Becoming a parent comes with so much excitement, especially the first time around. New parents get to experience the magic of learning the baby’s gender, enjoying a baby shower, packing a hospital bag, and setting up their baby’s nursery. But plenty of first-time parents find many things to worry about like following all the doctor’s orders, reading tons of baby books, and making sure they have everything they need when their newborn arrives.
The truth is, no baby book is going to have all the answers for every parent. What works for someone else’s baby might not work for yours. But there are still plenty of simple tips to follow to make your first time taking care of a newborn a little easier.
Trust your gut when it comes to parenting
Being a new parent is hard. There will be tough days and moments of insecurity, but you’ve got this. No one knows your baby better than you. When in doubt, stick to the basics — feeding, changing, cuddling, and loving.
Accept help when you need it
With a newborn in the house, a new parent is no stranger to being exhausted. There will be times when you just need a hand. When someone you trust offers to help you, accept it. Let someone else hold the baby while you take a nap. Ask for help with housework and errands. Other parents in your life will be understanding and willing.
Sleep when your baby sleeps
Your baby is going to be on a weird sleeping schedule, which means you will be too. Nap when you can, particularly when the baby is also sleeping, so you can be on similar routines.
Be prepared for routine trips with baby
Try to have the things you need on hand at all times if you can, especially when you take baby out of the house. Always pack a clean set of clothes, just in case, along with diapers, milk, and pacifiers. Being prepared ahead of time can eliminate potential stress.
Take plenty of baby pictures and videos — and back them up
Make your favorite memories last longer by capturing them on your phone and share them with your friends and family. Be sure to back them up to a backup hard drive or cloud service so you don’t lose them.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You can trust your instincts on a lot of things, but sometimes you have to call for backup. If you’re not sure about something that’s going on with your baby, call your doctor or someone you trust.
Join groups for new parents
Find groups on social media to swap stories with. Spending so much time at home with your new baby can feel pretty isolating. Talking to others who are going through the same thing can be really helpful and comforting. And they will probably have a few tips to offer as well.
Take time for yourself
Your newborn will take up a lot of your time and attention, and they should! But you’re still an individual with your own needs and wants. Don’t lose who you were before the baby came along.
Make healthy choices
Of course, it’s important to choose healthy options when it comes to food, but don’t forget other daily choices too — the ways you spend your time, the activities you engage in, and the people you surround yourself with. It’s important to keep your body and mind healthy during those early days home with your baby.
Moms Share Their First Time Parenting Tips
“You will get advice from everyone and there will be experts to support every contradictory theory. Do what works for you, your baby, and your family.” –Elyse Taylor
“Embrace the mess, trust your instincts, don’t worry about what others think, accept any help that you can get.” –Sabrina Shankar
“Don’t take yourself so seriously. What you see on the internet and in the movies is not reality.” –Sarah Duckworth “Enjoy your time at the hospital just you, your spouse, and baby. You don’t have to let anyone interrupt those first hours.” –Brianna Wagoner