Preparing to welcome your little one goes beyond decorating the nursery, stocking up those diapers and washing the little baby clothes. It’s a whole new life you’re now responsible for, from birth to beyond.
The good thing is that many parents have walked this road before you, so you are definitely not alone in becoming a new parent! After all, even the most experienced of hands had to start somewhere. From our grandparents to our parents to siblings, friends, and parenting programmes, there's a whole collective repository of parenting knowledge for you to draw on for help.
Here are 5 starter tips for you to kick-start your journey as a newly minted mum or dad!
1. Be patient
Your baby is a whole new person, with his or her own personality and needs. And since your baby can only communicate by crying – you certainly have your work cut out for you! Give yourself plenty of time to understand your little bundle of joy for who he or she is, likes and dislikes, personality quirks and all. Be patient with yourself as you go along and give yourself the space to grow into your role as a parent, just as your baby grows day by day!
2. Work as a team
Remember that you and your spouse are a team, working together to parent your little one. Being a new parent can feel like a heavy responsibility, but it is a shared responsibility between both mum and dad. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, do try to talk things out with your spouse and discuss how you both can divide the heavy load of parenthood. A simple thing like divvying up the baby chores and care, like washing the bottles, doing the night feeds, diaper changes, baths, baby laundry, will go a long way in supporting each other.
3. Ask for help
There is absolutely nothing wrong in asking for and graciously accepting help. Caring for a baby is tough, and it doesn't get any easier as he or she grows up! If you have help, take it with open arms and a grateful heart. And if you don't have ready help, here's our tip: ask for it. It could be practical advice, questions about baby care, borrowing baby items, or even urgent babysitting help for an hour or two; you'd be surprised at how many people are actually willing to help out in any small way.
4. Remember that phases will pass
Even as the days feel long and the nights feel even longer, make "this too shall pass" and "everything is a phase" your mantras to live by. Fussy babies don't last forever, they all grow up and you'll also figure out what makes them tick. Your baby may be sleeping like a champ (it's a phase) but overnight, he or she has regressed and wakes every hour wailing (it's yet another phase). While you're in the thick of it, it may seem like an endless blur, but truly, take heart and take each day as it comes. You'll wake up one day and realise your newborn isn't a newborn anymore, and hence doesn't need to be fed every 2 hours. See,it all passes.
5. Join a community for support
There's wisdom in lived experience, so do join parenting groups on social media and attend talks or workshops if you feel like you need that extra boost in your parenting journey. One such programme you could join to enhance your parenting journey is the WiseJourneys programme, which aims to equip parents constructively with the help of science-based parenting tips from experts. Parents will also have the opportunity to get-together over zoom to talk about their journey as parents, with the help of a facilitator to lead the discussion. It's a great way to problem-solve, share tips and experiences, and make friends along the way!