New Parent Advice: What Tips NOT to Listen To
New Parent Advice can be helpful…or not so much. There’s tons of pressure that comes with being having a new baby, isn’t there? That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. Hopefully, I can help other new mamas avoid some of the stress that I went through during my baby’s first year (and then some.)
I remember having so many questions. I felt comfortable asking some, but then other things seemed a little embarrassing. Like I should have been automatically programmed with this information when my son was born or something? I don’t know why we do that to ourselves.
There seems to be so much judgement placed on mothers today. Everyone has a “right” way to do this or that. It’s overwhelming. As if we need more to feel overwhelmed with!
So I decided to point out some assumed “no-no’s” that I remember stressing over. This new parent advice may seem wise, but with time I realized they’re really not a big deal. I want you to avoid that stress!
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1. “Change Every Diaper Immediately”
As a brand new mama, having never spent long stretches of time with little babies, I just didn’t know how long it was ok to leave a baby in a diaper. At first, we changed every wet and dirty diaper immediately. Like, every 20 minutes. This gets tiresome and expensive reeaalll quick.
Over time, we noticed that our son didn’t mind hanging out in a wet diaper for a little bit, so we began to wait longer between changes. As babies get older and move to eating solids there are fewer (or at least different) dirty diapers to deal with too, so that helps.
Since around 15 months or so, we aim to use around 5 diapers a day. I don’t really know how that compares to others, but we are ok with it and so is baby. We shoot for 1 morning diaper, 1-2 in the afternoon, 1 evening diaper if necessary, and 1 just before bedtime. Sometimes it’s more, but generally this is a good rhythm for us. His diaper never gets too full and we aren’t using 15 diapers a day. We do change every poopy diaper right away. Now, I know some little ones just aren’t ok with staying in a wet one. Do what works for you and whatever keeps baby happy and healthy.
My point is:
Don’t feel the pressure to keep baby perfectly dry around the clock. It’s just not realistic. I wish I’d known as he got a little older that we didn’t HAVE to change him the moment the line turned blue. Diapers these days are good quality and made to be so absorbent that babies are safe and dry while sleeping or when parents can’t immediately change them.
I’ve noticed that most mamas of 3 or more kiddos don’t stress on this one at all. That’s because they’ve learned how to find a good balance. It’ll be fine. As a new mom, I know I can learn a lot from these seasoned mothers. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.
2. “Baby Proof, Baby Proof, Baby Proof!”
This might be my favorite. I’m sooo thankful for the new parent advice I received saying I didn’t HAVE to worry about baby proofing my whole house. What a huge load of stress it has saved me. Plus, when I looked at reviews of the thousands of baby proofing products out there, like 90% of them had horrible ratings. I didn’t feel like spending time, money, and effort on junk.
So, what do we do then?
Watch baby and say no.
For us, this was easy. Sam wasn’t about to be in another room from us for more than 2 seconds anyway. We let him explore things and get to know his territory. As he got older, we began to teach him the things that aren’t safe.
Yes, he tests his limits and yes, he might get some boo boos that could have been avoided, but he’s learning that he has to be careful and get to know his surroundings. Public places and friend’s houses often aren’t padded and locked up. He is learning to take care wherever he is.
Now, we do have a couple safety measures up. We have a gate at the top of our stairs and we have plugs in most light sockets. And when he started walking, we anchored the heavy, tall furniture. These were cheap fixes that give me peace of mind when my eyes are on the dishes or laundry instead of him.
I know some really great mamas who baby proof everything in their homes. If you want to put gates everywhere and put padding on the coffee table, girl, go for it. Some babies are more independent than others and those precautions can be life-savers. Some moms aren’t able to be home training their babies what not to touch all the time, so extra safety is super helpful.
Do what works for you. Just keep in mind that whatever you choose is right for you and your baby. You don’t have to do anything based on some mom expectation or Pinterest-perfect home.
3. “Keep that Baby Clean”
I’ll make this one short and sweet. Babies are messy. And you know what? They like it! At least, usually.
If it’s 11 a.m. and baby still has oatmeal on his cheeks from breakfast, no worries. It happens. If you are just too exhausted to do bath time for the third day in a row, it’ll be ok. Let him play in the dirt and color on his leg a little. Let him explore his world and get down and dirty doing it. It’s fun! And a little mess never hurt anyone.
Your harshest critic is you, Mama. Once we learn to give ourselves some slack (because life is messy and can get hard) we are suddenly free to live life a lot more happily. Happy and messy.
4. “Dress Baby in Super Cute Clothes”
Why am I just now figuring this out?! Little ones don’t HAVE to be in that adorable onesie with matching shoes all the time. I won’t lie, there have been a lot of diaper-only days around the house, but I always felt a little weird about it. But I’m finally calling it: it is ok to let your baby stay naked all day.
When Sam was little bitty, I kept him in cute onesies alllll the time. They all ended up stained and I was always overwhelmed with laundry. Once he was walking, he really started to prefer to be without clothes anyway. He won’t even let me put a shirt on him at bedtime. (Pajama pants are a must due to an unfortunate diaper-escape incident. You’ve been warned.)
Now, of course, when it’s cold we keep him clothed. Sometimes it’s just sweatpants and a sweatshirt, but he’s warm. If we are just hanging around the house and he’s just going to get messy anyway, why waste the time and add to the laundry? I’d rather spend that time playing with him.
So, I’m freeing us all up, ladies! No judgement allowed! I openly admit that our real life would make for some pretty boring Facebook pictures. But I’m ok with that.
It’s alright to miss perfection by a long shot. In fact, why even shoot for it? We aren’t perfect. I’d rather my babies grow up seeing their imperfect mama let some things slide while living a joyful life, than to think they need to stress out striving for perfection. It’s just not worth it. And it’s not possible.
Let’s take the weight off of our own shoulders. Forget some of this strict new parent advice. Let’s care more about giving our babies full and free lives, than how we look to others. We’ve got enough on our plates.
I hope you’re reading this early in your mom journey. I hope it saves you many months of feeling pressure to be perfect. And I hope it encourages you to let go of the little things and hold on to your little one instead.