Until he or she arrives, it’s very hard to know how you will adapt to life with a newborn. From ticking off the baby checklist to swaddling like a pro, in time you’ll find your way – but wouldn’t it be great if you could give one piece of baby advice to your past, expecting self? Here, mums and dads do just that.
What I know now: First-time parents share their baby advice
The first few weeks with a newborn baby can be some of the most moving – but that’s not to say they aren’t challenging, too. Being first-time parents opens up a whole new world – you’re learning the practical side of looking after your little one, all while getting to grips with a big lifestyle shift. Only time and experience will tell you just what your baby needs – but, to help in the meantime, we asked parents for the most valuable things they wish they’d known from the beginning.
Enjoy the ride.
Although parenting can be tiring and stressful, the rewards are worth it. As dad of a newborn, Craig says: “Being a dad is more challenging than I expected, but more rewarding than I ever imagined. It’s not always easy, but the pay-off is that you get to welcome this amazing new person into your family.” And every day offers opportunities for you to bond, from baby bath time to baby massage
Reconsider those newborn essentials.
Rather than making a long baby essentials checklist before your little one even arrives, it might be a good idea to wait until they are here. Of course, a new baby will need clothes and nappies straight away, but you can buy many other things as and when you need them. “We did a lot of shopping beforehand and picked up things we thought we’d need, but they were never touched,” explains Jenny, mum of one. “Similarly, we didn’t buy other bits but found we missed them, although in some cases our friends and family lent them to us”
Trust your way.
There are so many parenting styles and so much advice for new parents, but remember to trust your way. “We found that a lot of people were a little too keen to give their opinions, which were very strong,” says Cameron, dad of one. “Your instinct is usually correct”
When your baby comes along, he or she can soon become the centre of your family, but it’s important not to forget yourselves. You need just as much love and support as the new addition, as Cameron continues: “I would wholeheartedly suggest that new parents remember to focus on each other, rather than just focusing on the baby”
Consistency is key.
Although there are different ways of parenting, you will find you’ll soon get into your own familiar routine. “It really helps babies if they know what to expect and understand what’s coming,” says Laura, mum of two. “It also helped me enormously as a new parent.” Bathtime can be a good starting point for a routine and the rest of your day can fit around it
Welcome the change in priorities.
When you have a newborn baby, your life changes in an instant. With that special new addition to your family, many chores will slide down your to-do list to make way for this new, important little person in your life. “At the end of the day, as long as your baby is happy and healthy, that's all that matters – the housework can wait,” says Sanchia, mum of one