As a new or first-time parent, you need all the help and advice you can get, so to add to your collection, here is some advice for you first-time parents. These tips will help you thrive and stay happy as you embark on this new phase of your life as a new or first-time parent.
1. Do A lot of Research.
A great piece of advice for new parents is to do a lot of research. Since you are reading this article, you are already on the right path regarding research. As a first-time parent, especially if you have not had the opportunity to help care for a newborn before, do as much research as possible. There are loads of articles to read and videos online on caring for babies. There are also some great apps and websites that offer milestone updates for the development of babies, which will enable you to have a good idea of what is going on with your baby’s development, how much nap they need at different stages and general things to expect, play ideas and more.
2. Trust yourself.
Once you become a parent, your maternal or paternal instincts kick in if they have not already, so trust yourself. It is okay to listen to the outpour of advice from loved ones on how to care for your baby, and they are very much needed but at the end of the day, you have the final say. So another great piece of advice for new parents is to trust your instincts that you know what is best for your baby. No one will know your baby better than you as you are your baby’s primary caregiver, and obviously, your baby will spend the majority of his/her time with you.
However, if you feel for whatever reason, your instincts are off, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor and loved ones for support.
3. Be Kind to Yourself.
A really good piece of advice for new or first-time parents is to be kind to yourself. As a new parent, especially if you had the opportunity to help care for a newborn before, as would must like be the case, do not be hard on yourself. No one expects you to be an expert, and you are not trying to prove anything to anybody. Just love your baby and do your best. Be as kind and supportive to yourself as would be to anyone else.
4. Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Get As Much Sleep As Possible.
It is tempting to try to get a million things done while your baby is sleeping, such as catch up on work, laundry, social media or your favourite shows whilst forgetting you might be short of sleep. You cannot fully function whilst sleep deprived for too long, facts! In other words, you cannot cheat sleep.
Sleep is essential, and sleep deprivation can adversely affect your mood to a large extent, making you feel alone, incompetent and can also cause serious accidents. Babies need a lot of attention and care, and to provide this, you need sufficient sleep.
Most people would say sleep whenever your baby is asleep, but that is not easy for everyone. It is very tempting, as aforementioned, to try to catch up on daily chores and other activities whilst your baby is asleep. However, it is still good advice for first-time parents. You need as much sleep as you can get and the best time to sleep is when your baby is asleep and not vice versa, except perhaps, you have your partner or someone else taking care of your baby.
When you are well rested, you will be in a good mood, happy and able to play and take care of your baby.
5. Accept all the help you can get as a new parent.
There is a popular saying in Africa that it takes a village or community to raise a child. In essence, what this means is that you are not necessarily expected to do everything for your baby by yourself as a parent. It is perfectly fine and expected for you to accept help from family and trusted friends or employ the services of a nanny or babysitter to help with the care of your baby. This would be especially necessary where both parents have full-time jobs outside the home.
As a first-time parent, accept all the help and advice you can get but ultimately remember that you know best for your baby’s safety and well-being. Trust your instincts, gut feelings, or sense of reasoning. You make the rules and have the final say about how your baby is cared for.
6. Make A flexible Routine
Babies and kids, in general, thrive with routines as it helps them know what to expect next. Routines can help ease your baby to sleep faster and help you tick a lot of items off your to-do list when you schedule your tasks and self-care around your baby’s sleep schedule. Whilst remembering to make time to get sufficient rest yourself.
As babies cannot tell the difference between night and daytime, you must have a nighttime routine that you follow sequentially to ease your baby to sleep. However, you do not need to stick to routines like glue when things are not going as planned. Instead of getting frustrated, remember you are not striving for perfection, and it better to be flexible and go with the flow of things when needed. This way will maintain your good cheer.
7. Have The Right Lighting For Day & Nighttime.
Babies do not know the difference between night time and day time as such, it is important draw open your curtains during the day to let in natural light / sunshine and at night for your night time routine with your baby, keep the lights dime to help ease your baby to sleep. And if you need to nurse or do a diaper change in course of the night, still keep the nights dime so as not to fully wake up your baby who could decide to stay awake the rest of the night if the room is fully lit.
8. Do Not Strive for Perfection When You Become A First-Time Parent.
Try to keep in mind that perfection is non-existent. No one is perfect nor does anyone expect you to be. All you need to do, is the very best you can and that is good enough. Whilst you do your best for baby, remember to make time to take care of yourself, for amongst other reasons you are very important to your baby and your baby wants you happy.
9. New Parents Should Continue to Have Fun & Take Care of Each Other.
Yes, your baby comes first, but you need to take care of yourself to be in a better mental and physical state to be present and happy to take care of your baby. So, ensure to make time for each other, cook together, have date nights when you have family over to help with your baby. Continue to do as much as possible all the fun things you used to do, before having your baby. Even if that just means cuddling on the couch for a movie when your baby is asleep for the night.
10. Be Present & Enjoy Having Your Baby.
Live in the present and enjoy precious moments with your baby, for time really does go by quickly, and before you know it, your baby will be walking and talking. So, enjoy every little moment, your baby’s smiles, the adoring looks in your baby’s eyes, first words, warm cuddles. Enjoy it all, and do not forget to take pictures of as many of these precious moments as you can.
And finally in conclusion…
Keep in mind that above everything else, that as a new or first-time parent, if you are doing your best, then you are doing a great job. And on the other hand, if you are having a hard time, do not be afraid or hesitate to ask for help from family and friends or hire someone to help you and your baby.