I will be expecting my first child in a few short weeks. I am of course beyond excited to meet my baby! But, as the due date is approaching, I have fears that have been popping up, too. Will I be a good parent? Will I be able to breastfeed? Did I get the right car seat? Do I have enough clothes? Do I need a wipe warmer? And, the list goes on and on… Yes, I am a pediatrician, so I do know a thing or two about caring for babies, but there are a lot of things you do not learn in medical school. I did not get any training on how to be a parent (does anyone?). So, I can fully empathize with expecting parents!
Throughout the course of my pregnancy I have gotten a lot of advice. I appreciate experienced families sharing with me tidbits about being a parent. I find those that have already gone through being “new parents” are a great resource. I will also say that it can be difficult at times to sift through all the advice in books, blogs, and even from friends and family. I came across this short little piece that shares a few tips to being a happy parent, written by a pediatrician. Most seem like common sense. I am sure that at some point when I am sleep deprived and doing a 3 AM feeding, I will want to remind myself of these tips. I feel some of the advice may also still hold true for seasoned parents. I hope you find them helpful! We all want to be good parents.
- Trust Yourself.
Some new parents get emotional whiplash flipping between feeling like you’ve got the job nailed…and feeling like a rookie. But, you know what? You are the newest, shiniest link in an unbroken chain of successful parents that stretches back to the beginning of time! Things may actually get much stickier later on (fears, unfair friends, teen traumas, etc.). But, for now, you will be a total success if you just keep to the basics: love, touch, singing, milk and patience.
- Be Kind…to Yourself.
If you’re like many new parents, you’ve barely ever maybe even touched a newborn – before you had your own – yet you think you should automatically be a baby care pro. Please, ask that “judge” in your head to take a hike. Be as supportive to yourself as you would be to your best friend or significant other. That’s a sure path to great satisfaction and happiness.
- Accept All the Help you Can Get.
Never before in history have moms and dads been expected to care for their newborns…all alone. When parents are working, you may even be more pressed. So don’t hesitate to ask or pay for help if you are able. Lean on family and friends for support and most people genuinely want to help. Who doesn’t love babies? You’ll get more sleep and enjoy your beautiful growing family more fully
- Be Flexible.
You will naturally find that some parenting philosophies will make more sense than others. It is great to have ideas and plans, but our children are here to challenge all of our preconceived expectations. Stay flexible, especially when things aren’t going as planned (as that will happen!). You may be surprised how “just rolling with it” can keep your mood going.
- Keep Your Sense of Humor Handy.
Remember, perfection is only found in the dictionary. So, forget dignity, forget organization, be gentle with yourself, and laugh, laugh, laugh! Laughter raises your spirits and lowers your stress!
- Take Care of Each Other. And Do Some Fun Stuff!
Caring for your baby is only half your job; the other is giving your significant other some TLC.