20 Tips For The New Moms and Dads

Being a first-time mom, I had no idea what to expect the first few months. Most of the books I read said that parenthood would be filled with happiness (Think: rainbows and unicorns.) I'm here to tell you, don't bother with those books, becuse I'm convinced the authors must have written the books in the 60’s and 70’s when LSD was still legal. I am here to tell you, if you see a unicorn or rainbow it will most likely be because you have passed out from exhaustion or stress, hit your head VERY hard and went off to play with the fairies in unicorn land.

Being first-time parents is some seriously crazy sh!T. 

Below is a little list of tips and tricks I put together to help the unsuspecting new parent survive the first few months of parenting... with most of their marbles. 

  1. Try to keep a balance between parenting and partnering-- there are three people in this, don't push or be righteous about your ways. The truth is, the only predictable thing about a newborn is how unpredictable they are. Every baby is different, what works for one does not always work for the next. Be open to each other's methods so you can find the perfect one for your child.  
  2. Bask in the glory of being at the hospital, ask questions, sleep, eat, let the nurses help you.  I cannot recommend enough letting your baby go to the nursery while you sleep and have him/her brought back for feedings.  Trust me, the hospital sleep may be the best sleep you get for a few weeks. Or months.
  3. Newborns cry primarily over three things; hungry, wet/cold, tired. Check for all three first, and your guaranteed fewer tears. 
  4. Have no fear, you have superhero instincts! Not just mom, dad has superhero-dad instincts. TRUST THEM! 
  5. The baby WILL NOT do what you want or expect, so all ideas, plans, and routines must be thrown to the wolves. Chances are, your new bundle will let you know what’s up, about a second before it is 100% necessary for you to sort it out. The sooner you can get on a routine, the better. 
  6.  ALWAYS check your newborn's diaper before a sleep. Nothing sucks more than unessasry crying over a cold diaper mid-sleep.
  7. If you are breastfeeding, you can do it, sister!  Breastfeeding is hard, and a VERY VERY VERY selfless act. But, oh so worth it.
  8. The first few weeks of around the cock feeds are gnarly, to say the least.  Breastfeeding or not, there are loads of feedings in the 24 hour period--twelve to fourteen--so solid sleep is not going to happen.  You will quickly learn that while you think you have lost your sanity, you can still function. I
  9. EVERY time you feed change the diaper.  The last thing you want is for your baby to wake up mid sleep for a wet diaper.  How pissed at yourself will you be?  
  10. Switching your baby from wanting to party all night and sleep all day is a mission! It will take a while so be patient.  Naps in sunlight during the day, and little to no stimulation after dark is all you can do, baby will sort out the "rest." lol
  11. Having a baby is VERY stressful.  Chances are this will put your relationship with your partner/ Baby’s daddy under EXTREME pressure.  I have been even nastier to my husband then my pregnancy combined.  Yes, it is true I have screamed at him and even threatened divorce.  I have/had all these ideas in my head and my husband has/had his, we were very far apart on these ideas and have butted heads many times in the last 5 weeks.  We are doing better now.  I am also sleeping better…  
  12. SLEEP, EAT, AND MAKE “ME” TIME!  That goes for both mom and dad, and more than essential for the primary caregiver.  EVERY  DAY, you must eat breakfast and lunch, shower, use deodorant and ALWAYS put on clean clothes. Also leave the hose alone once every other day at least. Even if it is to drive around the block to hear your favorite song.  You are a mommy yes, but you are still YOU so make sure you remind yourself of that regularly.
  13. If someone offers to come over and help, LET THEM,  if someone wants to bring dinner, LET THEM!  You have to learn on your support group.  Call someone to let you nap if you have to.
  14. Sleep when baby sleeps! This is a little difficult for me.  I still have things I need to do around the house when he is asleep.   BUT!  I have learned that I have to nap with him in the afternoon or I am an exhausted agitated crank by night.  I make a “To Do” list and try to accomplish as much as possible in the morning and early afternoon then sleep with him after.  Sleep is so key during this time I cannot stress it enough!
  15. I tried to pull off a routine for nighttime that included bath, feeding and rocking.  I turn the lights low, reduce the noise and cut off stimulation once I put him down.  Unfortunately only I knew I was trying for a routine, Ollie and my husband thought it was a shitty idea and refused to follow the program.  I was pissed at first, but realized my son is only weeks old, not months and to have any expectations is foolish.  I have reduced my expectations to be stoked if he eats at midnight and sleeps until close to 4am so I will only have one middle of the night feeding.  Waking up only once during my normal sleep makes such a difference. I get up with him between 7-8am feeling pretty good this way.  
  16. By the end of the first month, things start becoming a little easier, not much but a little.  It’s hard right now because both you and baby are trying to figure out what the hell is going on and what you need to do to be happy.  I’m sure every baby is different but from talking with others I think the first month is about the same for all first-timers. It’s such a process and adventure.  
  17. ONE DAY AT A TIME!  One day will be complete shit, filled with tears, confusion and a possible fight with daddy.  The next will be smooth and wonderful.  Sometimes two bad days will come in a row and then two good days.  It definitely gets better... slowly but surely. 

Before you know it these days will be long gone, so try your best to embrace every bit.  Takes lots of photos, give lots of kisses and cuddles, and have faith in yourself that you are a great parent. 

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com