Tips for New Parents

So, you are about to bring home your bundle or bundles of joy. You are thrilled to meet your baby. You are also a little nervous. Are they really going to let me take this living/breathing/eating/pooping human home? Do they trust me? How am I qualified to take care of a baby? Have they seen me?

The answer to all of your questions is: yes. You have read up on babies as many possible, but do you know the things they haven’t told you? Here is the list of tips for new parents that Tim and I came up with during one of our hundreds of late-night feedings.

Tips for New Parents

  1. You will do baby laundry every single day or every other day. Be prepared for it. Thankfully you won’t use much detergent (we are still on our first container of Dreft after 2 months on twin laundry).
  2. Have a plastic tub on top of your washer with water and baby detergent. You will use this to put the items that have had milk spill on them. It will prevent stains and keep the sour milk smell at bay.
  3. Put a disposable changing pad over your nice pretty changing pad cover. This way, you won’t have to constantly wash the changing pad when it gets pee/poop/spit up/what-in-the-world-is-that? spots on it. We haven’t changed the white washable pad once, but we have changed the blue pad about once a day.
  4. Blue puppy training pads make excellent changing pad covers (see Tip #3)
  5. Always have extra clothes for both you and the baby/babies.
  6. For a winter baby, a $20 wipe warmer will be an incredible investment and save your ears from a screaming child.
  7. Know how you want to do things (routines, child-rearing, etc), but be flexible as things come up.
  8. Thin, cheap, baby washcloths make excellent penis covers (to absorb the pee) and quick spit-up cleaners.
  9. You can never have too many burp cloths.
  10. Baby wipes do more than just wipe bottoms. They also can be used as a spot treatment on clothes, nursing pillows, bedding, etc. as a quick fix so you don’t have to wash it right away.
  11. Work as a team. You need each other now more than ever.
  12. Have a sense of humor.
  13. It’s okay to call your children names during the midnight, 2 AM, 4 AM, and 5:30 AM feedings. It’s especially okay when they have spit up/peed/pooped on you, them, their bedding, the dog, and under the kitchen sink (how did they get there?) for the 4th time that night. Just do it in a loving voice, and they won’t remember the word you used.
  14. Drink caffeine. I went from drinking only water to loving iced tea (and a soda a day). It’s ok, in moderation!
  15. Have a TV/iPad/snacks, and water beside your nursing chair always!
  16. Allow yourself time for just yourself. You will only want to be away for about an hour or two before you can’t stand it anymore, but it is important to get away.
  17. You will love your baby/babies more than you ever thought possible. Your whole world will revolve around them. When you go out without your baby, the world will still look at you as a child-less adult, but inside you know that you are a part of the club known as Parents. Welcome!
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Comments

  1. And may I add my Tips for New Grandparents:

    1. Everyone wants to hold the babies (us included), but more importantly, do the things that will enable others to share the glow of holding babies–shop, do laundry, clean out kitty litter boxes, clean toilets. I promise, you will get plenty of baby holding time.

    2. Follow the routine of the parents wishes. Don’t assume you know how to do it better. We had our chance to do it our way with our own kids.

    3. Ask your kids what and how they want things done.

    4. As things change and routines change, simply keep up with the changes. Just learn them. No comments are necessary.

    5. Ask the parents if they would like you to stay with the babies so they can get out. Even for an overnight. Couples need time to be couples and thus will be stronger as a unit to confront any difficulties that come their way.

    6. Don’t take any suggestions to you personally. It is not meant to be so. It is just that they are the parents and want things to go as smoothly as possible.

    7. Don’t assume that you need to be there 24/7. The parents need time with their babies by themselves to figure out tools on their own.

    8. Wait for an invitation. If you are doing a good job at the above, you will get one.

    9. Never forget that the parents are still your babies. Love them for just them without starting every conversation “How are the babies?”

    10. Acknowledge how challenging this is for your kids and let them know that you are here if they need you.

    11. Make them food every now and then. Food=Love, and sometimes, to quote the Beatles, “All You Need is Love”.

    12. Send surprises to them by mail. Who doesn’t love getting surprises?

    13. Take lots of pictures. Document the joy that your kids are experiencing. These times pass quickly.

    14. Give them space. Raising babies takes time and energy. Don’t expect phone calls, updates every day. The parental units are not just sitting around. They are busy every second.

    15. Have a life. The best gift you can give your kids and grandkids is to be happy, fulfilled and active yourself. You can then bring so much more to them.

    16. Don’t be afraid to say if you can’t do something (mine is driving at night in the rain). They will understand.

    17. Thank God every minute of everyday for the miracle of having your heart grow by leaps and bounds at the new lives that are now residing within.

  2. All great pieces of advice…grandma’s too.

  3. These are so right for us too! I read this from start to finish, nodding my head along the way. I got a HUGE kick out of the name calling one, as well as the baby wipes one. Love it!

  4. Awesome tips and advice! I will add having “Muslin blankets”, I used them as nursing covers, swaddle blankets, car seat canopy…. I leave the house with two of them all the time.

  5. Haha! Love this list! I have to tell you–I never thought I’d do so much laundry AND to top it off, I cloth diapered. Once the newborn stage passed, I was only doing laundry 3 times a week, but still…. This is great!

    ~Erin from http://www.simplyrealmoms.com

  6. #13 – oh YES! 🙂

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