If you could give one piece of advice to a new parent, what would it be? What is the one thing you have learned as a parent, that you wish someone had told you before your child was born?

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asked 08 Oct '09, 15:05

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Here's my shot at compiling answers. I noted who originally wrote the answer.

If any of these do not convey the spirit of the original answer, please feel free to edit them.

  • Don't strive for the ideal at the cost of your sanity (Kiesa), don't try to be perfect (Huibert Gill), don't sweat the small stuff (Tammy)
  • Get sleep before your child is born, because you may not get much after! (Juan Manuel)
  • Relax! These times only last a short while, enjoy them! (Jay)
  • Set and keep a date night with your spouse. (lgritz)
  • Don't worry about feeling helpless; we all feel like that the first time we become parents. (Emi)
  • Be flexible. Every child and every parent is different. (Luke Foust)
  • Read some books, but research them first! (Ates Goral, comment by Meg Stephenson)
  • Children can smell fear. Try to remain calm. (Mary)
  • Everybody has an opinion; only yours matters. (Answer by Mary, rephrasing by Matthew Jones)
  • Accept help; don't turn away offers to assist you. (Ates Goral)
  • It gets better. The first three months are really the fourth trimester; things will settle down and get more comfortable. (BetsyB and Michelle)
  • Nothing is permanent. Try to roll with the punches. (BetsyB)
  • If you are married, keep your marriage strong and remember your first priority is to your spouse. (Dinah)
  • Buy sleepers with zippers, NOT buttons! (Scott)
  • Mr Clean Magic Erasers can clean anything. (Kate)

As well as pretty much all of YMCBuzz's answer.

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answered 04 Nov '09, 18:50

Matthew%20Jones's gravatar image

Matthew Jones
accept rate: 18%

edited 05 Nov '09, 17:56

Being a parent for only a week, the only piece of advice I can give is this: Sleep a lot before your child is born!

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answered 08 Oct '09, 15:17

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


This is exactly the advice I was giving out after being a new Dad! :)

(08 Oct '09, 16:04) Scott ♦♦

Great advice for new dads. Unfortunately it's not always possible for new moms.

(08 Oct '09, 16:35) mkcoehoorn

Unfortunately, you can "store up" only a certain amount of sleep. The number of sleepless nights you'll get is variable and can easily cancel out your earlier preparations.

(09 Oct '09, 03:16) Ates Goral

Actually, another tip is as you get closer to the delivery date, start slowly cutting down your amount of sleep to around 5 hours a night. Then it won't be such a shock to go down to 2 x 2.5 hours of sleep a night. ;) I didn't try this, but afterward I thought it might be a good idea.

(18 Oct '09, 13:26) Scott ♦♦

Remember they can smell your fear So try to stay calm.

Also and Most important you will get TONS of advice from everybody you love and even complete strangers take it all listen then decide for YOURSELF what is best for you and your kids. They all might mean well but you know your kids better then anyone so listen to your instincts.

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answered 08 Oct '09, 22:04

Mary's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

Starting immediately (i.e. days, not months) pick one night a week for a "date" alone with your spouse, and keep it inviolable. Remember that the parents are the primary relationship in the family, it's just as important to keep that relationship healthy and stable as anything else you do for your child. Plus, it helps your child (and you) get used to being apart for short periods of time. Woe onto those parents who realize after two years that their kid has never been without them for ten minutes and throws tantrums when it happens. If they grow up with the idea that parents need recharge time, too, it seems totally natural to them.

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 08 Oct '09, 16:05

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

How does this work? Do you have family close by?

(15 Oct '09, 04:01) MrChrister

Unfortunately, no. But that's what babysitters/nannies are for. Find somebody you trust and give them steady high-paying work one night a week. It's totally worth it to be recharged and keep your marriage strong.

(15 Oct '09, 05:38) lgritz


Don't have a fit over spilled milk, markers on the wall, paint on the rug, dirt on that new Christmas dress, leaky diapers on the new couch, toys being flushed down the toilet, child catching a cold before that big vacation, eating of that piece of dirt you missed while cleaning, shall I go on?........ These things are going to happen and you can't control it.

Focus on making your child's life enjoyable, these times only last a short period of their life. Enjoy them!

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 08 Oct '09, 15:28

Jay's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

"Rules are made to be broken, but a good structure will hold a lifetime." (/me)

So, don't try to be perfect.

Maybe a kind of abstract piece of advice, but it is what I try to live up to.

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answered 08 Oct '09, 18:11

Huibert%20Gill's gravatar image

Huibert Gill
accept rate: 5%

Sleep when baby sleeps - ask someone to take baby outside for an hour-long walk if you're really sleep-deprived

Follow your parental instincts, trust your gut – and remember you can't “spoil” a newborn

Drink a lot of water – will keep you feeling full and help in breastfeeding

Breastfeeding should not hurt – have lactation consultant on standby. It will take 3-6 days for milk to come in and breastfeeding may feel awkward and frustrating at first – hang in there!

Take all the help that is offered to you (but not necessarily all the advice that's offered!)

Don't play hostess first couple of weeks – people are there to help, not be entertained - rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't be comfortable asking them to clean your toilet, they shouldn't be around first couple of days.

Don't compare your baby to other babies or to development milestones in books – every baby is different

You will want to kill your hubby but it's just stress, lack of sleep, hormones - go easy on him, he loves you and is adjusting to his new life too - let him develop his own rhythm and way of doing things. Your way is not always the "best" way, even though you may think so!

Take time to recover – you've just given birth! If you try to do too much, or are on your feet too much, your bleeding won't stop. Relax and let your body mend!

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 19 Oct '09, 00:38

YMCbuzz's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Be flexible. Don't assume there is one right way or one specific way things should work. All kids are different and they change constantly. You have to change along with them.

You can have a very hard time trying to force things to be a certain way because it worked for somebody else or even with one of your other kids.

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 08 Oct '09, 20:33

Luke%20Foust's gravatar image

Luke Foust
accept rate: 33%

Try not to worry over every little thing, especially in the first couple of months. They will eat and sleep as much and as often as they need. In the beginning trying to have a schedule can cause a lot more anxiety then just going with it.

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answered 08 Oct '09, 23:46

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

Accept help. Don't turn away help offered by family or friends. Delegate, take a break, and get some sleep.

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answered 09 Oct '09, 00:17

Ates%20Goral's gravatar image

Ates Goral
accept rate: 0%

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Asked: 08 Oct '09, 15:05

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Last updated: 05 Nov '09, 17:56