will bond with the baby during these times. It may even become a competition between the two of you - "Which one of us can get to the baby first?" Let him take the baby when he is home, especially when you are trying to recover from child birth.

Hint for sleep time that most doctors will not tell you. If you are breast feeding, make a bottle for the last feeding at night and add a teaspoon of powdered formula to it. It gives your milk more substance and keeps the baby from getting hungry until later in the night. Long ago, doctors recommended the bland rice, no iron or bananas because they will constipate the baby, to be spoon feed to the 3 week old baby for the last feeding (in addition to breast feeding or formula). That advice won’t be given today, but the proof that we adults made it out of our newborn time is proof that we survived our mothers feedings with “formula or rice additives.”

Have a Trusted Babysitter
Have a Trusted Babysitter | Source

Have a Sitter You Can Depend On

Be sure you have a trusted friend or relative who you trust to take care of your baby. You and your husband will need alone time together. About a month after the baby is born, you should leave the baby with a sitter and start a date night tradition. Babies and children are time consuming. You need your time with your husband and sometimes you need time just for yourself. You must take care of yourself physically and mentally, so have a trusted person on hand to help you out when you need it. Most of us are fortunate enough to have people lined up to take care of the baby. If you live away from your friends and loved ones, you might try joining a church or a young mother’s group. Just do not neglect yourself.

Dedication to My Mother

I am the last of eight children and my mother was the first of seven. Much of my advice has been passed down to me from many of the women in my family, mainly my mother. She left this earth January 28, 2010. I miss her terribly, but she left me with a wealth of common sense knowledge to share with you. I hope you find this advice helpful. I used it and it worked. I had great babies, and now they are great people at ages19 and 26.

Thanks, Mother! You were the only person I knew who could get a baby to stop crying, even during crying time.

© 2012 Susan Holland


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