Babies can’t do anything for themselves, so it’s up to you to make sure they feel loved, comfortable and cared for.
To help you out, we’ve put together some of our most practical advice for new parents who feel nervous about their new arrival. Sleepless nights, begone – we hope!
15 Tips for First Time Parents
1) Help Baby Sleep
Getting your baby to sleep through the night will probably be a challenge for first time parents. But there are lots of baby sleep solutions out there to help your little one relax at night.
The NHS advice for new parents says to sleep in the same room as your baby for the first six months, so you can react to your their needs quickly.
2) Nappy Changing
The majority of first time parents wouldn’t know how to change a nappy – why would you? But there’s a first time for everything, and at the rate babies need changing, you’ll pick it up fast!
The advice for new parents when it comes to nappy changing is to change your little one as soon as they need it. Then you’ll be able to work out how sensitive their skin is and if your baby should be changed before or after a feed.
3) Baby Feeding
How you feed your baby is up to you. Whether you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding or combining the two, the best advice for new parents is to be prepared. Babies will usually start feeding just a few hours after birth, so you need to be ready for when you bring your little one back from the hospital. Make sure you have all the right feeding tools, like bottles, teats and sterilising equipment on hand from the moment you arrive home.
Don’t think you need to give your baby a bath every single day. One of the top tips for new parents is to try the top and tail method. This is where you wash your baby from head to toe with damp cotton wool, then gently dry them off with a soft towel. Topping and tailing is great if you’re a bit nervous about bathing your baby, but just make sure you have everything ready before you start.
5) Share the Work
Some of the best advice for new parents is to share the work. Life with a newborn baby is very tough for both mum and dad, so it’s best for both parents to help out where they can. Right from the start of pregnancy, a pregnant partner might feel tired and nauseous and will need practical support. Then when your baby arrives, there’s night feeds, nappy changing and a new level of exhaustion for both partners. Parents should share the experiences (the good and the bad!) to make having a baby a little easier.
6) Create a Routine
Giving your baby some kind of schedule can be very helpful advice for new parents. When you start to create a newborn routine, it can give you an idea of when your little wants to feed, play and sleep. Knowing the cues that show what your baby wants can be very useful for first time parents.
7) Soothe Baby
When your baby won’t stop crying, it’s usually because they need comfort or care. But if your little one’s not hungry, thirsty or sleepy, you might struggle to find a reason. But don’t tear your hair out just yet. There are options for you to relax and soothe your little one, from mini massages to resting in a baby rocker.
8) Pack Your Baby Changing Bag
First time parents will probably feel like they can’t leave the house with their baby, but of course you can! The top tips for new parents when going outside with their little one is to always keep your changing bag prepared. If you pack everything you need in your baby changing bag in advance, you’ll reduce the risk of a nappy-changing emergency when out and about!
9) Cut Down on the Housework
Cleaning advice for new parents? Lower your standards. Don’t worry about the dusting the doorframes or scrubbing the skirting boards – all those housework jobs can wait. It’s impressive enough if first time parents can load the dishwasher, let alone break out the bucket and mop. Save your spring cleaning for another time, or hire someone to help once a fortnight if you really need to.
10) Play with Baby
Babies aren’t as delicate as you might think! You can enjoy lots of fun baby activities right from birth, which benefits their development and strengthens you and your little one’s bond. From pulling funny faces to jumping around in a baby bouncer, there are lots of cheap or free ways to play with your baby that are guaranteed to make some giggles.
11) Batch Cook
Freezable, family-friendly meals are great for first time parents. Lasagne, shepherd’s pie, sausage casserole or a quick chicken curry are some of our firm favourite recipes that you can quickly and simply batch cook. Then pop them in the freezer to keep ready for those times you’re way too tired to play chef. Or, our other advice to new parents who are extra exhausted? Order a takeaway!
12) Don’t Compare
From pregnancy milestones to baby breakthroughs, you and your little one will hit most landmarks at different times. And you know what? That’s completely fine! If you have newfound mummy friends who like to brag, don’t feel disheartened if your infant isn’t quite at the same stage. It’s not a good idea to compare your child to others. Of course, you can speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about your baby’s development.
13) Ask for Help
You might think you’ll be ready to raise your baby single-handedly. But the reality for first time parents is extreme exhaustion and lots of uncertainty. So before you wade your way through parenthood alone, the advice for new parents is to ask for help.
Your friends and relatives will likely want to pitch in, so even if you’re not ready to let anyone else look after your little one, they can still lend a hand around the house.
14) Look After Yourself
Self-care is really important for first time parents. Let your partner take care of your baby for half an hour, so you can take a well-deserved break. Read a book, enjoy a hot bath or catch up on boxsets – just as long as you have a moment to yourself. Or you could go all out with a little online shopping and treat yourself to some new-mum gifts!
15) Remember, It’ll Pass
No matter how tired you are, no matter how worn-out you feel – remember, it’ll pass. Some of the best advice for new parents you need to remember is that even the most difficult stages will eventually be over. Even when it gets tough, try to love and enjoy the time you have with your infant now, because it’s true what they say, you know – babies really do grow up fast!