General Question

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Do you have any useful advice for new parents?

Asked by dragonflyfaith (1996points) July 27th, 2008

My husband and I are welcoming our son into the world sometime in the next two weeks.

Do you have any advice for new parents? Something that someone told you that you found helpful?

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26 Answers

marinelife's avatar

As difficult as it may be when you fall in love with that glorious little one, remember to make time just for the two of you and to nurture your marriage.

A strong, happy marriage is a gift to the baby.

I believe there are one or more doting grandparents lurking about who would be happy to help with caretaking.

P.S. I think I am still alive in the Fluther “Guess the birth date” pool, right?

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@Marina That’s something I want to really work on, making sure we don’t get so lost in parenting that we forget each other.

You’re still good for the pool. I was hoping for some of those sooner dates but now that our move is less than a week away it’d be easier to hold out a few more days.

St.George's avatar

Sleep when the baby is sleeping. Forget about “normal” sleeping hours and make your own hours, like a cat.

The no sleep part is the most difficult thing I ever experienced in my life, and because I would straighten up or get stuff done instead of napping, I was a sleep-deprived lunatic.

Every parent I knew told me this and I didn’t believe them. Invent your own schedule for sleep.

cookieman's avatar

@Megan64: That is my number 1 bit of advice. My others are:
2: Don’t speak to your baby in baby talk. Cute is fine, but if you want him/her to learn the language properly, speak as you wish him/her to speak.
3: Love, love, love him/her…but do not coddle the baby. Don’t always be picking him/her up. Don’t freak out if he/she hurts them-self. Baby’s need to feel safe but learn to be independent.
3: Lots and lots of music. We played jazz and classical constantly. It helped my daughter sleep, focus and feel calm.

hoteipdx's avatar

Get and read Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block. The advice in that book bought us hours of sleep & a very happy child. She is four and, usually, quite content. Read it.

PupnTaco's avatar

• Sleep now while you can
• Make some dinners you can freeze for later
• Take care of your bills a month ahead with online banking if you can
• Pick up a copy of “What to Expect the First Year”

janbb's avatar

Penelope Leach’s book Your Baby and Child from Birth to Age Five is a wonderfully written, illustrated and reassuring book about childcare. I referred to it constantly and my friend and I would quote it to each other.

Find another mother with whom to talk. Of course you will talk things over constantly with your husband, but it is lifesaving to have another mother (ideally with a baby of a similar age) to share things with and talk over issues. Parenting and/or mother-baby groups are great. Try to find a baby sitting co-op when your baby is a little older. Don’t isolate yourself.

Don’t worry about everything. If you are loving and open with your baby and child, most things will turn out right. I worried far too much.

If you haven’t done so already, interview pediatricians and find one that listens to you and makes you feel supported. It is a very important relationship. If you are not happy with the one you have chosen, ask around and switch.

SuperMouse's avatar

Here is what I wish someone had told me right before my oldest son was born. You are going to get all kinds advice from all kinds of people. For some reason when it comes to babies even complete strangers feel compelled to share their opinion. Listen to it, smile, then go with your gut. You and your husband will know what is best for your baby.

Hold that baby all you want, regardless of what anyone tells you it is impossible to spoil a newborn baby.

PupnTaco's avatar

^ that’s the best advice yet.

augustlan's avatar

For sleeping issues: 1) DON’T keep your house silent because “baby’s sleeping” music, vacuum, continue with your normal routine (even when you’re napping, play some soft music in the baby’s room). 2) Sometimes, babies need to cry to get to sleep. 3) Put your baby down for naps in different places (at home in a playpen, crib, bassinet and when you’re at friends home’s on a blanket on the floor, etc.) These tips should help your child be able to sleep anywhere, through any event. My kids can all go to sleep when their father is playing drums in the basement!

sndfreQ's avatar

seconded Pup on supernutjob’s advice!

Also, don’t let other parent’s talk of “how perfect my little one is” and how “they slept through the night the day we got home from the hospital” get you down. Every family and newborn is different, and you should never feel like you’re bad parents just because your child is not hitting all the “marks.” A baby in your life is one of the most spiritually gratifying experiences the two of you will share, and just remember that the good and bad are all beautiful experiences you’ll look back on and cherish…I know that’s true for me and my family.

P.S. Check in with another new parent here in Fluther-bulbatron9-although he hasn’t been here much lately?...I wonder why that is?~. ;)

augustlan's avatar

BTW…congratulations on the impending birth!

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Thanks everyone, this is all great advice!

We’ve had our doctor picked out for about two months now and love her. Also a close friend of ours just had a second child in April so she’s been a great mentor to me throughout the pregnancy as well.

I’ve been getting books from the library but you know how that goes, all the reading in the world cannot really prepare you!

Thanks again!

janbb's avatar

Another thing – it’s great if you and your husband spell each other and each have time during the week on your own. I stayed at home for about 18 months (and that was just one day!) when my two were infants and it was a lifesaver to have time alone during the week. Even going to Foodtown was fun! My husband would take my son with him on Saturday morning errands when he was still in his infant seat and it was great to have time alone in the house.

