There are many things parents wish they knew before having a baby. Parenting is a never-ending topic and very useful information is often left out when advice is passed on. Parental advice usually covers the basic stuff which is extremely useful but new parents or those thinking of having a child need the details! Below are 10 things parents wish they knew before having a baby.
1. You will never be the same
New parents often think they are going to be the same people just with a child. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a child changes a person in the best way possible. Parents experience a love and bond that they never knew was possible. As a result of that love and strong bond, perspectives on life and values shift because your baby is now at the center of it all. The change is hard to describe yet impactful although it occurs gradually.
2. Don’t feel guilty about not wanting to get out of bed
Not only will you not want to get out of bed due to pure exhaustion but you will find yourself lying in bed thinking up elaborate ruses to get out of separating yourself from those soft sheets. Don’t feel guilty, it happens. Take a moment to dream and after those few seconds, get up. Diapers do not change themselves!
3. Your baby will run your life
There is no way around this. New parents often have this idea that the baby will fit into their lives and not the other way around. Tell this to a veteran parent and they will literally burst out in laughter. Babies run the show and they run it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Not only do they require diaper changes, bottles, baths, and lots of attention but after you take one look at that cute little face, you are not going to want to leave his/her side.
4. Be ready for anything
Once you have a baby, anything can happen. Seriously, anything and it probably will. This can include messes like you have never imagined, ruined clothing thanks to spit up (or something else), surprise costs and much more. Of course expecting the unexpected is hard to do so the best thing to do is have all your bases covered. Have an extra outfit or two for both you and the baby in the car, bring more diapers and wipes than you need, keep extra formula in the house, and always have additional money put away. All will come in handy at some point.
5. Do your own thing
Getting tips from your parents and friends is nice and much appreciated but don’t get overwhelmed by all that information because you are most likely going to do your own thing. Once the baby arrives, natural instincts are going to kick in and you will know what to do once you get the hang of things. It’s like both parents and baby are connected in the deepest way possible and parents just know. That’s the beauty of parenthood and is how individual parenting styles are developed.
6. Get on a schedule
Only time will tell if the baby decides to cooperate but you want your daily life to have some structure. Write out a daily schedule, hang it up and do your best to stick to it. With everything going on, you don’t want to face the day without direction. This way, the important things that have to get done, get done and you don’t find yourself struggling every day to get those essential tasks and errands complete.
7. You can never take too many photos
Some may not even think of photos or videos because they are only half conscious most of the day but parents want to capture as many moments as possible. Time goes by so fast and you will be sending your adorable bundle off to college before you know it.
8. Don’t be so hard on yourself
No one is the perfect parent. As long as your baby is fed, has a dry diaper, clean clothes and is showered with lots of love, you are doing a great job. There will be many challenges along the way and times that you wish you would have done things differently. When those times come, remember that you are doing your best.
9. Get a baby carrier now
A baby carrier will make a parent’s day so much easier. Get a safe, ergonomic carrier or sling that offers proper back support for your baby, put him/her in, and enjoy the many benefits. First of all, a carrier keeps parents hands free so the baby can be close while you go about your day. Secondly, a baby carrier helps babies sleep. The closeness carriers provide is very soothing and promotes a safe, deep sleep. This means you can use the carrier to get your little one on a schedule. Just put the baby in the carrier/sling and wait. They also provide colic relief and are great solutions for fussy babies.
10. Make time for yourself
Drop your son/daughter off at your parent’s house or hire a babysitter so you can take a few hours to yourself. Go out on a date with your spouse, get some sleep, sit down to an uninterrupted meal and/or go to the gym. Many parents will use time to themselves to run errands or another task that will benefit the household but this is a rare opportunity that permits you to be selfish. It is totally fine to go out and do what you want. It will benefit your sanity and give you a chance to breathe.
Isn’t the list above helpful? Knowing what to expect once you become a parent will do a lot of good and ensure you are better prepared for every twist, turn and challenge. Despite the fact that parenting is no walk in the park, it is amazing. Take it in, appreciate every moment, and remember not to neglect your other relationships. Happy parenting!