What are your top five tips for parents expecting their first child for when the child is born?
As someone with a 19wk baby, I'm sharing some I received, some I've figured out, and some I'd wished someone told me! These are in those first few months afterwards
1 - You do not have to be super parents - if the house is untidy, but the baby is fed, changed and happy - so what? Any guest coming unannounced (or announced for that matter) knows you have a small baby, they won't mind.
2 - Babies cry for various reasons. If you've checked everything - too hot, too cold, wet diaper, hungry, in pain...and they are still wailing - it is ok to put them down some where safe, and walk away for a few minutes to get some space and get your head back in the game
3 - You know your child best - if they are sick, and you feel like the Dr is missing something - get them checked again. Doc's are human too.
4 - Breastfeeding ISN'T easy for everyone - for some people it's hard, it does hurt, and it doesn't work out like you wanted it to. Ignore what other people think and do what is right for your baby and you - formula these days is very good. Expressing is good also - but can do your head in if exclusively expressing (like I was). Don't judge others if you find it easy, but don't feel stink on yourself if you struggle or choose to switch.
5 - "Behind every great child is a mother/parent who is thinking they've screwed it all up."
Thanks a lot jlpark, these are great tips. We are 4 months off due date and are everything is starting to weigh on our minds.
I can understand that! I'm sure it was on ours as well when we were at that mark. You'll be great!
The most important piece of advice I have is to just go with the flow and don't get stuck in how you thought things would be before you had your baby. While I was pregnant I thought co sleeping was a death sentence, I planned on formula feeding after a few weeks, I bought a big supply of soothers.... She ended up sleeping in our bed for 10 months, I am still breastfeeding her at nearly 2.5 years, and she did not once use a soother. None of those were what I would have chosen, but her temperament required them. I tried to 'fight' it for a few weeks and it was SO stressful. The moment I just listened to what my baby wanted/needed, things got a billion times easier.
Other bits of advice:
-You can't spoil a newborn. Don't worry about creating bad habits, just do what you have to do to get some sleep and keep things calm.
-Breastfeeding is all-consuming in the first few weeks. It's normal for your baby to feed all. the. time. I don't know where that "every 3 hours" thing comes from, but that's gotta be a best case scenario.
-Don't be afraid to ask for help. I called my mom in tears when my daughter was 2 weeks old and she came out and helped me for a week. It gave me a second wind.
-Enjoy the baby cuddles! So many people freak out when their baby won't let them put him/her down. If you don't have other kids to run after or a job to show up to, then just sit. Hold your baby. Relax. The dishes can wait. You can order dinner. I held my daughter pretty much 24/7 for the first six months of her life and I don't regret it for a minute. She's a toddler now and much too busy for cuddles. Those "clingy" baby days feel like they were a lifetime ago.
Provide lots of resourses for learning. Everyday should be a learning event.
If you love them with all your heart, you will do what is right for them, it will just come natually.
Potty training is all about their bodies being ready and able. It will come in time, no stress, no comparing them to others. Let it be they will train themselves.
Offer them a huge variety of food, even if you do not eat it. Re-introduce them often, their taste buds are changing constantly.
Let them be who they are, not who you want them to be. Bring your child up to be happy in their own skin.
A baby monitor for peace of mind, expect it to maybe be tough in the beginning, expect sleepless nights, if you lose your patience it will be due to tiredness, so use that as a bench mark as to whether you need more sleep. :-)
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