There’s a lot of information out there on all the things you need to do to prepare for a new baby. Everyone has their own idea of what is considered to be the most important advice for new parents.
There’s no complementary instruction booklet that comes with your newborn. New moms and dads are left to sort through a sea of advice. This can feel overwhelming when you’re already trying to adjust to life with your little one.
As parents ourselves, here's a recap of the best new parenting advice we’ve ever received all in one place. Everyone has an opinion on the right way to take care of a newborn. The more opinions you hear the more you’ll realize that they don’t all work for every baby or every family.
First-time parents are often scared into believing there is only one way to navigate postpartum life. The truth is, there are many ways to take those parenting tips and make them work for you and your family.
Here’s a list of advice that you can start using today and tweak to fit your lifestyle.
1) Good-Night Baby, Good-Night Mom and Dad
One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice for new parents is, “Sleep when the baby sleeps”.
The reason why it gets passed around so much is that it’s so true.
Especially in those early days when sleep deprivation is at its peak: sleeping when you can has to become a priority. Sleep heals you physically and refreshes your mental state.
Fitting in some extra naps with your newborn baby is a stepping stone to fighting against postpartum depression. It’s a lot easier for your body to stay regulated when it’s running on full steam.
Not only will extra rest make you feel better, it also helps you be the good parent you want to be for your little one.
2) Don’t Stress About Noise Control
When you’re focusing on your baby’s sleep there are still other things going on in the world around you.
Maybe you have older children, you live on a busy street, or the back door squeaks every time you let the dog out. Noise is something you can’t control.
Understandably, new parents are sometimes desperate for their baby to go to sleep and stay asleep. Your instinct is to keep everyone and everything quiet within earshot of your baby.
This is a setup for failure. Noise happens, so just let it happen.The constant hum of the television or a conversation in the next room can help your baby stay asleep and avoid being startled by a sudden sound.
If your baby is an exceptionally light sleeper, the white noise of a sound machine or fan can drown out distractions that might keep them awake.
3) Take the Help You Need
Although people are now circling back to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, there is still a stigma that to be the perfect parent you must do it all yourself.
Steer clear of that kind of mindset. You don’t have to do it all on your own. Accepting help is what gives you the space to be a good parent.
Spend time cuddling up and bonding with your baby while someone else makes dinner.
Ask a trusted friend to carpool your older kids to school for the week.
Don’t be afraid to get a babysitter to take over for a few hours. It’s a wonderful way to step out of the new-mom role and reset.
When you come back refreshed you are better able to meet your baby’s needs.
4) Trust Your Mommy Intuition
You and your baby are starting this new life together. No one knows your baby the way you do.
With the overload of advice you get from your family, your friends, your pediatrician, and every online influencer, you have to be able to pick and choose what feels right for you.
If your neighbor tells you that their baby sleeps so much better in bed with them, but you don’t feel comfortable with that, then don’t do it.
A parenting practice that doesn’t sit well with you won’t benefit you in the long run.
Don’t try to force the latest baby food trend because it seems like everyone else is having success with it. Follow your gut, not social media.
5) Feed Your Baby. Period.
It seems like a silly thing to say. Of course, you feed your baby. How you feed your baby shouldn’t be a choice you make to please other people.
Both breastfeeding and formula feeding are great options for feeding your new baby. Breastfeeding is convenient because it’s ready on demand. Breastmilk is specially tailored for your baby’s unique body and easily digested.
But there can be painful latch issues to work through. It’s can also be mentally draining for an already overwhelmed new mom.
Formula feeding can be done by anyone caring for the baby and you know exactly how much they’re eating.
But it can be a guessing game to find a brand that agrees with your baby’s tummy. And you might have to go home early if you don’t pack enough for an outing that takes longer than expected.
You don’t have to be exclusive with one or the other. Your pediatrician can help you find the right balance of formula and breastmilk if you think a combination is best for you.
Feed your baby the way that keeps you both happy and healthy.
6) Cut Yourself Some Slack
Parenting is hard. Whether you just came home with your first baby or your fourth, this journey is a constant challenge.
Be proud of yourself for all that you’re doing. You don’t always need to be a perfect parent. Do your best with what each day has to offer you.
Don’t worry about what chores you didn’t get done or that grocery trip that didn’t go according to plan. Let the moment pass and don’t dwell on it.
