You can be the most prepared parent-to-be and still have no idea what you’re doing when you bring your baby home from the hospital. There’s some sort of myth out there that the more you read, research, plan, and buy ahead of time, the better off you’ll be when you bring your new bundle home.
But it’s all a lie, and instead, we’re left trying to wrap our brain around the new title in our life while feeling like we’re the only ones doing it wrong. Thankfully, a Reddit thread in r/AskReddit has experienced parents taking a walk down memory lane and helping frazzled new parents in the process.
Reddit user TurkisCircus asked: “what do you wish someone had told you to make you feel better in those first overwhelming days after bringing your baby home?” The comment section was full of solid, useful advice that every parent should read over and over.
“Sometimes you need to step away, Reddit user Dr_Nik writes. Adding, “Make sure the baby is safe (not going to fall, choke, etc.), then step away for even 5-10 minutes to collect yourself. So long as they are safe, 5-10 minutes of crying won’t hurt them, but it could mean the difference between responding to their needs with compassion vs responding in a dangerous way because you are frustrated.”
TheGoodJudgeHolden reminds us that we’re all born with instincts, and our gut is OK to listen to. “It is completely OK to throw about 75% of advice from friends/family, especially from the older generations, out the window,” they said. Continuing, “Just because they had kids at one point doesn’t make them an expert on how yours should be raised.”
And, not surprisingly, there was a lot of advice on dealing with a lack of sleep. HelenEk7 writes, “It’s perfectly fine that either mum or dad sleeps in the guest bed some nights to make sure at least one parent gets a full night’s sleep.”
And Actuaryba feels the same way, offering that rest is important. “If possible, take shifts with your partner so each of you can get SOME rest,” they share. Continuing, “However, be prepared to be tired for quite some time. You will eventually get in a groove, though.”
WeDoNotRow reminds everyone that “it’s OK and normal if your first response to your new baby isn’t a tidal wave of love.” Adding, “Mine was terror. Remember that you and your partner are a team. It’s not fair if one parent takes more of the caring role, but the other doesn’t chip in in other ways. As their friend, bring them meals and a lot of food.”
Some other advice in the thread includes having realistic expectations on how much time you will spend feeding and changing diapers, and that it’s not possible to “spoil” your baby by cuddling them or carrying them in a sling.
A nugget of wisdom included making sure parents know that it will all feel overwhelming at first, like the intensity of the newborn stage will last forever. But before you know it, your child will start to need you less and less, and parenting will fall into a comfortable groove eventually.
The Reddit thread is full of advice that aims to help new parents feel like they’re not in it alone. It’s easy to feel like we’re the only ones who don’t “get it” and feel down on ourselves. But, when in doubt, re-read this thread, and you’ll feel the weight of the world slowly lift off your shoulders.