Adding a baby to your family is a game-changer. Even if you read all the baby books on the market, listen to every podcast, and ask your family and friends for their best advice for new parents, you still won’t get the A-Z baby guide that you’re hoping for. The truth is that there is no single roadmap to parenting – there will be forks in the road, and you might miss a few turns. But with perseverance (and these parenting tips), you’ll still reach your destination as successful parents.
Advice for New Parents: Tip #1
Both parents can be involved in breastfeeding.
When you think of breastfeeding, you typically think about the relationship between mom and baby. But both parents can play a role and share some of the responsibilities of breastfeeding. Your partner can help you find the most comfortable feeding positions, take care of post-feeding activities like burping, changing, and snuggling, and if you decide to pump your breast milk, your partner can relieve you of overnight feeding duty. Making sure you’re both involved in all aspects of your baby’s care can help each of you develop a special bond with your little one.
Advice for New Parents: Tip #2
Establish a routine – but be flexible.
If you or your partner are used to having everything organized, and your schedules perfectly lined up for the day and week ahead, you may be in for a rude awakening. While establishing a routine for your baby is essential to help support emotional security and stability, babies don’t always stick to a strict schedule. In the first few months, let your baby take the lead and follow their cues. Look for hunger and fullness signs, note when your baby starts to appear tired or is more alert, and then respond accordingly. Find things you can do each time you feed or put your baby to bed to help teach them what is happening. For example, play the same music before bedtime to signal that it’s time to wind down. These routines can help your baby get on a schedule of their own, and as they grow, you can adapt the schedule to what might work best for you as a family.
Advice For New Parents: Tip #3
Make the time to connect with each other and those around you.
Too often, the last thing that two tired parents want to do is go out and socialize. Yet, adult time can help offset the emotional rollercoaster of parenting. Practicing self-care isn’t selfish, and it’s not something you should regularly put on the back burner. Prioritizing time for yourself to pursue your passions, renew your energy, and strengthen your friendships and relationship can help you be the best version of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you’re better equipped to care for your family.
Advice for New Parents: Tip #4
Remember your health is important too.
When you have a baby, you immediately begin scheduling pediatrician visits and keeping up on routine immunizations and well-care visits. While these are very important for your baby, don’t let your health suffer. Eating a balanced diet, participating in regular physical activity, and scheduling routine healthcare visits can help make sure your physical and mental health remain a priority. Kids model what their parents do. As your little one grows up, they will only benefit from watching you and your partner living your best and healthiest life.
Advice for New Parents: Tip #5
Tomorrow is always a new day.
This last one may seem silly or obvious, but even the best parent has an off day. Lack of sleep, a disagreement with your partner, or difficulties adjusting back to work after having a baby can all make for days that do not seem to go your way. You may have less patience for your partner or your baby. That is okay. Everyone has days when they don’t feel their best. The key is to take the time to recognize and acknowledge these feelings and find healthy ways to cope with them. This can include asking for help so you can rest, taking time for meditation or prayer, engaging in a favorite hobby, calling a friend, or taking a walk outside. Each day is a chance to reset and learn from the day before. As your baby grows and you prepare for the challenges of toddlerhood, you will benefit from remembering to take one day at a time – and to take time to enjoy every minute you can.
No matter how much advice you receive as a new parent, you’ll still come across unexpected challenges. But remember, you both want the best for your baby. Approach each bump in the road together and you’ll be just fine. One final piece of advice – take the scenic route. You’ll want to enjoy every minute.