You’ve probably landed here because you’re expecting a child, a new parent, or just being curious about parenting. Being a new parent can be thrilling and overwhelming at the same time. You are about to enter a new phase of your life; you just want to explore this new parenthood journey. However, as you’ve probably heard the journey isn’t a bed of roses. There are uncertainties and lots of doubts along the way.
You have to understand that you are not the first new mum in this whole hustle and juggle, and you won’t be the last. Are you wondering how you will take care of that little angel? Stick here for some of the best parenting tips as a new parent.
1. Take Time For Yourself
When the baby comes, your life will take a different path and become a whole lot busier. Having a newborn is one of the best things that would happen to you. Nevertheless, you won’t be able to engage in the activities you are used to doing daily or weekly. Hence, it’s recommended that you try make the most of what you can while you still have the time.
Go to that movie you have been meaning to watch, book yourself in for a manicure, spend time with friends. It might be sometime before you get used to the everyday life of having a baby involved.
2. Bonding And Soothing The Baby
‘Bring him into the world, and don’t be a mystery to him,’ John Badalement, author of the modern dad’s dilemma. Bonding and soothing is a massive part of being a new parent. The two usually happen in the first few days after the baby is born. The first few days are great when it comes to making a deep connection with the baby—attachment to an infant contributes to a deep emotional connection.
There are several ways of bonding with the baby, for instance, cuddling the baby, gently stroking them in different patterns. You can also try skin to skin bonding. Hold the baby against your skin while feeding the baby. Your teenager won’t want to sleep in your bed, so take this chance to cuddle your baby.
Another best parent tip when it comes to soothing is infant massage. However, you have to go gently on the massages as babies are fragile. You can ask your midwife for recommendations on how to go about this.
Baby loves vocal sounds like talking, babbling, and cooing. Such sounds may not only fascinate them but also stimulate the baby’s hearing.
Swaddling keeps the baby warm while giving them a sense of security and comfort. This also helps in limiting reflex. You shouldn’t swaddle the baby after they hit 2months. Some babies of this age can roll over, increasing their sudden risk of infant death syndrome (SIDS).
3. Feeding your Baby
How many times should you feed your baby? This is a question that new parents wonder about. Feeding your baby on demand is a great parenting tip for all new parents. A baby usually gives cues when they require food. Some of these signs include crying, making sucking noises, or putting their fingers in their mouth.
The recommended frequency to feed a new-born baby is every two to three hours. If you are breastfeeding the baby, give them 10 to 15 minutes to feed on each breast. In case your baby is feeding on formula milk, then 2 -3 ounces (60- 90milimetre) is recommended per feeding.
It would help if you wake up the newborns every 4 to 5 hours to ensure that they keep topped up with regular feeds. However, if you find yourself often having to wake up your baby for feeds, it’s best to ask your midwife/doctor if there could be any underlying health conditions.
4. Changing Your Baby’s Nappy
Another parenting tip is to change your baby’s nappy frequently. The number of times you change depends on how sensitive the baby’s skin is. Some babies have delicate skin, and they have to change their nappies as soon as they are wet to prevent their skin from getting sore and red.
You should change the baby immediately after they poop to avoid nappy rash. You may need to change the baby’s nappy as much as 10 to 12 times a day.
Before changing the baby’s nappies, ensure that your hands are clean. Be sure to have those clean nappies, nappy ointment and nappy wipes at the ready.
In case you are using cloth nappies, you should wash them using fragrance-free detergents. You should also let baby have some nappy-free time throughout the day to ensure that their skin breathes.
5. Connect with Your Partner
When a baby comes in the way, it might not be easy to maintain closeness with your partner; however, this shouldn’t be the case. Now, more than ever, it’s time to get close together and walk into this transition together. Connecting with your partner is a great parenting tip as you can find yourself losing your relationship with the baby’s arrival. Set dates once a week, even if it’s in the house. Talk about things you fear aren’t working and those that are.
This is the moment where you are going through a major identity shift. If you manage to find a babysitter that you’re comfortable with try go out as a couple even if you decide to talk about the baby the whole time.
6. Don’t Be Afraid of Getting Help
It’s your first time doing this and getting help from your friends or relatives won’t cause you any harm. You may think that you’ve had it all figured out, but you need all the help you need. If you disagree with what your friends or family are doing, don’t dismiss their experience.
