The first thing I want to say is that this is what worked for us. I find the whole mommy war thing disparaging. I really try not to take sides in the go-to-work/stay-at-home breastfeed/bottle feed battles. I am super determined not to have a dog in the fight. So don’t take any of this as criticism if you did something different, k?
Top Ten Best Parenting Advice of the Year
10. Breastfeed. This seems like a good place to start. When my little guy had colic, this was one of the few things that actually helped. Plus, I do think there is something to the idea that it helps with bonding. Also, I noticed when I weaned him at 6 months, he did start to get ear infections.
9. Co-sleep. When you go to parenting classes, you will hear about the dangers of co-sleeping. I bought a beautiful crib with every intention of keeping my baby in it. But then you have the baby, and he has ideas of his own. In fact, he screams bloody murder every time you try to lay them in the gorgeous crib. So into your bed he goes, sound asleep. I then started asking around, and it was like a dirty secret among parents. Everybody is sleeping with their baby. Really, everybody I asked – straight people, gay people, single mothers and fathers. Everyone had their babies in their bed.
I was worried about this arrangement for safety reasons, so we eventually used a co-sleeper which attached to the bed. It gave him a safe place to sleep, but he thought he is in the bed with us.
8. Don’t buy too much! Parenting is such an anxious time. You want to do everything right. Marketers are really gifted at exploiting this. But we found we had way more than we needed. People will buy tons of stuff if it’s your first. Hand me down clothes work just as well as brand new outfits from the Gap.
I like Dr. Spock because he is sort of like the doctor from Retroville. This is his checklist. It’s pretty short:
- Car Seat
- Crib, bassinet or cosleeper
- Sheets for the crib, bassinet or cosleeper
- Blankets for swaddling
- A few onesies and sleepers
- Nursing Bras if you are going to nurse
- Two or three bottles and formula if you are going to formula feed
- Diaper Bag
- Digital Thermometer and nose syringe
The only thing that I would ad is that you probably do want a baby hat to keep their head warm.
Compare this list to what Babies R Us says you need, and you will get a sense of the interest that you generate with your pregnancy.
7. Baby wearing. Like I mentioned below, the sling didn’t go over so well. However, the Baby Bjorn and the Moby Wrap were fantastic. Why I was able to figure out the convoluted wrap and not the sling is beyond me.
6. Infant Massage. This only works for a few months. Once they start crawling, you will never get them to sit still for it. But it was fun in those first few pre-mobile months when there just isn’t a lot to do. We took a class at a local center, but I think there are also some good books out there.
5. Let people help you. When you first bring baby home, people will see your cute baby and generously offer to babysit. They are probably thinking you won’t be up to letting someone else take care of your baby. As soon as the offer hits the air, grab a pen and paper and take down their name and phone number!
4. Nap when your baby naps.
3. Make your own baby food. I know it sounds crazy, but its way cheaper than buying it already canned, plus you know where it came from. Even using organic food we save a lot of money. Plus, you are able to give your kid a wider variety than what is offered.
2. Try to respond to your baby’s cries as best and as in a loving manner as possible. However, if you think you are going to lose it, it’s ok to put the baby in a safe place, and take a break (see below)
1. Don’t listen to advice! Listen to your baby. People are going to give you tons of advice. Some of it will work for you and some of it won’t. Don’t feel guilty for making different choices. The wise mother who told us that has two beautiful kids, and doesn’t seem to ever give a second thought to what people think of her parenting. This is pretty different than my wife and I. We actually stress quite a bit when criticized. But we are working on it.