First time parent survival tips (from a father of 7)
What to expect: after you expected
So.. you're going to be a parent.. CONGRATULATIONS! now, its time to prepare, and I'm not talking about painting your perfect nursery with the matching everything. Trust me.... the newborn DOESN'T care! Here's an intro of what to expect, after you've expected:
- Sleepless nights- i mean.. no sleep, at all, in anyway whatsoever
- Bodily fluids- Yes... children pee and poop...and puke.... prepare now... and deal with it.
- The feeling that your child is as fragile as a piece of glass (I will cover this in the next section) ... They aren't and quite the contrary.....The BOUNCE (within reason, obviously)
- Suuuuper capable of getting sick.... Not really......
- Toys are what the kid thinks they are (brand new noise makers are no better than a set of keys)
- Creative ways to hide things (batteries, cocoa powder, toilet paper, etc...)
- Take care of yourself. Occasionally you will need help. That is ok, its natural. Do not let things get too far gone before asking.
1. Sleepless Nights
Yes, you will have sleepless nights. Prepare now. Do Yoga, drink coffee, meditate....Something
Even if you have the perfect baby that sleeps through the night right away, you will still end up with sleepless nights as you will feel that something is wrong, they slept tooo much, to little, not the right amount. Are they too normal, not normal enough, shouldn't they cry more?
While all of these are natural, take a deep breath. Your child is fine. and....... The more you check on them, the more paranoid you become. Here's a freebie hint..... don't rock your baby to sleep every night.... You'll thank me.
Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..Crying is ok..
Ok, now that I've said that enough.. your kiddo will cry, it will happen. This does not mean that they are dying, or that they are even hungry. Sometimes they just cry. It is your job to determine what each type of cry means. Sorry... no cheat book for that one, each child is different. However, if your baby is fed, clean, and not hurt, and doesn't have colic, crying for short periods of time is ok. Its ok. OK? ok... good
2. Bodily Fluids
This one is pretty short... Kids pee.....and poop......and puke.... they just do.
Generally if it is possible to do any or all of the above on you... they will find a way. If you have a problem with any of the above, start working on it now, no one is coming to save you, and there is no magical fix to get your kid to never puke, so tough it up.
3. Breakable Children (MYTH!)(mostly)
As a first time parent you will ultimately think your kid will break their leg standing up for the first time, crack their head while crawling, or somehow injure themselves while playing with a stuffed animal..... This is natural.. it is also a load of crap (see above picture. haha )
Here's a hint that no one wants to tell you (except maybe that old lady in the store)
Kids bounce, and roll.... and get up and do it again. They are VERY VERY HARD to break
I am not saying leaving your kid unsupervised, quite the contrary, but generally, if they fall and 'bonk' their heads, they wont cry because it doesn't hurt, unless you give a big 'ooohhhhh my poooooor babyyyyy'
Calm down, see how they react, and go from their, here's a guide...
- Is it broke?
- Are they bleeding?
- They're fine
4. Babies get sick from EVERYTHING (also a myth)
Note, I am NOT telling you to carry your baby through the infectious disease ward in the local hospital but a couple survival tips:
- Dirt will not kill them (we lived through it, enough said)
- Kids should play outside (grass, bugs, sand, HELPS BUILD IMMUNE SYSTEMS) There have been numerous studies that prove that children who play outside, who don't over use hand sanitize, among many other examples, are healthier, and happier than the 'bubble baby'
- A runny nose is no reason for an ER visit, it actually does more harm than good by exposing your baby to actual sick people.
- Babies will get runny noses, coughs, and 'feel' warm. If their fever isn't high enough to be considered a fever by doctor recommendations, then its not a fever.
5. Toys are what the kid thinks they are
Here's a secret for new parents that aren't super rich, that's means almost all of us... so pay attention.
You're baby does not need every noise making, new fangled, as-seen-on-tv advertised baby toy out there. Been there, done that, doesn't matter.
You will come to find that babies are just as likely to have as much fun, if not more, with a ring of shiny, noisy keys, and an empty cardboard box, than they are with all that money can buy.
Pssssttt.... It helps build imagination, a vital skill for development. Pots and pans work great as well for a drum set :)
If your baby holds a toy upside down, don't correct them, this isn't teaching how to use a spoon time, its playtime, improvise.
6. Creative ways to hide things
You baby, and especially your toddler, will get into everything... everything...EVERYTHING...
Think first. Baby 'proofing' is laughable most of the time, as it only proves a fun challenge to figure out how mommy and daddy used that funny knob to shut the food door.
Here's a couple suggestions:
- Never stand on a chair in front of your kid, you'll never recover, and their reach will grow exponentially.
- Toilet paper goes IN the medicine cabinet.... Trust me
- The medicine cabinet never gets opened in front of the baby.
- Tie your fridge shut high enough they can't reach it.
- NO JUNK DRAWERS!!!! they turn into 'oohhhhh toys..... drawer'
- Batteries are never taken out or put into a toy in front of the baby... Once again.. trust me
- Get creative, I've put things in boxes that look like books, on the top shelf of the bookshelf and still had kids get into it.
Good Luck and Have Fun
Oh... and BTW... it gets easier after 3 kids. They play together, and the older kids distract the younger ones, and by then you have they routine down :)
Remember, even though I've said this a couple times so far, take care of yourself as well as the baby. Even 'grow'd ups' need breaks and help some time. Don't feel bad to ask for assistance, from friends, relatives, or even hospitals have programs that can aide in the transition from no baby to Parent.
One Last little bit
Here's something that new parents learn the hard way.... Your kid is your kid... And no one will care about them more than you. So your friends and neighbors, etc... will be polite and play and googlyeye over your baby. Do NOT assume that everyone and their brother wants an update every 30 seconds. The biggest 1st baby blunder I see is the over sharing of your baby on social media. Take a million pictures, thats fine. You need your memories. These are not everyone's memories. If you are going to upload to your Facebook then do so in sporadic large groups into an album, vs tagging the WORLD every day. Your friends will thank you