If you had yet another sleepless night and all you can do today is the bare minimum, that is enough.
Don’t set your expectations based on what you see on social media. Even the mom-fluencers who seem to have it all together all the time are struggling in their own ways.
To give yourself grace in this stage of life is the best advice you can take.
7) Smile for the Camera
First-time moms and dads quickly find out that living with a newborn baby starts to make the days run together.
Parents welcoming a second or third little one are reminded all over again how time flies. Before you know it your baby is hitting those big milestones—rolling, crawling, walking.
So document as much as you can.Take pictures of the holiday outfits, the birthday cakes, and the messy faces at the dinner table.
And get yourself in the pictures too. These memories aren’t just for you, your children will want these someday and they’ll want to see you.
Fill out the baby book as often as you can. There will come a day when you won’t know what their favorite food was when they turned one year old. Writing it down will jog your memory the moment you go back to read it.
Pictures and stories of the little things that seem mundane—or even annoying—will bring back moments you thought you’d never forget.
Those chubby baby cheeks soon disappear and you’ll be happy you captured the memory.
8) Thank Your Body
Most people will not have advice for you about your postpartum body. If you’re a first-time mom this can be a little shocking.
Your body created a new life, stretched and moved organs to accommodate that growing life, experienced the most intense physical demands it’s ever been through to release life into the world, and then immediately went into Caretaker Mode to continue to meet your baby’s needs.
- Say it out loud, “Thank you, body. You’re amazing.”
- Don’t rush the healing process. Get back to activities by starting slowly.
- Stand up and stretch after sitting for a long feeding session.
- Go for a short walk with your baby snug in the stroller.
Don’t worry about your pre-baby body. She had a nice run, but you’re not going back to her.No matter how much you “bounce back” your body is different than it was before. And that’s okay.
9) Go Outside
First-time parents fall in line with their baby’s schedule whether they want to or not. When you’re in survival mode for those first few weeks, you seize every opportunity to eat, sleep, and do something hygienic for yourself.
If you don’t have other children or a job calling your name for a while it’s easy to forget that you can leave the house.
Your home is your safe spot where you have everything you need within reach. It’s okay if you’re not ready to venture too far yet.
There are great way to change the scenery which might be all it takes to soothe a fussy baby—or a fussy mom:
Take a few steps out into your yard to feel the grass under your feet.
Spend ten minutes sitting on the porch while you drink a cup of something warm.
When it’s possible, soak in some natural Vitamin D. The sunshine on your skin will give you a mood boost and will help with jaundice if your doctor has said your newborn has that common condition.
Maybe the weather isn’t great this time of year, but opening the front door to get a whiff of fresh air puts the pep back in your step.
You can open up the curtains and get cozy by the window for an outside recharge without dealing with rain or snow.
10) Find Your Mom Friends
You’re a mom now, and it only makes sense that you hang out with friends who are in the same boat. There’s something about spending time with someone who gets it, that feels comforting.
Other new moms—or moms with kids a little bit older than yours—are great to share your struggles and successes with. It can make the overwhelming nature of motherhood feel a little less solitary.
The friendships you make now may end up being your go-to people when you start needing potty training advice or a trusted babysitter for an overnight trip.
You can sign up for Mommy & Me classes to meet people in your area or connect with mom groups online.
Look for moms who aren’t judging or gossiping about other moms. You want a friend you can relate to, but not that you feel you need to compete with.
Trying to keep up with what you see one mom doing on social media is exhausting and you don’t have that kind of energy to spare.
11) Connect with Your Partner
Once you start getting into a routine of daily life with your baby, it starts to feel like your partner is more of a co-worker than your significant other.
It makes sense. There’s a lot to do and a little human at the center of your attention.
Date night may not be high on your to-do list today, but make it something to look forward to.
You’ve added the title of Parents to your resume, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost the title of Couple. Put some energy back into the relationship and make it a big deal.
If you’re not ready to leave the house yet, plan a special evening at home once the kids are in bed. The peace of mind of knowing you’re nearby if your baby needs you will help you enjoy yourself even more.
Help each other have time to shower and put on fresh clothes, just like you would if you were going out. Order your favorite take-out or cook a dinner for two together.
