They say hindsight is 20/20. This phrase used to bug me because I felt that it focused too much on the past and not enough on the present. However, I do think it is pertinent to parenting as how we parent is a mix of past experiences and present intuition. I asked the experts (also known as my friends with children) what they wish they knew before they had children and compiled the following list of advice. You’ll notice that there are some conflicting points in this list. This is because everyone parents differently and you’ll find that sometimes parenting is one giant contradiction of what you used to do. Here’s to hoping it serves you well as you prepare to join the ranks of parent!
What I Wish I Knew
- Snuggle your newborn. Don’t obsess with creating the perfect schedule that will come with time.
- You will never, ever, sleep again.
- Don’t research so much. Do what works for you as long as your baby is happy and healthy.
- Each stage is just a phase.
- The “cheap” baby diapers work just as well as the expensive ones, especially for during the day and newborns (when you’re changing them 8-12 times a day).
- Take pictures and write things down. Time passes quickly and you will not remember the little things.
- Research everything! Don’t take any advice blindly because nobody knows your baby better than you do.
- It is okay to ask for help. It does not mean that you are weak or a bad parent. You are strong enough to know your limits.
- Get very comfortable with poop.
- You will regret going to a restaurant with your toddler. But you will do it again.
- Making “mom friends” is worse than dating.
- If you have a boy, you WILL get peed on at least once.
- When something feels off, it probably is off. Don’t be afraid to question your child’s pediatrician; you know your child better than anyone.
- How incredibly overwhelming and scary the first few months can be.
- Every child brings a different journey, even twins, especially preemies.
- There are going to be overwhelming days. It is okay to put the baby down and walk away for a few minutes to collect yourself, even if the baby is screaming and crying.
- Personally, I think this piece of advice is absolutely invaluable to new parents. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. It is okay to walk away and breathe or cry.
From “Seasoned” Parents
These responses came from individuals who have survived infancy and toddler-hood. Their children are now teenagers or older.
- I wish I knew all the emotions that come with raising a child.
- How truly hard it is to raise beautiful human beings.
- The worrying never ends!
- There is no manual – once you get home from the hospital you are on your own.
- Blissful Birthing now offers individual Baby Basics classes aimed at parents with babies less than one month old, to help you through this especially challenging time.
- How bittersweet it is when they leave home.
- The kids do grow up too quickly, but there is a life with them as adults that you’ve never imagined.