Tips for Parents-to-BeOn August 2, 2017 by Samantha Jean
Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced parent, I think we can all remember the moments of when we first had our children. Some probably more vividly than others. But we also probably remember all the months of worrying and preparing that came before that— getting the nursery ready, reading “what to expect” books, installing the car seat, etc. etc. etc. If you’re like me, you probably read a ton in hopes of being as prepared as possible. So, from one mother to any others, I want to share a few tips that I either never read about myself or didn’t take seriously, and hopefully some new mamas and daddies can find some value in them!
Firstly, don’t freak out
There isn’t really anything more life changing than having a kid. You’ve probably heard that a million times now and that is ok. It’s true. And it’s also ok to be really freaking scared, nervous, anxious, terrified, etc. But do your best to remember that it will be ok, and bringing a little one into the world and into your family will be much more wonderful than it is frightening. When my daughter was born, I didn’t sleep a wink in the hospital (and I hate to tell you this, but that pretty much continued for about a month or two). I was sure she was glass and I would break her. I was never really around babies growing up so I had no idea what I was doing. But you know what? By the end of that first month, I was a pro. I did nothing special except just get through each day, and it came naturally. That will happen for you, too. I promise.
I am a planner. Some people say I am organized. Some people call it OCD. Take your pick. However, you know what I found to be super nice and helpful after my baby was born? Not having to leave my house during maternity leave to go grab diapers or toilet paper or anything else important last minute because I stocked up during my pregnancy. When you have to cart around a baby on one arm who could wake up screaming and demand a breast for dinner at any place and time, you start to think that stocking up as if the nuclear apocalypse was coming isn’t such a bad idea. I’m not even just talking diapers here. I stocked up on snacks, lotions, soaps, freezer meals, and tons of other stuff, and whether it was OCD or not, it was a smart decision.
Nap when baby naps
Not going to lie—I ignored this one. This isn’t a new tip, by the way. Everyone will tell you to do this, but I didn’t listen. And I highly encourage you not to make the same mistake I did. I have never been one to nap, and even the couple of times I tried to during maternity leave failed. But after going a couple months with my sleep schedule seriously messed up, I vowed to make sure I would take this one more seriously with my next kid. If you heed my warning, you will thank me later. If you don’t…well, best of luck to you.
Don’t buy every toy you see on the shelf
It’s tempting. They all look so fun and we all want the best for our little ones, right? But. While having a few fun, bright toys is totally appropriate, I can promise you that by the time they really start to engage with their toys, they will be far more interested in the box or wrapping paper they came in than anything else. And now, you know what I have as my primary décor in my living room? Toys. Baby toys. Toddler toys. I could open a Toys-R-Us from my upstairs. Can’t fight
the urge to buy all those toys? Try rummage sailing or hopping on some local garage sale websites. You can find decent stuff because chances are all those toys were only used for a few months at best, and your child will love them all the same. And when you no longer need those toys, considering donating them to someone who may!
Attend Well-Baby clinics if your hospital offers them
It’s always really fun to see how much your little one grows each week. My well-baby clinic would also give away free cans of formula each visit. The best part? There was always someone on staff that could answer my questions if my daughter had a sniffle or a rash or any other ailment. It really was the peace of mind I got each time I visited and all the information on how my daughter was growing that kept me coming.
Don’t agonize over the milestones
When I came home from the hospital, I had downloaded the BabyCenter app and received tons of great information in my inbox about where my baby should be at developmentally each week. While it was really useful information and I loved receiving it, I was also a little enveloped in those milestones. Don’t forget that while they are useful guidelines, babies grow and develop at their own rate, so it’s ok if things don’t happen the exact week your app tells you they might. Also—don’t wish your child would crawl or walk sooner than they learn to. It’s exciting, I know, but trust me. You’ll understand.
Have any other awesome tips for parents to be, or even for those of us who have been a mom or a dad for a while? There’s always more to learn! Share them below!