Tips for a First-Time Parent (From The Family Room Blog Team)
Our good friend, Jessie – a member of the Family Room Blog team – is expecting her first child! As she’s been sharing her pregnancy experiences, concerns, and questions as a first time mom with all of us, the rest of our blog team has been collecting tips, advice and thoughts to share with her before she embarks on this exciting new chapter. We hope these tidbits of parenting wisdom will be helpful for Jessie and all our of readers.
Tips for a First-Time Parent
From Amy, Nourish Mom:
- Trust your gut and don’t give too much importance to what everyone else is doing and arguing about online. Your baby will thrive whether she wears disposable diapers or cloth, whether she has baby cereal as her first food or avocados, whether you co-sleep or she’s in her own crib. Get advice or help but believe in yourself to know what’s best for your baby and family.
- Watch – I mean really watch and internalize – the message in this Reflections of Motherhood video.
- Cherish every single day no matter how crappy it feels at the time because it goes by in a flash.
- And when you’re having a particularly low day, buy yourself a cute pair of shoes and plan a date with your best friend.
From Media Mom:
- Listen to all the advice people give you and store it in the back of your brain. Some of it my seem absurd and much of it will conflict with each other. You won’t need it all, but you never know what advice you’ll need and what will work for you and your baby until you’re faced with situation that seems overwhelming, and then you’ll be glad to know that at least one person out there had a solution that worked for them.
- In addition to your diaper bag, always carry 2-3 diapers and some wipes in a Ziploc bag in your purse.
- Don’t tip toe around the house when your newborn is sleeping. Try to get them used to sleeping with the normal sounds of an active household. It will pay huge dividends in the future to not have a light sleeper.
From Kris-Ann, Progressive Mom:
- You’ll miss quiet down time much more than going out to dinner or out with friends. Those boring Saturday afternoons before kids sound like a dream come true to me now. Appreciate them while you can.
- Don’t start a habit with your baby that you don’t want to have to break when she is a toddler or preschooler. It might seem easier now, but won’t in a few years.
- Dogs LOVE baby spit up. Mine used to follow us around and lick up the spit up from the floor. Just go with it…it’ll save you a lot of clean up.
From Kate, Rookie Mom:
- Enjoy the last few days of your pregnancy. Go to a movie. Go get a mani/pedi. Make a shopping/lunch date with your girlfriends. Go out to dinner with your husband. Your time will never (or at least not for many years) be your own in the way it is right now and I mean that in the best possible way. I was so nervous at the end that I forgot to enjoy my last pre-mom moments.
- Perfect the nod and smile. People love giving advice (some are more pushy or assertive than others) and the vast majority of it will be completely irrelevant to you and your baby. BUT, know that giving parenting advice is a kind of therapy that every parent (myself included) needs to indulge in once in a while.
- In the beginning, don’t turn down help. I was all about bonding as a family (myself, my husband and the baby) but I didn’t anticipate how terrible I’d feel after delivery and how much little offers of help like folding a load of laundry or watching the baby while I showered would make such a huge difference in keeping my fragile emotions in balance.
- I hope I haven’t terrified you. You shouldn’t be scared, I promise. Having a baby is huge but it’s awesome huge. There will be moments where you don’t know what to do and you’re so tired and overwhelmed you can’t help but cry. But for every one of those moments, there will be an infinite number more where she’ll makes you smile, laugh and just love her so much you could cry. It’s hard but I promise, it’s worth it.
From Mary, Organized Mom:
- Always remember “this too shall pass.” The middle of the night waking, the food throwing on the floor and sadly the way that baby fits perfectly in your arms, so cherish it.
- No child is perfect. Neither is any parent. Do the best you can do and forgive yourself. You’ll know when you need to remember this.
- Avoid making a special meal for your child. Feed your baby and toddler and so on whatever you are eating. Even if they only eat one portion of the meal.
From Heather, Commuter Mom:
- Go outside. Don’t be afraid of hot or cold weather…fresh air can often stop fussiness.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. Even if you aren’t tired, lay down. You never know what the night will bring.
- Write things down. I kept a wall calendar in a basket (along with a good book) next the rocking chair in the nursery. When I was nursing, or holding my daughter and rocking I could jot down what had happened that day (met Aunt Lauren, got first shots, smiled…). At the end of the year, when I found time, it was much easier to fill in the baby book.
- Everyone tells you to put dinners in your freezer. Make sure you include some breakfast foods, too. It’s really hard to put together a healthy meal (which you will need) in the morning when you have been up every two hours the night before.
- No question is silly. I think I called the nurse at our pediatrician’s office once a week for the first three months.
- Nobody will tell you this, but the first six weeks are really hard. But, I promise, it really does get easier.
And in closing, I’ll add one more tip from myself, Caty, Blog Editor:
- Lean on your family, friends…and fellow bloggers. We will all be here to support you and cannot wait to meet the newest addition to your amazing family. Congratulations, Jessie!
- E-family news: Ideas to Improve the Morning Routine for Parents with Babies
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Biggest Tip for a Mom-To-Be
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Gift for a New Mom
- Read more posts about pregnancy, infants and babies and posts about parenting advice from the Family Room bloggers