Happy times ahead (image)
Are you about to become a new parent soon? If so, congratulations, and may your years as a parent be filled with joys and happiness. Still, your life is going to change. Becoming a parent is not without its challenges, and that is why we have compiled this short guide to what we think every new parent needs to know. Consider it our gift to you, even though we are still a little miffed we didn’t get invited to the baby shower. Pfft!
1. No parent is an expert
No matter how many baby books you read, and despite the advice given to you by your Facebook fanbase (and your real friends), there are no expert parents out there. Yes, your best mate will regale you with tales of how they did this and how their baby did that, but their tips may not necessarily work for you. All new parents are the same – they learn as they go along – and while some of the advice you pick up will be useful, you will also have to find your own way of doing things that suit you and your baby.
2. You may not bond with your baby immediately
Not every parent goes gooey eyed the moment the child is born. While most parents do bond with their baby quickly, it’s okay if you don’t. Relief is probably the first thing you feel when the baby arrives, and frustration and worry are the other things you will be feeling when trying to get along with your child. There will be constant crying, sleepless nights, and lifestyle changes that may affect your relationship with your child. Don’t worry though, your love for your child will cross those boundaries and you will bond with your baby eventually. Cut yourself some slack if you feel guilty, and read these baby bonding tips to help you deal with your worried feelings.
3. You shouldn’t worry when your baby cries
Babies cry! It’s a fact of life for most infants, so don’t get your knickers in a twist every time they scream the house down. Sometimes they will be hungry, so you will need to feed them. Occasionally they will crave your attention, so you do need to schedule in the odd game of peekaboo here and there, as well as a regular cuddle. However, there will be times when they are just tired, so you should lay them down to sleep and resort yourself to their crying until the noise finally ceases. Of course, if they don’t stop crying, there may be underlying health issues, such as colic, so see your doctor if you think your baby is in genuine distress.
4. Don’t rely on Doctor Google
Following on from our warning about colic, you do need to be aware that your baby will get sick from time to time. When you notice a strange rash on your child’s skin, for example, you may rush to Doctor Google to try and find the answer. Cradle cap? What on earth is that, you might ask yourself as you frantically scour the internet. However, as you read the 6 best ways to prevent & treat cradle cap, you will find it’s nothing to worry about, though Google isn’t always the best answer. While the linked advice comes from a professional source, there are other places on the internet that can be misleading. Not only will they cause you needless worry, but they misdiagnose the issue too. Our advice: if in doubt, see your doctor.
5. It’s okay to say ‘no’
Moments after your child has been born; you will probably be inundated with people wanting to get a peek at your newborn. If they aren’t queuing up outside your hospital ward, they will be at your front door at home, waiting with bunches of flowers and baby gifts. There will be times when you are feeling tired and with little energy for company. There will be other times when all you want to do is be at home with your child for that special bonding time, without else intruding on those precious moments. And that’s okay! If you need space away from others, respectfully tell them ‘no.’ Most people will understand, and they should leave you and baby alone for a while. Mother-in-law is another matter entirely of course, so you may need to be a little more forceful with your ‘no,’ even if she does kick up a fuss now and again!
6. You will need to exercise
Not quite the exercise we had in mind (image)
After 9 months of pregnancy, your body will take time to adjust. Rest, by all means, but your body will recover quicker if you can push yourself a little. Taking your baby out for a walk in their stroller is a start, as is going to parent and baby groups where exercise is part of the schedule. Exercise will return your body to something approaching your normal weight, and it is good for your mind, too. Considering postnatal depression is common amongst many moms, getting outside in the fresh air and taking a walk occasionally, will help you emotionally as well as physically.
7. You don’t need to break the bank
Before your baby is even born, you may be tempted to extend your shopping list and buy them everything under the sun. Yes, there are things your baby needs, but you can save yourself some money. For starters, don’t turn your nose up at hand-me-downs. Your baby doesn’t care about fashion, so if other moms offer you clothes, and they are in good condition, snap them up. When you have a baby shower (with or without an invite to us), you will get heaps of clothes, toys, and practical items. So curb your temptation to buy everything and focus on the essentials.
8. Keep in touch with your friends
Okay, so we have told you it’s okay to say ‘no’ to your friends once in a while, especially when you need alone time with you and your little one. Still, you can have too much alone time, and there will be times when you question your own sanity when you are limited to baby speak. You will crave an adult conversation, so pick up the phone occasionally or invite your friends around for a coffee. You will benefit from a little social interaction, and while you will still probably spend your time talking about your baby, at least you will have somebody to offload to when you need it the most.
9. Don’t neglect your partner
For the first few weeks, you and your partner will go through a sort of honeymoon period. You will take turns changing diapers, and will happily get out of bed to ease baby’s crying. You will bond over your newborn and everything will seem complete. Until the arguments begin. Mainly due to tiredness, you will start to snap at each other, and probably complain that the other one isn’t doing enough to help. They are slacking on their responsibilities. They aren’t caring for the house. They aren’t giving you enough attention. And so the complaints go on. So make time for each other, hire a childminder, or rope in mother-in-law, who by now (after point no. 5), will only be too glad to help and get out on a date night. Your child will take over your life, but you don’t have to let your other relationships suffer because of it.
10. Your life will change
Finally, and this is a no-brainer, your life will change. There will be times when you look back on your old life with envy – those extra hours in bed, shopping for yourself, no nursery rhymes on your Spotify playlist – but as soon as you look into your child’s eyes, you won’t care. Your life will change, and despite the challenges ahead, you will never look back.
Thanks for reading