With Kate Middleton in labor for the delivery of her first child, the women and newborn services care line at Scripps Health has eight tips every new mom needs to know.
1) If at first you don’t succeed
Try and try again! There is no secret recipe for becoming the perfect parent, so expect some trial and error. While you are learning what your baby will respond well to – when it comes to getting him or her to sleep, feeding time and even play time – don’t be afraid to try different techniques. Practice is paramount – keep trying until you find out what works best.
2) Listen to your baby
Your baby will tell you what he or she needs. Instead of forcing a schedule on a newborn, feel out their needs for a couple days. Try eating on-demand as opposed to “every two hours.” You baby is unique and may need to eat more often. Listening to your baby will allow a schedule to develop naturally, making both mother and child happy.
3) Don’t overexpose
The arrival of a new child is exciting and proud parents can’t wait to show their newborn to the world. While you don’t need to isolate your child after leaving the hospital, avoiding large crowds and lots of other kids may not be a bad idea as your baby’s immune system develops – especially during flu season.
4) Get some ZZZs
Lack of sleep might be one of the most difficult parts of new motherhood! Bottom line, sleep when your little one does. Even if you just lie down, recharging the battery is extremely important – house chores can wait.
5) Make sure baby’s car seat is properly installed
Your baby’s safety comes first and installing a car seat properly may be more difficult than you think. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 75 percent of children are riding in car safety seats that aren’t properly installed or don’t fit correctly. Contact your local police or fire department to see if they can help you install it.
6) Prepare for the unexpected
You never know what to expect when it comes to a newborn and there is no such thing as being too prepared! When leaving the house, pack multiple changes of clothes, plenty of diapers and wipes, an extra towel and blanket, and a bottle of breast milk or formula in case he or she gets hungry earlier than you anticipated. Remember the American College of Pediatricians recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
7) Keep your cool
The life of a new parent can be stressful. If you become frustrated, take a time out. Put baby in the crib or another safe spot and take a 10-minute breather – your baby can sense your frustration.
8) It takes a village
While Kate may have an entire nation willing to help out, you probably don’t. But don’t be afraid to ask your husband, partner, parents, family and friends to lend a helping hand. Or get professional help if that is an option. Raising a baby is hard work, but you don’t have to go it alone.
Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.