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5 things we wish we knew as first time parents
First time parents?
Planning on having your first kid?
Already on its way?
We just had our second one a couple of weeks ago and it’s amazing how we “ignored” almost everything in five years.
But we remembered pretty fast.
And that got us an amazing head start compared to our first time.
We are much calmer parents today than we were five years ago when we had our first son.
And we are enjoying a lot more these first few weeks of our newborn, when compared to the oldest one. Being calmer and knowing what to expect and do is a MAJOR difference.
We know we won’t be able to make you feel as calmer as we are now. You’ll probably feel this way in your second.
But we want to share with you a few tips, from our experience, that will make you, if not calmer, more aware of what the next few weeks will be like.
Our top advice for first time parents is to be prepared, and this article is all about helping you be prepared for a few things most first time parents ignore.
Often our friends and family seek us for parenting tips, advices and hacks. Normal questions from a first time parent.
And this is pretty much what we tell them to expect in the upcoming months.
If you want to go deeper, we would advice you to read the following book:
First-Time Parent: The honest guide to coping brilliantly and staying sane in your baby’s first year.
We read it five years ago and it was very helpful.
What we share with first time parents
1. The birth won’t probably be the best thing ever
Some of our friends have that dream that the birth will be absolutely beautiful, as if in a movie, with an immediate connection with the baby…
We had that dream also.
But reality might not be that way and you should be prepared. Specially moms.
The baby will arrive a bit “dirty”, most likely not as beautiful as you would expect (ours looked like an Easter Island Statue due to the usage of forceps).
And probably even smaller and fragile than you ever imagined.
This was probably my biggest struggle from the oldest one birth. Since he had a few minor issues, he was taken from me right after the birth.
I saw him very quickly but he got in my arms only almost one hour later. My husband stood with the baby a little longer.
Somehow, I didn’t feel the connection and love I thought I would. Probably because I was more concern about his health.
At first I was a bit worried but with the time spent with the baby, it really started to grow in me an absolute and unconditional love.
With our second one was a lot faster but it helped that he came straight to my arms after the birth.
Whatever happens, stay calm because, specially moms, suffer a lot for not feeling that immediate connection.
Some mothers even blame themselves for not building that immediate connection.
Time will build that connection, don’t worry. With our 5 years old one, it’s even stronger today than it was five years ago.
2. Be prepared for not being prepared
Let’s face it. Everything will be new.
You may have helped your friends’ newborns or even your nephews, but this time will be different.
This one will be on you. The nights will only be yours to face and you should be ready to accept that unexpected things will happen.
And it’s normal. Very normal, in fact.
You’ll be dealing with a person that doesn’t know a thing, not only about the exterior world, but also about their own body.
And, adding to that, they won’t be able to communicate and tell you exactly what they need.
3. They won’t talk, but they’ll communicate
Let us tackle the lack of communication right now, otherwise you’ll get depressed with so many tough things coming your way.
One thing that you will learn from a first birth, that you will easily take to your second one, is your understanding of what the newborn really wants and needs when they’re crying.
For instance, if the newborn kicks the air a lot while screaming, it most likely means that he or she needs your help regarding colics.
On the other hand, if your newborn is a bit agitated and…
These are all signs of a hungry baby. And this baby is asking for food.
If after they end up eating, they are not yet comfortable and are still moaning, it most likely means they need to burp.
So, as parents, being us first time parents or not, we must pay attention.
Crying is their way of communicate. Don’t freak out and just identify the reason and act accordingly.
This awareness is probably the major difference between the first and the second birth.
And listening is probably one of the most important things a parent can and needs to do. Not only when they’re newborns but throughout their lives.
In fact, if you want, in the future, your kids to listen to you, you need to listen to them first.
Start on you baby’s day one.
4. The colics will be a nightmare
The colics were an absolute nightmare with the first one and are also with the second one.
Well, with the first one they were a nightmare. With the second are just annoying.
We know exactly what is happening and we can just assist our younger son to get through this.
The body of a newborn is in a daily mutation and a few things we just need to have some patience with. Colics are one of them.
Until they can, independently, expel the gas and poop, they will be uncomfortable.
It is very normal, so don’t worry.
In fact, one thing you can do is to contact the newborn paediatrician and ask for advice on the best things to minimize your baby’s discomfort.
Of course we can’t answer for what each paediatrician will recommend, we can just share what ours recommended and what’s been working with us.
Not all kids are the same and what works with ours might not work with yours. Talking to your paediatrician is always the best option.
5. Have a schedule for your newborn
And stick to it.
But don’t go by the clock.
Remember that this is more about a routine, or a rhythm.
If you want your newborn to sleep in the night and being more awake in the day, having a schedule and some rules is really important.
Have specific routines for eating, cleaning, bath, sleeping, everything.
It sounds a bit harsh being them so tiny but it’s really important as it is a great way to avoid surprises.
If the baby is used to a specific schedule, you know exactly what and when to expect almost everything.
Our oldest son only once made a scene outside our place and he was absolutely right about doing it as we failed the eating time.
We knew that was coming and we got it.
During the day, with our newborn, even if he is sleeping, he is sleeping in the living room, lights on or blinds up, TV or music playing, although with the sound level a bit lower.
This is important because he needs to understand the times of the day. And we also want him to be able to sleep under any circumstances.
And the sooner he understands that, the better.
Below is our current schedule. And he is two weeks old.
Share this schedule on Pinterest with your audience
It doesn’t mean that we follow it hour by hour, but we try to. It gives us some guidelines for our day and helps the baby get in a routine.
Being first time parents is an absolutely magical period
It won’t be easy, with lots of doubts and fears, but what you’ll get in return is amazing.
It won’t be immediate, but pay attention to the daily victories your newborn will have.
Each day there will be a first time for something.
In fact, there is a great book that will guide you to what you should expect from you baby’s first year.
For more anxious parents, this is a great read that will help you have a better idea about what is ahead of you.
Enjoy your little one.
If you have any question, feel free to email us or add a comment below.
P.S. As a final note, and this is more for the fathers, you have a very important mission for the first month of the baby: stall the visitors. Let the baby have a quiet time to connect with the parents and with the outside world.