Four Pieces of Advice for First-Time Parents

Last updated on : July 23 2020

Close up of baby girl wearing an orange dress laughing on a white blanket.

First Time Parenting

Knowing you have a new baby on the way can be one of the most exciting, yet terrifying feelings you'll ever experience. As a first time parent, so many questions run through your mind while anticipating the arrival of your little one.

One day you may feel confident, then utterly overwhelmed the next. Although your emotions are sure to be heightened during this time, any veteran parent would assure you that these feelings are entirely normal.

In the months and days leading up to meeting your new family member, there are some things you'll want to keep in mind. There's setting up the nursery, putting the car seat in your vehicle, and washing all those tiny little onesies.

While checking these items off the list, all play a role in ensuring your living space is baby-ready, there are several other, and often overlooked, items you'll want to have completed before bringing home your precious bundle.

Keep reading to learn more about four pieces of advice you'll want to consider as a first-time parent.

Make Time for Yourself

The days leading up to your baby's arrival will feel like a whirlwind. If you're not thinking about the baby, you're talking about the baby or dreaming about the baby.

While it's hard to contain your excitement and shift your focus, it is also quite necessary to take time for yourself. It's not that once you have a baby, your life is over, but instead, a whole new chapter of your life begins.

This new life comes with many changes, and one of those changes is no longer having the freedom to come and go as you please. While having your baby to care for makes this adjustment completely tolerable and even enjoyable, it's still an adjustment.

Utilize this "free time" to practice self-care and invest in yourself. Whether it's something as simple as taking a nap or going for a walk each day, it's time you're putting back into yourself, which, in the end, will help you to feel more at peace upon your baby's arrival.

In addition to taking time for yourself, be sure to spend quality moments with your partner as well. After all, this will be a massive change for both of you, and if you're not on the same page, you may feel a slight strain on your relationship.

Planning a weekly date night or just heading to the grocery store together can be the ticket to strengthening your relationship in anticipation for this new little person to come into your lives.

You may also want to use this time to get some type of loose plan in place. Have conversations about role changes, how you'll handle nighttime feedings, diaper changes, and all the other shared duties that come along with being new parents.

It may not be glamorous, but going into things on the same page will help you work as a team and be the best provider for your little one.

Stock Up on Essentials

Whether your loved ones threw you a baby shower or you took yourself on a little shopping spree, you probably think you have just about everything you need to get you through for a while once your baby comes home.

However, many parents don't realize that when it comes to items like diapers, wipes, burp cloths, and onesies, you can never have enough on hand.

The last thing you'll want to do when you're already sleep-deprived is run to a store in the middle of the night because you just pulled the final cleanse wipe out of the container, but the reality is, this is bound to happen.

Fortunately, you can get baby essentials like wipes and diapers delivered to your door through the use of a mobile delivery app. The service is available 24/7, which ensures that you won't have to run out to your local corner store half asleep in the spit-up covered sweatpants you've been wearing for the past week.

Having a new baby at home means doing whatever makes life most convenient, and having your hands on these essentials as quickly as possible does just that.

In addition to items your baby will need, it's crucial to have your house stocked with essentials that will help you function daily. It's items to help with recovery post-labor, or just various freezer meals ready to heat and eat will prepare you ahead of time.

Your first few days and even weeks, home with your new bundle will be hectic, but setting yourself up for success in small ways will provide you with some comfort and stability until you are settled and able to establish a routine.  

Accept Outside Help

It's common for new parents to believe they can do it all. This belief may be partly due to the adrenaline that kicks in from lack of sleep or simply wanting to be there for your baby 24/7.

The truth is, accepting outside help from friends and loved ones don't make you weak or inadequate but instead allows you to take a moment away and feel a little bit more refreshed.

This acceptance is especially true in the first few weeks when you and your baby are still getting to know each other.

You may be able to count on one hand the number of hours you've slept in those weeks, so when your mother-in-law or best friend wants to come over and sit with the baby while you shower or nap, take them up on their offer. These people won't think any less of you and, frankly, your baby won't remember.

If you and your partner refuse help, you will burn out quickly and, in turn, cannot be the best parents to your little one.

Unsure of how to ask for help without feeling like a nuisance? Check out this article that provides some tips on how to call in some reinforcements when you need an extra pair of hands.  

You and your partner may also find it helpful to reach out to any of your friends who already have children. They will be an excellent resource for everything from product recommendations to daycare providers.

When current parents find out you're expecting, they'll go into advice overload, guaranteed. This time is the perfect time for you to ask any questions or simply listen to what they have to say.

Keep in mind that the decisions you end up making will be what's best for your baby, regardless of the way other people have done it. In the early days, there may be a lot of trial and error, but listening and learning from others who have gone through this process may turn out to be more helpful than you think.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

As a new parent, it's your primary responsibility to keep your baby safe and healthy. While this may incur some worry, you can't sweat the small stuff.

Things are going to happen that may be out of your control, but it's essential to keep in mind that this is your first time, and you're still in the learning phase. You must be patient with yourself and your partner as you both navigate this unchartered territory that is parenthood.

The other thing to keep in mind is that your baby is learning as well. It's your baby's first time experiencing many of the same feelings you're going through, so in a sense, you're really in this together.

Keep in mind that again, your baby is not going to remember that you put their diaper on wrong or you fed them a million formula brands until you found the one that didn't give them gas. What they will remember is that you did whatever it took to keep them happy and healthy. 

As your baby grows, you'll find your skillset and confidence evolving. Caring for your baby will become second nature to you, and tasks that felt impossible in the past you will now do without even having to think twice.

Parenthood is pretty much comparable to beginning a new career. No one likes to be the "new person," but then suddenly, days, weeks, and even months go by, and you're no longer insecure about your role.

This evolution is not to say that caring for your child won't be challenging at times, but you will learn to roll with the punches and adapt to the situation you're in regardless of how hard it seems at the time. One day you may even be able to look back and laugh at those early days and relish in how far you've come!

Conclusion

Mother holding baby o beach

If it's your first time around, parenthood can be intimidating. You see people on social media, and maybe even your friends and family members, who make things look and seem effortless.

While this is not always the case, following the pieces of advice we offered above can help you to navigate those first weeks and months at home with this new person.

All babies and parents are different, but, eventually, you will fall into a routine that works for all of you.

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