Re: books. You can’t absorb that much ahead of time, but it’s good to have a few you like around the house for those “Why is she/he doing that?” moments. As I said, Penelope Leach was my bible; I also enjoyed reading Brazelton and to a lesser extent, Dr. Spock. I’m sure there are great newer ones as well.

gimmedat's avatar

1. You cannot spoil a baby. When that baby cries, he/she wants something, even if it’s just to be held, feed that need.
2. Learn baby’s cries. Loud and shrill=pain/discomfort. Short and loud=hunger. Long and drawn out=tired.
3. Never underestimate the power of the swaddle. Baby spent 40 weeks curled up in mommy comfort, limbs snuggled closely to the body. The swaddle provides the snuggly warmth and security that baby is used to.
4. Ignore birthing horror stories (why do people share their most disgusting, painful memories with expecting mamas?).
5. Remember the labor and the birth. It will be over before you know it, and it truly the most amazing thing ever!
6. Love your spouse.

jca's avatar

I had a baby last year, and before she was born, people told me all kinds of horror stories about not being able to sleep and stuff like that. she slept all night from day one. i also thought i would not be able to go anywhere for a while. the doctor told me i could not visit shopping malls or other places with a lot of people, and i also could not take her to people’s houses where there were kids (he said kids are full of viruses). other than that, she and i were going visiting and doing other stuff within a few weeks. my main advice is don’t be nervous, just go with the flow. in the beginning, all newborns do is eat, burp, sleep. i found the newborn stage to be quite nice. i did not try to force her to be on a schedule or anything like that. she made her own schedule. i say that because a well-meaning relative offered to pay for a baby nurse for a week, and she said the baby nurse was wonderful because the nurse put her baby on a schedule. i didn’t want that. i wanted the baby to do what she wanted and not force anything. it has worked out wonderfully for the baby and for me, and now she’s happy and 14 months old. i don’t profess to be a parenting expert, i just try to not get nervous about her or have rigid rules because babies pick up on anxiety. also, take lots of pictures and keep a baby book with memories, because believe me, time does fly!

rowenaz's avatar

Ummm. Make sure the BABY WIPES that you buy DO NOT have ALCOHOL in them.
When baby gets a wee bit of diaper rash, those wipes with the alcohol are ummm, cruel. I made that mistake, and I still feel guilty about it….

mzgator's avatar

Trust yourself and your own judgment. Take all the help you need. Take care of yourself and your marriage. Love your baby and enjoy the wonderful journey you are about to begin. Take loads of pictures. When you think you have taken too many…take more!! Time passed too quickly. My daughter will be fifteen years old in January, and I think often….where has the time gone?

Congratulations. You will be a great Mommy!

Miss_Lys's avatar

do not hold them 24/7 its okay if your baby crie sit will give them strong lungs but if you do hold your baby all the time he will become attached and wont even let oyu put him down to use the restroom, i would know because i help babsit, and believe, no offense to some people but boys are majority of the time a lot worse then girls, they mature faster, and i babysit this 1 year old boy and his parents hold him constantly so when its time to give him to the babysitter he expects to be held all the time.

chaosrob's avatar

No matter how little you can put away, start a savings account for college right now.

rowenaz's avatar

Another one – it is very important that after a few months, babies should soothe themselves to sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t remember when this starts – six months? But I DO know that you don’t want to be standing there forever rubbing, singing, rocking, etc – sometimes you really just want to go to sleep yourself!

This has a bit more information,,7fp0204j,00.html

allengreen's avatar

My wife thinks that nursing the kids was the most importaint decision she made. I think that avoiding giving dairy products to the young baby will decrease colds, infections, crankyness, and allergies.
I used to try and give my wife breaks as much as possible.

rowenaz's avatar

Yes, and lactation consultants ROCK. No one should suffer from dried cracked oozing nipples because she chooses to breast feed.

janbb's avatar

I second (third?) the vote for nursing. After having to have two Caseareans, it was very satisfying to be able to breastfeed my babies. Not to mention all the wonderful health and bonding plusses. One thing I will suggest is that if you want your baby to take a relief bottle ocassionally or when you go back to work, that you introduce it a bit sooner than they suggest. When my kids were babies, they advised waiting a month before trying to introduce a relief bottle and by then, my oldest would not take it. Not formula, not expressed milk, not from me, not from his father. With the younger, we gave him a bottle occasionally (every few days or so) after a week; he took it, and that gave me more freedom to have some longer breaks.

Knotmyday's avatar

Take a deep breath, and reconsider before losing your cool. Don’t fool yourself, you will get to that point one time or other. Give yourself time to calm down before addressing the issue(s).

cak's avatar

First of all, congratulations!

Second, don’t sweat the small stuff! There is no “rule” rook…no directions and yes, you are going to worry about things; however, if you love your baby, talk to your baby and laugh…you’ll be ok! Sleep when you can and enjoy this time, it goes by faster than you can imagine! Trust your instinct! (learn how to listen to it, is half the battle!)

Remember, if you are stressed, the baby will always pick up on it and react to it, so take that deep breath and relax. If you are overwhelmed, that’s what the crib or bassinet is for! It’s ok to put the baby down, walk out of the room and collect yourself, then start all over again.

I have two kids, 14 and 5 (I am NEVER going to have them out of school!) I wish I knew to relax and not worry so much, the first time around. You’ll do just fine!

Good luck to both of you!

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