There is no formula or instruction manual for successful parenting. You can arm yourself with the latest expert advice for new parents, keep up with the trends and establish a routine based on evidence-based research, but you will still find yourself figuring out much of this parenting thing as you go along. Make life as simple as possible during this time of transition and avoid some of the things that can cause unnecessary hurdles for new parents.
Advice for New Parents from Others
Everyone’s journey is different. What works for one mother may not work for another, so remember that most advice you’ll receive — unless it’s coming from a doctor or expert — is just an opinion.
The internet is flooded with information about parenting, much of which is conflicting or controversial. Don’t forfeit your own judgement. Look within before turning to Google. Use your parental instincts and consult your pediatrician when you have a health-related matter.
Spit-ups, Drool & Other Messes
Babies are going to get dirty, and that can be difficult for new parents to accept at first. Babies spittle, dribble, vomit and poop, and there will be stains on your clothes and baby’s to prove it. Don’t panic when you see a little dirt under baby’s nails or some dog hair stuck to baby’s clothes. All you can do is your best to keep baby clean.
A few simple tips can also help keep baby grime-free:
- Always keep extra clean clothes on hand. If you don’t have time to do the laundry each week, consider hiring a laundry service so baby never runs out of clean clothes.
- Snap on a bib during the extra drooly times; bibs are not just for meal times. If you’re concerned about the harsh material rubbing on baby’s face and neck for too long, find super-soft bibs and burp cloths at SwaddleDesigns.
- Freshen baby between baths with the occasional sponge bath on extra messy days.
- Keep a stash of natural baby wipes in the most-used rooms of your home to quickly clean up spills, sticky fingers and spit-ups as they happen. We like these from Seventh Generation.
Getting your baby into a good sleep routine may feel like an uphill battle. Some babies settle in quickly while other may need more time. That means as new parents your old days of sleeping and waking aren’t totally up to you anymore. To get the rest you need to keep up with baby, try sleeping when she/he is sleeping. And, develop a routine gradually, to help your baby get on track. Here’s some helpful resources:
Relationship with Your Spouse
Many new parents lose sight of their spouse when the new baby arrives. Mom is undergoing hormone changes, getting less sleep and trying to master breastfeeding, and Dad may be wondering when he’ll get his wife back.
Make a point to spend quality time together. Talk to one another and listen. Exhaustion does strange things to people, so rely on friends and relatives to help out so you can get sleep and time together.
Make time for intimacy as well. If Mom’s body is ready and willing, get into the habit of rekindling your attraction whenever possible.
Keep in mind the following tips to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse:
- Plan a standing date night every week.
- Be flexible.
- Find balance.
- Talk to each other every day.
- Get out of the house together on dates and also with baby
- Be co-parents.
- Establish an outside support system.
- Schedule couple time.
- Develop a sense of humor.
Being a parent will change your life, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Follow your parenting instincts, get some sleep and love your husband — you’re in for the most enjoyable roller coaster ride life has to offer!