One of the things as first-time parents that we needed help on within the first couple of weeks was feeding. We realised that you shouldn’t feel guilty about anything, especially putting restrictions on visitors so that you have the time and space to figure things out for you and baby. We highly recommend talking to expert available to you if you are struggling with feeding. Normally, hospitals have feeding specialists/ lactation consultants who can help you with different aspects of holding, burping, and changing the baby’s nappies.
7. Handling A New Born
Babies are fragile creatures and it can get intimidating to carry them. One of the best parenting tips for new parents is to first of all ensure that your hands are always clean.
Unlike adults who have a strong immune system, children’s immunity is weak, and they can easily catch germs. You should wash your hands before carrying the baby. Alternatively, you can sanitise them.
When carrying the baby, always support the baby’s neck and cradle. When laying the baby down or holding them upright, always ensure that you support the baby’s head.
Additionally, you should be gentle when rocking your newborn. Be sure not to overdo it as this can lead to potentially hurting baby without realizing it.
8. Be Kind To Yourself
Another parenting tip is to be kind to yourself. Being a new parent comes with a lot of mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes. Remember it’s your first time doing this, hence the more reason to be gentle with yourself. You can never be right every time and making mistakes is part of it all.
You need to trust yourself and accept that being a new parent is not all about knowing. There are many fears involved. You only need to keep up with the basics: touch, love, singing, milk, and patience. Everything else will fall into place.
9. Get As Much Sleep As Possible
Exhaustion is a huge part of being a new parent. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are likely to be stressed and project it to those around you, including the baby. Sleeplessness can reduce new mums and dads to tears. Since children’s sleeping patterns differ, it’s best to go to sleep the moment your baby naps and get the most out of it.
10. Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Parents
Every parent’s experience is different; so, you need to go easy on yourself. You must know that your good is best enough and your experiences would be different from others. Find out what works for you and make it your right. Don’t let how others are doing cloud your judgment.
Listen to other people’s advice and don’t take other people’s suggestions. Remember, no two babies are the same.
11. Enjoy Every Second With Your Baby
Appreciate the little things that your baby has; this includes their soft skin, how they cry, when they smile, their breaths, the looks on their faces when they see things for the first time. These little things may not seem important to you now, but they will matter.
Enjoy every minute even with the lack of sleep as every day is a gift, and children grow up so fast.
12. Go Small With The Transitions
As much as children grow up fast, let them do it at their own pace; you need to go small with the significant changes. Soon they will move from bottle to sippy cup and from crib to bed. These changes can be overwhelming for your child, and even if you are transitioning, let the process be slow and smooth.
Once your child gets used to the new experiences you are trying to introduce to them, you can officially make the changes.
13. Trust Your Guts
Those parental instincts that come with being a new parent, listen to them. Even if you can’t diagnose what’s wrong when your child feels unwell, your gut would tell you that you need to get them checked up as soon as you can.
14. Own Your Mistakes
Owning your mistake is a parenting tip that most new parents are unaware of. It might be challenging to admit that you are wrong. However, you need to get used to apologising both to your partner and your child. Your child will then grow up knowing it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they admit and apologise for them.
15. Spend Time Outside
Try spending a few minutes each day outside the house with your child. Escape the screens and enjoy the beauty of outdoor activities. Enjoy a breath of fresh air and let sunshine penetrate your skin. Your child will undoubtedly thank you for life.
16. Answer The Endless Why Questions
Children are naturally curious beings, particularly if they are becoming a new brother or sister. When they get older and develop speech, they will certainly start asking you why questions. You shouldn’t dismiss your children or get tired of answering those questions; otherwise, they might stop asking them. Answering the questions make a child happy. Also read a guide on happy child growth.
17. Back-Up Your Photos and Videos
Unfortunately, as one child grows, they won’t go back to being small. In as much as this seems obvious, you want to keep those memories. You don’t want to lose the irreplaceable digital memories. It would be best to back up those pictures and videos on hard drives or to the cloud to ensure that you forever keep the memories with you.
18. Let Your Children Know That You Love Them
This shouldn’t only be in words but also actions. Tell your child how you appreciate them being in your world and how much they mean to you as their parent. As much as you correct and guide them, know your boundaries. Say I love you as many times a day, no matter how many times you feel a day, too many mushy words of affection or several smooches can’t spoil a child.
19. Know When To Toilet Train
Look for the signs that your baby is ready to use a potty. It could either be the urge to pee or poop. Note that this is different from knowing that he has already gone and asks for a nappy change. Read more about kids potty training here.
Being a new parent isn’t a walk in the park. It comes with lots of lessons, laughter, tears, and learning. You will realise everyone’s parenthood journey is different. The above parenting tips are great for getting you started.