Go with the flow – Jen B
The best advice I ever got was to “go with the flow.” As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like to make plans. I would be perfectly happy if I could plan out every detail of my daily life months in advance. Unfortunately, when dealing with babies, things don’t always go according to plan. For example, I wanted to make all of my daughter’s baby food from scratch, but after just a few weeks I realized that, with all of the other things going on in my life, it was just easier to buy the jarred food. I still made some of her food, when I had time, but I didn’t panic when my plans changed. I’m not saying that new parents shouldn’t ever make plans, but it is important to be flexible, to “go with the flow.”
Sleep while your baby sleeps - Jen G
When I first heard these words of advice from a sweet little old lady in the produce department of my supermarket I said “OK” with a big question mark in my furrowed brow. As friends and family members shared the same advice, I wondered why everyone was so concerned about my sleep. As my sleep deprivation continued, I realized that maybe I should listen and not try to do a dozen different chores or catch up on phone conversations while my daughter was napping. I felt like nap times were the only time during the day when I could get things done or do what I wanted to do. When my daughter was young, I would inevitably be woken up multiple times during the night and wake up just a tad less than refreshed the next morning. But if I took a nap with her, not only was it easier to get her to take a nap, but I actually got some rest as well! Then I was ready to conquer the afternoon. Our nap time together became a beloved ritual that my daughter, now a very energetic 3-year-old, and I still indulge in...once in awhile.
Accept help - Jane
Actually, the total gist of the advice was “accept all help that is offered and when you are ready, offer help to others.” As I explained in an earlier post, I did not have my own mother around to help me when I had my children. My independence and my ability to accomplish things on my own were very important to me and I believed that my husband and I did not need any outside help in caring for our children. Fortunately, I realized quickly that I was just being naive. Taking care of a newborn is more than a 200% time job. When you add household chores, paying bills, work tasks, and other outside responsibilities to child care duties, it is no wonder that new parents feel crushed by it all. I learned to accept the help that was offered to me and to “pay it forward” to other new parents whenever I got the opportunity. Believe me, it is worth it for yourself, your partner, and your baby. Accept help.
Accept advice but make informed decisions - Kerri
As a new parent, getting advice is almost unavoidable. Even when you don’t ask for it, people seem to need to tell you what they did and why you should do it too. I recommend accepting advice you are given, then picking and choosing which advice to follow. As you’ll see next week, people can give some pretty strange advice to new parents. If someone gives you advice that seems a little strange, do some research and see if it is something you want to try. I think it is most important to make an informed decision and to never do anything you aren’t comfortable with. There are wonderful resources for new parents (this blog included, although I may be a little biased) and you can always discuss any questions you have with your pediatrician.
Next Time: The worst advice we ever received