Many people say that becoming a parent is the best thing that will ever happen to you. Nevertheless, bringing a tiny little bundle of joy into the world can be exciting, yet extremely overwhelming. If you are expecting your little one to arrive imminently or they have already made their appearance, it is completely normal for new parents to be freaking out!
Suddenly there will be a tiny human in the house that depends entirely on you for all its wants and needs. Even though friends and family were probably quick to give you their best pieces of advice, you may suddenly feel like you don’t know if what you are doing is right. It is important to realise that no one way of parenting is better than another!
However, here are some tips you may find useful:
1. Make a List of Everything You May Need
Of course, you have probably already purchased the main items you absolutely know you will need, such as a car seat, a pushchair and a cot.
But it can be a good idea to sit down and make a list of all the little things you will need. Having a list is a good idea as you can tick off the items you already have, and any remaining items can be used for family members wanting gift ideas for the new family. One of the most important things you will need to take into consideration is baby clothing.
Newborn babies will more than likely need a few changes of clothes in a day, so one or two cute outfits isn’t enough. Although you may have been caught up in all the cute summer outfits in the shops of late, remember that autumn is on its way and baby will need to be wrapped up warm.
Also, with the unpredictable weather in the UK, it always makes sense to have both warm and summery clothes at hand. A cute little newborn baby hat will work in both scenarios, keeping the head warm in the cold weather and the face sheltered from the sun.
Other important items include plenty of nappies (you may start off needing 5-10 per day), a changing bag, a baby monitor, a travel cot for those nights at grandma’s, a baby thermometer and possibly a changing table.
2. Don’t Feel You Have to Stay Inside All Day
A lot of people will say that routine is key when raising a newborn baby, however, this doesn’t always fit with every new parent’s lifestyle. Don’t feel that you have to stay at home all day establishing nap and feeding times. Otherwise, you may find that weeks of trying to do this turns into months. Your body has already gone through the stress of giving birth and you are now trying to function on a lot less sleep than you are used to. Adding isolation into the mix is a bad idea.
Get outside at least once a day by joining a few baby clubs or even just meeting up with friends for a coffee. Some even say that getting outside helps to set the baby’s internal clock, so there are benefits all around.
3. Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes
The word ‘when’ and not ‘if’ has been used here because every parent does make mistakes. You might get to the end of a busy day, rushing around seeing to other things or other kids, before realising you haven’t changed baby’s nappy since their morning nap. You may feel extreme guilt, but this is okay – it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent and you cannot dwell on one small mistake.
Similarly, you might get to the stage where you think you have everything sussed out to suddenly be faced with a crying baby that won’t stop no matter what you do. This can be completely overwhelming and may even cause you to question your abilities as a parent. However, these are all totally normal feelings, but they are also fleeting. Your baby knows they are loved and will not hold it against you! Promise!
4. Let the Washing Pile Up
Okay so this doesn’t sound like the most practical advice, but this doesn’t mean abandon all housework from this day forward. Instead, realise that the laundry does not always need doing at that exact moment. You will soon realise that your baby grows up in the blink of an eye, so it is important to take in those precious infant years. If they fall asleep on you, let them. Hold them and watch them sleep, the washing can wait but memories can’t be remade.
5. Realise That Not Everything Will Go According to Plan
You may have heard your mum or your best friend telling you that ‘breast is best’ and so you fully intend on breastfeeding your baby for as long as possible. However, when it comes to it, breastfeeding may or may not work for you. You may not be able to get baby to latch on, in which case, bottle feeding is just as good an alternative. Rather than giving yourself a hard time because things are not going the way you envisioned, realise that going with the flow is often the easiest path to take.
6. Take Up Offers of Help
You will probably find that when there is a new addition to the family, grandparents, friends and siblings will all offer to help you out. Take them up on this! If you have had weeks on end of two hours sleep a night, ask one of them to take the baby off your hands for a few hours so that you can catch up. Some may even be excited at the thought of looking after a baby for a night, so grab the opportunity when you can. You will be surprised at what a few hours of uninterrupted sleep can do for your mental state.
You will find that there are hundreds more pieces of advice out there for new parents, but the ones listed above are the perhaps the most important for those freaking out. Just remember that we are all essentially winging it!
If you have any questions or simply want a nice chat, don’t hesitate to contact the My Little Duckling team, we’re here to help!