- Don’t spend ALL of your time focusing on birth planning and prepare for life with a newborn as well. I read too many books about birthing and spent too much time at birthing classes instead of learning more about the first days/weeks with a newborn.
- It is O.k to count toes and fingers right after birth, most parents do!
- NOTHING can prepare you for what your birth experience will be like, so don’t be upset if your birth doesn’t go according to plan. I wasn’t planning on a 14 hour labour but I still got my drug-free water birth and my beautiful son at the end of it all. Be sure to embrace your unique experience and move on.
- Some skills may come to you naturally like changing diapers. I had never changed a diaper in my life until I had my son, the minute he was born I was somehow an expert diaper changer!
- It is O.k to feel overwhelmed. Babies don’t come with instructions and the moment you come home from the hospital it really sinks in that you are 100% responsible for that beautiful little person you just brought home.
- It is O.k to ask for help, seriously, you WILL need it! Welcome all relatives and friends that offer you help.
- Breastfeeding can be very painful if the latch isn’t right . This was certainly the case for me. Educate yourself on the matter if you are hoping to breastfeed your little one and read about it, watch instructional videos or even attend a breastfeeding class beforehand, I wish I had!
- About breastfeeding: You’re supposed to wait until the baby opens their mouth realyl wide and then put all of your nipple and as much of the areola in his mouth. Your nipple has to be pointing up near the roof of his mouth rather than pointing towards his tongue. Don’t freak out if milk shoots across the room, it is totally normal.
- Buy a high quality breast pump and learn how to use it BEFORE you have your baby (clean all parts and have it ready for use). If you end up having a low milk supply you will need a good pump during the first days/weeks.
- Sleep while you are at the hospital if you are able to, seriously! You will NEED any extra sleep you can get for the days/weeks/months to come. My son slept like a champ after birth but I didn’t take advantage. Then as soon as we came home from the hospital and all I wanted to do was sleep he was up every hour feeding.
Being a parent is an amazing but challenging journey and nothing can really prepare you for what it is going to be like. I still wish I knew a few of the things mentioned above before having my son. Like any other journey there will be plenty of highs and lows. The highs though are REALLY up there and there is nothing like getting tons of loving hugs and kisses from my 21 month old every day no matter what else is going on with life.
What do YOU wish you knew before becoming a parent?