Words of Wisdom for the New Parents

Matt Garrett asked:

I can vividly remember when my first child was born, holding her in my arms for the first time and experiencing more emotions in just a few moments than I ever realized was possible. The mixture of joy, relief, wonder and awe was both exhilarating and a bit scary.

Along with the relief that both mother and daughter were well, was the sudden realization that I was now a father and it was dawning on me just what a daunting prospect that was…

Well, my oldest is now a teenager, so whilst I have gained a lot of experience thus far, the journey is far from over.

I thought I might try and share a few of the nuggets of wisdom that I have learnt for those who have just become parents and like I did, wonder what’s coming next.

Whatever you do, you must know that there really aren’t any clear-cut right or wrong answers. Having said that, here are my “words of wisdom” for new moms and dads.

For the new dads

Be active in your child’s life from birth. Be involved in diaper changing, feeding, bathing and a half dozen other activities. This is not only for your bonding with your new baby, but to help mom out a bit. Think about it for a minute. She just went through a pretty stressful birthing experience (even if it was an easy birth) and probably doesn’t feel like handling everything on her own. Help her out, pop.

Learn how to dress your baby. Go to parenting classes with mom and network with other new parents. I bet you will find that a lot of them have the same fears that you do. They may know things you don’t and vice versa. Interactivity is invaluable in this area.

Hold your baby at every possibility. A newborn has poor eyesight, so the only way he/she knows you is by your touch, feel, smell and sound. Newborns have heightened senses to allow for this. Touch him/her, talk to him/her and let them know you are there.

Be sure when you speak to your baby that you use soft tones. Remember the heightened senses? That includes hearing, dad.

For the new moms

Take every opportunity to be with your baby but do not spend every waking minute with him/her. You probably won’t have much time to yourself once you get home, so capitalize on what you DO get. Enlist the help of your husband or significant other, especially for the first two to three weeks.

New moms can be a little possessive and dominate every aspect of the daily care of baby.

Let dad do the some of the stuff that you would normally do like feeding, bathing and changing.

Keep him (dad) involved in baby’s daily life.

Get on the floor and play with baby. This lets baby know you love him/her. It also provides a sense of security which is very important to baby.

Make no mistake, the baby will cry. This can mean many things. All babies have cries that mean “I’m hungry” or ” I hurt” or “I’m scared” or “change my diaper”. You will notice the differences as you spend time with baby.

All these things will help you adjust to your new “parenthood”. Understand this; you will make mistakes. This is normal and shouldn’t cause you to think yourself a bad person. You are human and that is all it means. Just learn from those mistakes and avoid them in the future.

Most of all though, just love your baby and he/she will love you back. The rewards are great, as you will see.

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