10 things all new parents need to know

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You know having a baby is a life changer, but what will it really be like after you bring your little one home? Your newborn baby might have a few surprises for you.

Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience that brings with it a mix of joy, excitement, and challenges. If you are a new parent, or about to become one, here are ten things you should know.

1. Being a parent is a huge responsibility, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Caring for a child can be demanding, but it is also an opportunity to grow and learn alongside your little one. Embrace the ups and downs and remember to celebrate the small victories along the way.

2. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure at first. No one is a perfect parent from the start, and it takes time to get the hang of things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from friends, family, and professionals. You are not alone in this journey. There are a range of excellent books and apps that can support you as well. You also don’t need to use all of the advice that is offered – trust your intuition and what works for you, your baby and your growing family.

3. Sleep is possible (sort of). Newborn babies spend most of their time sleeping and eating. They usually sleep for at least 16 hours a day, which can be helpful for new parents trying to get some rest. However, it’s important to note that the baby’s sleep schedule may not always align with your usual sleep schedule, especially if baby is experiencing day-night confusion. That’s why it’s important for new parents to take advantage of any opportunity to sleep when the baby is sleeping. This can be challenging, but it’s worth it in the long run. (And don’t worry, those dishes will still be there tomorrow).

4. Babies are always eating – yes, always. When your baby isn’t sleeping, they will be eating. That’s because newborn babies are always hungry! Their tiny stomachs fill up fast but also empty out just as quickly, so they’ll want to eat every two to three hours (or even more often during a growth spurt). It can feel like all you’re doing is feeding your little one, but that’s totally normal. Your baby is working hard to double their birth weight by about five months old, so they need all the nourishment they can get. Hang in there! Before you know it, your baby will be able to go longer between feedings.

5. Your child will not come with a manual. It’s important to be flexible and adapt to your child’s needs as they change and grow. Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. In addition, something that works today may not work tomorrow! A predictable schedule can help your child feel secure and make it easier for you to plan and manage your day. However, it’s important to be flexible and adapt your routine as needed.

6. Your child’s health and safety should be your top priority. Stay informed about things like vaccination schedules, car seat safety, and household safety measures. Keep your child’s doctor’s contact information handy, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns.

7. It’s important to take care of yourself too. Those first few months with a newborn can be tough, especially when it comes to sleep (or lack thereof). It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re in a fog or daze, forgetting simple things and struggling to complete a thought. This is the effect of sleep deprivation, which can be just as detrimental as being drunk. In fact, research has shown that getting too little sleep can impair your judgment and decision-making abilities. So, if you’re a new parent struggling with sleep, try to avoid making any major life decisions or purchases until you’re well-rested. More importantly, do your best to get enough rest, eat well, and find time for self-care. Parenting can be demanding, and it’s essential to take care of your own physical and emotional needs to be able to give your best to your child.

8. Babies are loud. As a new parent, it’s only natural to expect some crying from your newborn. But who knew that such a tiny human could make so much noise in other ways too? From grunts and slurps to ‘nappy thunder’, your baby may surprise you with the variety and volume of their noises. Don’t be alarmed, this is completely normal for a newborn! Just remember to keep an ear out for those cries, and you’ll be a pro at deciphering your baby’s different sounds in no time.

9. Parenting can be isolating at times, especially in the early days. Make an effort to connect with other parents and build a support network. Sharing your experiences with others can help you feel less alone, and you may pick up some valuable tips and insights along the way.

10. It will never be like this again. It’s hard to believe that your brand-new baby will grow up so fast! Before you know it, they’ll be moving beyond the ‘fourth trimester’ and developing into a full-fledged baby, then a crawler, then a toddler, and eventually a tiny talking person. As much as you may love (or hate) this stage, it’s important to remember that it will be over before you know it. So, take a moment to appreciate the sweet-smelling, helpless creature you’re doting on now, because they’ll never be this small and dependent again. Cherish every moment, because before you know it, they’ll be all grown up.