Things I Wish I Knew When I Got A Baby - 6 Tips from 5 Parents
Have you ever looked back in time and thought about the things you didn't know back then, but know now, and how they would have made a difference if only you knew them?
Well, when it comes to becoming a parent there will always be things you'll only fully understand when you become one. But, there are some things you can make yourself aware of beforehand.
We've asked 5 parents about their most important advice they would give their expecting selves (before their baby was born), hoping that their experiences might help you too. Here is what they said:
1) Educate yourself
With information easily accessible everywhere these days, from books to articles, blogs and Youtube videos, you can find information about nearly anything you wonder about, just remember to check the information sources before taking any advice too seriously :) We love checking out Science Daily to keep ourselves up to date with the latest research. When it comes to a good book about birth, mama @ksienkphoto recommends:
"Here's the #1 book I suggest to all mamas: Natural Hospital Birth 2nd Edition: The Best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel. It's extremely positive and doesn't shame any choice that people decide to make for their birth. It centers around an unmedicated hospital birth, but I think it's a good read even if someone is considering (but still on the fence) about an epidural."
2) Take more maternity photos and record your birth
Mama @dani.vaz18 shares:
"I recommend to take more maternity pictures and to record the birth, so that the parents could have memories to look at after. I didn't really get the chance to get professional pictures done because of COVID. However, I could've taken more pictures of myself to cherish and look at. I also would have recorded my birth because it was once in a lifetime opportunity. Yes, I might have more kids, but no birth will ever be the same. It would have been a great memory to have on footage to look back on and honestly laugh! Doing these two things would also be great to show the little one once he is old enough!"
Make sure to also check out our Newborn Photography tips if you are planning on taking any baby photos yourself (duh.. 🙄 ).
3) All struggles are temporary
Mama @ksienkphoto wishes she would have known (or fully understood) just how temporary all the struggles are in the beginning.
"I breastfeed my daughter and no one told me when I started that I wasn’t going to leak breastmilk forever. I had a huge over supply and I would leak through shirts and pads like crazy. I honestly thought that was going to last forever so I stocked up on a bunch of supplies that I never ended up using because my supply leveled off. Another time there was a two day period where Sienna preferred drinking pumped milk from a bottle vs. breastfeeding. And in those two days I flipped out reading tons of blogs and ordering special bottle nipples so I could get her back to preferring breastfeeding. Turns out it was just a temporary phase that I need to ride out. I also remember being so worried that we didn’t have enough long sleeve shirts for my daughter when she was first born. So much so, I was calling up local stores to see if any had them in her size. I finally found some and I think she might have worn them for two weeks before out growing them."
4) Be flexible
Building on the previous point, mama @kellymemoria has an important reminder about stress and flexibility:
"I think being flexible in parenthood is a skill. Preparation is good, reading all the books is fine- but do it with a reasonable assumption that most of it will be totally irrelevant to your specific circumstance as a parent. Let your baby teach you what they need, and let yourself flex and bend beyond your rigid expectations of what being a parent would look and feel like. As your child gets older, you’ll look back at what you thought parenthood would be like and have one of two reactions- you’ll laugh at your naivety, or you’ll resent the experience you had. You choose."
5) You will never be 100% ready, so relax. You will learn with experience
Mama @tdoka4 explains:
"Being a mother is a different experience for everyone. I thought I was fully prepared.. physically, mentally and emotionally but I learned that you can never be 100% ready... reading and getting all info is not the same as experiencing it... managing expectations and speaking up are the two biggest lesson I learned."
6) Ask for help
No one is a superhuman who can "do it all" and it's natural and 100% OK to ask for help. Mama @travinator explains and shares her tips on how to get to it:
"Remember, most people WANT to help you all, but don’t know how best to. Give them direction and boundaries. Ex: don’t get up when people come in. Instead, have them do something for you (warm up the soup that’s in the fridge, grab you some water, etc) before coming in for baby snuggles. You may also find a printed chore chart helpful. When someone asks “how can I help?” you can direct them to it and that sets the expectation for next time. We personally didn’t go this route, but we know others who said it was a game changer. If it is hard for you to let others do for you, as it was for me, then this is the time to learn how to flex that muscle. You can do it! (Remember this is only step one of parenting-you’ll need help going forward, too!) Finally, make sure to express gratitude. For others and yourself!"