This blog post is in response to a writing prompt at SocialMoms: "What Two Pieces of Important Advice Would You Share With First Time or Soon-to-be Parents?"
When you come home from the hospital with your first baby, there are a million things that go through your head as a first time parent. "Is my baby eating enough?" "Will swaddling him/her overheat him?" "Which bottles should I use?" And as if we weren't stressing ourselves out enough, it seems like everyone else has their own input as well. I remember my mother-in-law repeatedly telling me that when her children were babies, she was told to put them to sleep on their bellies, insinuating that "my way" was wrong. But today, doctors actually claim that putting babies to sleep on their bellies has been linked to SIDS. So my first bit of advice to you would be to:
1. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! Although you are a first time parent and have never done this before, your natural instincts kick in as soon as the baby arrives. And chances are, you're not completely clueless if you read some of the baby books or online articles to educate yourself a little during the last 9 months. You may not know all of the answers and in certain cases it may be best to consult your pediatrician, but for the most part, you can go with what you feel is best for your child. If your baby starts acting different, eating differently or something just doesn't seem right, follow your gut and take them to the doctor. If a doctor claims the baby is perfectly fine, but you just still feel like something is wrong, don't be afraid to speak up or take your child to someone else for a second opinion. So when it comes to your child's health, don't hesitate to ask a professional, but just try not to overwhelm yourself with every little thing that you could be doing wrong with your new baby. Chances are, you won't be perfect, you'll make mistakes and sometimes you won't know all the answers, but trust yourself and do your best to provide your baby with a loving, healthy life.
2. CHERISH EVERY MOMENT!! Everyone tells you how fast the time will fly by with your little one. One day you're coming home from the hospital with your new baby bundle and before you know it, he's starting his first day of school. Where did the time go? You want to cherish each and every moment with your baby because they won't be this small for long. Take a few minutes of your time each day to sit and rock him/her in your arms, read a book with them, or sing a lullaby. These are all things that when you look back on, you will be thankful that you took the time out for your baby. And make sure to take plenty of pictures to document their milestones and the different phases that they go through as they grow. You'll be surprised at how much their features and personalities will change and develop over such a short period of time. Chances are... one day you will absolutely love looking back on these cherished moments with your baby.