When you become pregnant, many well intentioned people will want to give you advice. It might get annoying. Honestly you will get so much advice that most of it will go in one ear and out the other. It will be hard to know what advice is actually good and what you should ignore. Luckily for you I wrote down lots of things throughout this past year so I wouldn’t forget for the future.
My Top Pieces of Advice that I Learned as a New Parent:
- My first piece of advice to new parents is this: No amount of given advice can substitute your own experiences. If you are a new mama or a mom to be, I suggest finding a place to take little notes on things that did or didn’t work. I promise pregnancy/mom brain is a real thing and you will forget these things unless you write them down.
- Pre-make freezer bag meals for easy crock-pot cooking weeks before your baby is born. Trust me. Once you have that little baby, and are adjusting to life as it will now be, the last thing on your mind will be “what’s for dinner?” This is something my husband and I didn’t do and wish we had done. We eventually did get on the freezer bag meal train but it wasn’t until about 2 months after.
- Ignore that old adage that says, sleep when the baby sleeps. I say change it to TRY to sleep when the baby sleeps. If you can’t get to sleep, do something productive. I am a terrible sleeper with or without a baby. Willing myself to sleep every time the baby slept, even if I wasn’t quite sleepy, was actually driving me crazy. I would stare at the ceiling internally screaming JUST GO TO SLEEP. Eventually I realized if I wasn’t tired at that moment I could catch up on laundry or sort through the baby clothes that still had tags on them. Not only did this mentality help keep me sane, but it also helped me organize my life.
- Start a bedtime routine and stick with it. Read a book, use a sound machine, sing a song, whatever floats your boat. We go around the house and turn off all of the lights with the baby and say goodnight to the dogs. We also have special bedtime/nap time books. Now my one-year-old will go to his room and hand me one of those books when he is ready to sleep. It might seem silly to do a bedtime routine with a teeny tiny baby, but one day down the road you will notice that these little cues help your baby settle in for the night.
- If you choose to breastfeed, plan on getting a giant water bottle and drag it with you everywhere. Also snacks. No one tells you just how thirsty and hungry breastfeeding can make you. I’m talking out of nowhere I would get an unquenchable thirst or HANGRY. So I bought little packets of almonds and trail mix and carried it around with me along with my litter sized water bottle.
- Download a baby tracking app. The doctor will ask you questions about how many poop or pee diapers the baby is producing each day. YOU WILL FORGET. My husband and I downloaded a super cool app called Glow Baby. We could track exactly how many diapers our baby had each day, how long he was feeding, and his sleep habits. The app saved us. Plus it offered cool tips each day.
- Don’t worry about worrying. Everyone worries about every little thing when it comes to a baby. This is normal and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have some kind of PPD. That being said, don’t be afraid to talk about your worries and feelings, and if you or anyone you talk to suggests that you get some professional help, don’t be ashamed. PPD is more common than you think and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
- In your first 2-3 weeks after the baby is born, don’t feel like you HAVE to leave your baby for any amount of time (unless you want to of course). I somehow let people talk me into going to see a movie with my husband. It was such a nice gesture to have family willing to watch the baby that I felt pressured to go out with my husband even though I didn’t really want to leave my baby just yet. Also I was recovering from a c-section and all I really wanted to do was rest. I should have followed my own instincts. Neither my husband or I can even remember what movie we saw because we were so preoccupied with how our new baby was doing at home. Also movie seats are not comfortable to sit in for a prolonged time period when you’ve just had a csection. I was physically uncomfortable the whole time.
- Don’t worry about holding your baby too much. No, they won’t get spoiled if you hold them too much. They are babies. They don’t know. The day will come when they want to walk away from you and it will be hard to get them to sit in your lap for longer than 5 minutes. Take those cuddles while you can.
- My final piece of advice is enjoy every moment. The days are long but the years are incredibly short. So much changes so fast and if you aren’t paying attention it will be gone in the blink of an eye. I’ve only been through one year, but already I sense time escaping me. I’m not lingering over it too much (if I did I would be a sobbing mess all the time), but I am happy to be cognizant of the passing time. I think it makes me appreciate it more.
What are some good or bad pieces of advice you received when you had your baby?