Everyone and their dog seems to have their own words of advice for new parents.
From telling you how to change a diaper to informing you how long your baby should sleep through the night, it’s enough to make your head spin!
While diaper changing and bottle warming are pretty important skills to get down pat when it comes to caring for a baby, but what about the rest of the stuff?
Taking care of a baby involves more than just physical care – parenthood is such a tiny word that can elicit so much fear.
You may have experienced some sort of fear during your pregnancy – Would you be a good mom? How are you going to manage this?
While books can help prepare you for the physical care of your baby, it’s real advice from other parents that will help put you in a better mental space.
Watch other parents, particularly moms, as they raise well-adjusted and healthy children. How do they deal with crying? Tantrums? Or any of the other perceived horrors of parenthood?
Listen to what they have to say about being a parent!
Otherwise, check out these real-life tips for new parents:
Real-Life Tips for New Parents
1. Follow Your Gut
There are a million parenting books out there with advice for new parents that will tell you how to take care of your baby but, ultimately, you will get to know your little one better than any expert or opinionated relative.
Yes, there are certain pieces of medical advice you should follow but when it comes to your gut instinct telling you something is wrong (or right), this shouldn’t be ignored.
Likewise, don’t let other people tell you how to parent your child. You’ll know if your decisions are the best ones and you’ll adjust your future choices accordingly.
Also, try not to rush to Facebook groups to validate that what you already know is true. When in doubt, speak to a healthcare professional or trusted friend/family member about your concerns.
2. Manage Your Expectations
Whether we look at the way we were raised or how child-rearing is portrayed in the media, we tend to have this idea in our heads of what parenthood is going to look and feel like.
Parenthood is a crapshoot and things will never go according to plan. It is, however, important to have a plan so you have an idea of how things will go – but you need to be flexible.
For instance, during pregnancy, you may have imagined yourself as a breastfeeding mom. I have plenty of friends that will tell you that no matter how hard they tried and how bad they wanted to, breastfeeding just wasn’t happening.
A good piece of advice for new parents is to try and focus on having backup plans instead of hanging on tight to expectations. You’ll only find yourself disappointed when things don’t work out the way you expected them to.
3. Make Memories
Some memories will fade away but it’s the ones that you make happen that stick. Take the time to make those memories and be present with your little one.
I’m not going to say because “they grow up so fast” – I honestly enjoy each new step in my daughter’s development, even if some days she opens her school-aged mouth and a teenager falls out.
Just pay attention to what’s happening and make time for special moments.
4. Ask For Help
That being said, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Parents need support and breaks and advice so you should never feel bad for asking for any of it.
If help is offered, seriously consider taking it. And if you are in a rough spot, don’t hesitate and ask for it.
5. It’s Hard to Mess Up
During my pregnancy with my daughter, I expressed my profound fear of being a mom to a dear friend. She gave me the following advice:
“You can’t go wrong unless you drop them or sit on them.”
It’s a simple way of saying that it’s super hard to mess up being a parent.
Yes, you will make mistakes along the way but you can be as adaptable in your parenting style as your child is in their development.
6. You Will Sleep Again
If you’re already dealing with a newborn, I can totally understand you calling me a liar – but it’s true. Don’t brush off this piece of advice for new parents. Someday, you will sleep again.
And you’d be surprised how quickly that day may come! Most babies are able to sleep through the night by the age of 6 months.
By the time they are teenagers, they can also sleep all day too. Win-win!
Seriously, though, your little one will even reach an age where they’ll wake up before you and keep themselves busy until a reasonable hour.
Sleep will come again, I promise.
7. You Don’t Have to Love Being a Parent 24/7
Being a parent can sometimes suck so it’s okay if sometimes you feel like you really dislike your new gig.
It’s like a job and no one loves their job 100%. There are going to be aspects of parenting that you absolutely hate – and others that will fill your heart with such joy that makes the bad all worth it!
Parenting is a give-and-take and you are absolutely allowed to not love it every moment of every day.
8. Being a Parent is Hard…
So, yeah, being a parent is hard. It’s physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually taxing and there is often no reprieve from the overall exhaustion.
There are going to be days where you cry on the toilet and mornings where you bury yourself deep into your blankets, wishing you didn’t exist.
You’ll have moments where you’ll want to slap your child (but you won’t) and times when you want to pack them up and sell them to the circus (which you also won’t do – it’s also illegal).
And you’ll spend many frustrating moments showing them how to hold a fork or teaching them how to brush their teeth or trying to get them to tie their own shoes
But you know what? The pay-off is totally worth it!
Because you will see the fruits of your efforts in the way your child lives and behaves.
9. …But You’re Doing a Great Job!
It’s true! Whenever you doubt your parenting skills, take a look at your child.
That tiny being is a sweet and wondrous human being that YOU helped create. Not only physically, but emotionally as well. Every beautiful smile and kind word that comes from your child came from you.
So in even the darkest moments of parenthood, remember to tell yourself that you are doing a good job.
You deserve commendation for each precious breath they continue to take and every heart-melting moment they create. Take this advice for new parents to heart.
Real Advice for New Parents
If you’ve taken the time to read an actual parenting book, you’ve plenty of tools and knowledge to take care of your child’s needs.
I hope you take the rest of this advice for new parents in order to take care of yours.
We as parents are not just baby-makers. We are caretakers, teachers, and coaches but, above all else, we are still human beings.
What was the one piece of parenting advice that surprised you? What worked for you? Share your stories in the comments!