Being a new parent is exciting, but it’s often more scary. You are now in charge of a human life, and this newfound love in your life does not come with an instruction manual.
As a new parent, you are going to hear your fair share of advice from others, even if you don’t ask for it, but the following are seven tips and tricks that you absolutely will want to know.
1. Don’t feel bad saying “no”.
When you have a new baby, you will be flooded with phone calls and emails from friends and family members that want to come over and see your newfound bundle of joy. While these people are simply excited for you and want to share in your joy, what they don’t realize is how tired you are and how you’re still trying to adjust. If you simply don’t want visitors immediately when you get home, don’t feel bad telling people “no” and offering another date for them to come visit. They will not be offended, and you should not feel bad.
2. Find what works.
Your baby doesn’t know how to communicate with you in any other way but crying, and this will drive all parents nuts at some point. When your baby cries, you don’t know if they’re hungry, if they’re tired, if they’re in pain or if they simply want to be swaddled. The truth is that no parent has all the answers immediately, and you will need to constantly try different things to find out what your baby wants and what soothes them. Some babies are soothed by soft lullabies while others prefer loud music. You’ll eventually learn to know the difference between your baby’s cries, and answering these cries will become less daunting on you.
3. Never feel bad for your choices.
You are going to have make decisions for your baby, such as if you use formula or breast milk, if you co-sleep or if they sleep in the nursery, etc. No matter what you choose, you will always come across a person or an article that makes you feel as if you made the wrong choice. It’s important that you stick with your gut and never feel bad for your choices. If you opt to use formula, don’t let the breast milk enthusiasts bother you.
4. Understand things will change.
Your relationship is not going to be the same after you have a baby. You will no longer have romantic nights together alone. You will find it hard to have a date night. And you may even find yourself arguing more often. While it can be frustrating, know that once your baby has started eating and sleeping routinely and both of you are getting a good night’s rest, you will soon be able to enjoy each other’s company and have date nights like before.
5. Your house will be messy.
Babies come with A LOT of stuff, and your house will easily become overrun with toys, diapers, bottles and clothes. Even if you’re an organized person, you need to understand that having this items overtake your home is okay. Nobody that comes to your house will think any less of you for having a messy house—they’ll understand.
6. Always double check the diaper bag.
You will eventually get out of the house with your newborn, and the last thing you need is to be away from home and realize you don’t have any diapers/bottles/milk/wipes/etc. on you. Before you head out, make sure to take the time and double check the diaper bag. Even if you think you have something, throw more of it in there. It’s always best to have a 50lb. diaper bag filled with everything than a 10lb. bag filled with nothing. And if double checking the bag means you’re a little late to your outing, so be it.
7. Know the signs.
Postpartum depression is a serious illness, and it’s very important that you know the signs and symptoms of the illness before it’s too late. Make sure that you and your partner both know the warning signs so that you can both be on the lookout. If you do experience postpartum depression, don’t feel as if you’re a bad mother. Postpartum depression affects millions of women, and getting treatment is the best thing you can do for your baby.
Kathryn Thompson is a mother of three who loves dogs. She enjoys blogging about pet care and giving advice to new parents on raising children.