While I don’t have a PhD in child rearing, psychology or childhood education, I have priceless experience in raising and taking care of children. I started raising children far before I had my own, and taking care of other people’s children has helped create the foundation that I have raised my own kids on.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? It does. Not because, you need lots of people to raise your child, but because children learn from everyone around them and so do you. This does not mean that everyone around the child needs to have the same ideas on how to raise a child, but surrounding yourself with people, who have the same values as you goes a long way.
I don’t have all the answers, and I am by far a perfect mom, yet after raising four kids of my own, I do feel that I have gained a bit of mom wisdom, baby tips, and advice for new parents that may be valuable to others. This is why I have decided to do a series called Mom Wisdom, where I will share some of my tips for raising happy, kind, loving, curios and compassionate children. This will be a series of advice for new parents, but it will also be filled with tips for seasoned parents.
As a mom, I am still learning, and I am constantly asking other moms, what do you do? What works for you?
Baby Tips – Advice for new parents:
1) Hold your baby as much as possible. For the first six months, babies just need to be close to you. If you work out of the home, make sure to choose a loving, caring babysitter, who will keep your baby close too. If your baby feels safe, your baby will be happy.
Another benefit of keeping baby close, is that you will learn to be more in tune with your baby’s needs and clues. Soon, you will be able to pick up on what your baby needs, as soon as he or she tries to let you know. Is he hungry, tired, does he need a new diaper, or does he simply want to be close?
When I had our first son, I received a well-used Baby Bjorn baby carrier from another mom, and that baby carrier has been well used for all four of our kids. Yes, it looks very worn, and yes I have tested out other baby carriers and slings since then, but my favorite is still that well-used, faded, and decade old Baby Bjorn baby carrier. I have used it for grocery shopping, getting on and off the bus, walking around Manhattan, getting on and off airplanes, at home if I had things to do, and yes it works almost every time.
When I had our first son, I was in school, and I soon found that I would have no problems managing baby and school work, as long as he got to be close to me. For the first few months, he often found a spot on a pillow in my lap, while I was typing away, or I would study in bed with him right next to me. With our two youngest children, I have used the Bobby baby pillow in my lap, so that they would be in close to me, even if I was typing or working on the computer.
2) Use the pacifier! Yes, wait until good breastfeeding has been established, but if your baby latches on without any problems, that pacifier will help your baby relax, it will help you relax, and if mom and dad are happy, so will baby be.
When I gave birth to our second son, I remember being told that the hospital had a “no pacifier” policy. Well, after a night of no sleeping, because the baby wanted to “nurse” or simply just suck on my nipples all night I needed that pacifier. When son number three came around, he got the pacifier after he had nursed well, and by the time our baby girl came around that pacifier was in the diaper bag despite the hospital’s “no pacifier policy”. The nurse declared, “I see you’ve come prepared, it must not be your first time,” when she saw that my little one was sleeping comfortably, quietly and well fed with a pacifier in her mouth.
3) You don’t need name brands to raise a healthy, happy baby. Generic baby food, formula and diapers work just as well as expensive name brand baby products. You just need to find the right fit for you and your baby. Check out thrift stores, Craigslist, accept hand-me-downs with gratefulness, and use coupons as much as you can. Sign up for company newsletter, and if you cannot find a coupon for the product you need, email or call the company, and they might just send you some product samples and high-value coupons.
4) Money does not equal a happy child. I had my first child, while both my husband and I were in college, and I truly believe that you do not need to have a lot of money to raise a child. A baby does not need it’s own room, it does not need the latest gadgets, a pricey changing table or “new” clothing. A baby just needs love, a few essentials, and a safe place to be.
5) Babies do not need to cry to be healthy. As a young mom I was constantly told to “let the baby cry. Let the baby expand his lungs.” I did not let the baby cry, because I believe that a baby just needs to feels safe, comfortable and loved. Once baby number two came along, no one told me to let the baby cry anymore, because it turned out that I had very happy babies. Once baby number three came along, I was known to have “easy babies,” and yes even my grandma agrees that I might be onto something now that baby number four turned out to be an “easy baby” too.
So have I simply been lucky? Do I really just have “easy babies?” My conclusion is that babies simply need to know that they can count on you (or someone else who takes care of them) to be there, be in tune with their needs and to keep them safe.
I lost my mom in my early twenties, when my second son was only a year old, and since my mom was a seasoned childcare professional with decades of experience, I often find myself wishing that I had her to lean on. Still, I try to remember, what did she do, when my little brother was born, and when I find myself in an unfamiliar parenting situation, I often ask myself. “What would mom have done?”
Whenever I need parenting advice, I don’t turn to parenting books, I turn to other moms (and sometimes other dads). It really does take a village to raise a child, because I am constantly learning from other moms and dads, from the moms in my life, and from my own mom, even though she is no longer with me.
What is your favorite parenting advice for new parents or baby tips?