Advice for First Time Parents
Advice for New Parents
Plenty of folks offer new parents baby tips. I have written some myself and trust me—you will need them! But here is something different…tips to help you thrive, grow and truly enjoy your journey as a new-parent-to-be.
Some first-time parents get emotional whiplash flipping between feeling like you have got the job nailed…and like an inept first year. But, you know what? You are the newest, shiniest link in an unbroken chain of successful parents that stretches back to the beginning of time! Believe me, things get much stickier later on (fears, unfair friends, teenage traumas, etc.). But for now, you will be a success if you just keep to the basics: love, touch, singing, milk and patience.
Be kind…to yourself.
If you are like many first-time parents, you have barely ever touched a newborn—before you had your own—yet you think you should automatically be a baby care expert. Be as supportive to yourself as you would be to your best mate. That is a sure path to greater satisfaction and happiness, and some of the best advice for new parents.
Get as much sleep as possible (maybe my best advice for new parents).
If parenting is a big balloon of joy, exhaustion is the pin that pops it! Your sleep success can make or break your mood. After 30 years in paediatric practice, I have seen over and over again how sleep deprivation can reduce a mum or dad to tears. It makes you feel alone, incompetent, edgy and causes serious accidents and sickness. The 5 S’s are a simple tool to help with baby sleep…and so is SNOO, the baby cot that aids in baby sleep.
Accept all the help you can get as a new parent.
Never before in history have mums and dads been expected to care for their newborns…all alone. We always had mums, aunts and older sisters living with us to help out. And when both parents work, it becomes even more difficult. So, my advice for new parents? Do not hesitate to ask or pay for help. You need…and deserve it. Lean on your friends and family, look into SNOO, or hire some help. You will get more sleep and enjoy your beautiful growing family more fully.
Be flexible as you get used to being a new parent.
You will naturally find that some parenting philosophies make more sense to you than others. It is great to have ideas and plans, but our children are here to challenge all of our preconceived expectations. Another quote I love is from a man in the 1600’s, ‘Before I had children I had 6 theories on how to raise them. Now I have 6 children and no theories!’ Stay flexible, especially when things do not go as planned. You may be surprised how ‘just rolling with it’ can keep you in a better mood.
Do not lose your sense of humor when you become a first-time parent.
Remember, perfection is found only in the dictionary. So, forget dignity, forget organisation, be gentle with yourself and…laugh, laugh, laugh! Laughter raises your spirits and lowers your stress.
Take care of each other. And do some fun stuff!
Caring for your baby is only half your job; the other is giving your partner some loving care. Step out for dinner or a walk when a family member comes to visit. Find time to cook together, cuddle on the couch and maybe even…wait for it…you know!
[Read More: Sex After Birth]
It has become almost as annoying to be told ‘the time goes so fast’ as it is to hear ‘sleep when the baby sleeps.’ But it is true! If your head is caught in the past or the future, you will miss the miracle that is your baby’s first year of life. Hold her close and feel her heartbeat. Lose yourself in her smile. Be truly present when she says dad or mum for the first time. There are few, if any, happier moments in life. Enjoy and thrive!
Final Words of Advice for New Parents
Those are some of my best tips for new parents that I have been providing for decades. Above all, remember that if you are doing your best as a first-time parent, you are doing a great job. And if you are struggling, do not be afraid to ask for help. Some resources you might consider: If your newborn is not sleeping, check out my Newborn Sleep Tips and Habits. If you are having trouble with your own mental health, do not hesitate to use one of these Mental Health Resources for New Parents.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.