A movie in the living room, that isn’t a cartoon, can feel just as good as going to the theater.
Quality time together—without kids—helps you reconnect with your partner and makes you a better team when you jump back into the parenting game.
12) Talk About How You’re Feeling
The physical, emotional, hormonal, and mental changes that come with the job of New Mom are big.
Everything about your life and who you were the day before you gave birth has taken a sharp left turn. There’s no way to know how to navigate this road until you’re already on it, because everyone experiences it differently.
Reach out to the people you trust and let them know if you’re feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness.
If they can’t help you release your emotions, ask them to help you find someone who can.
You’re not the only mom feeling like this and there are ways to feel better. Don’t be afraid to seek support. Your mental well-being is of the highest importance. You can’t properly care for your family if you aren’t properly taken care of.
13) Give Your Partner Space to Parent
Do you catch yourself constantly correcting the way your spouse changes a diaper?
Does it cause an argument when you don’t agree on whether the baby should take a bath in the sink or the tub?
You might not even realize you’re doing it, but trying to make sure your partner does everything your way is damaging to your relationship.
It’s also keeping them from bonding with the baby in their own way.
You and your partner are each your own person. You’re both figuring out how to be the best you can be for your family. It’s okay that it looks different for each of you.
Don’t hover over every spoonful of baby food they scoop up for your little one. Take a step back and let them have the full experience even if it makes a mess.
14) Cancel the Comparison
Comparing two things is not always bad. It helps us make decisions and pick which thing we like best.
When we see two things that are similar we instinctively seek out the differences. Comparison is an involuntary process, but it really has no value when it comes to people.
Babies are born already loaded with their own personalities, likes, and dislikes. They will grow at their own pace and learn on their own schedule.
During the first year of your baby’s life—when there are some big milestones to reach—it’s easy to get caught in the wheel of wanting to know how your kid stacks up to those around them.
This leads to unnecessary stress when you find out another 7-month-old is crawling, but yours is still rolling from toy to toy. You question if there’s something wrong with your baby or your parenting.
Spending too much time worrying about it robs you of the joy of witnessing your baby’s unique process.
15) Invest in Pieces that Matter
New parents are bombarded with list after list of things they need to have for their baby.
It’s true that babies need a lot of stuff, but you don’t need all the stuff. Look for quality in the items you buy to fill your nursery.
Investing in a good glider:
A glider is a piece of furniture that you will potentially use for years to come, so you want one that lasts. When you bring your newborn baby home you need a comfy place to land.
A glider has the comfort and support for breastfeeding in the middle of the night. The soothing motion is exactly where you want to be to cuddle your baby back to sleep.
As your child gets older, it will be the place you sit to read stories and snuggle them when they’re sick. You want to choose a quality glider for your family to have forever.
Nurture& has the staples to complete the rest of your baby’s room too:
The Crib is made from premium wood and materials to safely hold your sleeping baby through infancy and into toddlerhood. When your little one is ready to make the transition, you can convert it into a toddler bed.
The Dresser is the definition of multipurpose. When you’re tight on space, having one piece that functions as two is a must. Not only is it designed for maximum storage, but it can be used as a changing table on top. When you no longer need to change diapers, simply remove the topper.
An organized room with a place for everything creates an environment you feel calm and relaxed in.
You Choose the Advice You Take
The great thing about parenting is you get to do it your own way.
Your family is unlike any other and each piece of advice you receive can be personalized to fit your style.
- Sleep when you need to.
- Don’t try to control things out of your control.
- Take the help that’s offered.
- Feed your baby the way that works for you.
- Remember that you know what’s best for your family.
- Forgive yourself when you make a mistake.
- Take pictures of everything.
- Be good to your body.
- Take advantage of the outdoors.
- Put effort into your relationships with family and friends.
- Speak up about your struggles.
- Don’t worry about what other people are doing.
- Remind yourself that it’s okay to do things differently from others.
- Invest in the good stuff.
These practical tips are not rules set in stone. If you can’t relate to the advice, then you decide if you want to move on—or alter it to what feels right for you.
Like the idea of investing in a staple furniture piece for your home? Check out a few of our core nursery pieces, including our signature gliders, cribs and dressers.
Visit the Nurture& website to discover more about our brand, our blog, and what we offer.