1) You don’t have to know everything. You will feel like you are clueless and can’t believe you have a child that depends on you. It’s OK, we all have felt that way. It comes and goes.
2) Read every single John Rosemond book, Nurture Shock & Freakonomics. Seriously, read them now. The books will give you with common sense wisdom, empirical data and knowledge about parenting.
3) If you aren’t a picky sleeper, put baby in bed. You can nurse easily and sleep undisturbed for longer periods. My babies just needed warmth and the smell of milk before they could relax.
4) Invest in these high quality items: baby carrier, stroller, high chair and side-to-side cradle swing.
6) If your parents had an unhealthy relationship or weird parenting styles, take some time to question your parenting style. Make sure your patterns are not passively inherited from your parents. Decide what type of parent you want to be, hold that picture in your mind and behave like that every single day.
7) Your beautiful baby will be covered in hideous acne, you don’t need to see the doctor about it. Cut those little nails short and know it will pass.
8) Lansinoh nursing cream is your ‘breast’ friend. Your nipples will be in terrible shape from nursing and you will love this cream.
9) Diaper rash ointment smells like rotten fish. Avoid it. Use Lansinoh instead. It is natural and has no smell.
10) Before you change a diaper, put your baby wipe in your cleavage and by the time you need it, it will be warm. Who wants a cold wipe on their bum, right?
11) Toddlers will dip your wallet, iPhone and random toys in the toilet when your back is turned. You will lie awake at night and worry that toilet water was in your child’s mouth. You will Google worst case scenario. Much gnashing of teeth and self-loathing will take place. Your kid will be fine. End of story.
12) If you learn CPR, you will be less prone to cutting your child’s food in teeny millimeter sized portions. Not that I know anything about cutting nuggets in 6 pieces.
13) Experts say that TV will rot your toddler’s brain and ruin their lives. Whatever! I say quality TV is a benefit to your child’s health. Why? Because TV helps toddlers sit still for 10 minutes while dinner is prepared. I’m not saying they should watch Grey’s Anatomy, but a little Blue’s Clues never did any harm.
14) Parenting books say to feed your child a varied diet of only organic food and all nutritional needs will be covered. In reality, toddlers will go on wild food strikes. One week the menu must consist of all white food, the next week it is milk and PB&J for every meal. For all the non-parents out there who may be laughing and thinking that you would not ‘let’ your child insist on odd menus, well, you. just. wait. When your child goes through this stage just give them a daily multivitamin and know this, too, will pass.
15) When you feel like you aren’t doing a good enough job, ask yourself these things: Does my child feel secure? Does my child feel loved? Did my child go to sleep fed? Do I daily look in my child’s eyes and smile? Does my child get hugs everyday? If you are doing these things right, Mama, you are doing a wonderful job.
Now it is your turn. Please share your ‘real life’ advice that you wish you had known before you had young children.