When I was pregnant I asked people for lots and lots of parenting tips – I was nervous and felt like the more parenting tips I could get from people who’d been there, done that, the better! But I found that people could be very negative about parenting a newborn baby. They’d try to be helpful, but all too often I’d hear things like my sleep would be interrupted, my days would be harder, that breastfeeding would be difficult and painful, that I wouldn’t have time for my friends anymore and so on. Things that aren’t even tips. I could call them parenting warnings! Thing is, all that negativity simply isn’t helpful, especially when it’s so important to try to relax and let go of anxiety and stress when pregnant
Here are my top ten positive parenting tips for parents of babies. Implement these ten tips into your parenting routine for an easier and happier life for the whole family!
My Top 10 Positive Parenting Tips for Babies
Remember that super mum doesn’t exist
A book I highly recommend is The Supermum Myth. In this book you’ll read about how many women struggle with the idea of perfection and suffer with mum guilt because they’re trying to live up to the idea of a super mum who doesn’t really exist. This is something I struggled with a lot with my newborn and one of the ways in which I felt I really changed after becoming a mother. Accepting that perfect isn’t possible and that I’m doing just fine, that my neighbours, friends and family all struggle with their own problems, and that my best is absolutely, 100% good enough for me and my newborn really was a game changer.
All babies are different and have different personalities
The second of these ten positive parenting tips is don’t fall into the trap of reading specific help articles or speaking to other parents and then wondering why something isn’t working for you. By all means ask for help and advice, but every single baby is different, and our experiences all differ. We all cope with things differently as well and have different family relationships. So comparing yourself to someone else or someone else’s baby isn’t helpful. I used to sit there and wonder why my baby was the one who was crying constantly – and what I was doing wrong. But the fact is I wasn’t doing anything wrong – he was diagnosed with colic. And when it came to colic solutions, what worked for other mum’s didn’t work for my baby, but ultimately he grew and developed and we all coped.
Baby proofing is best done early – and at ground level!
My third positive parenting tip is about tackling home safety early. You might as well make an early start on all of the baby proofing, and getting down to ground level was the best advice I received! It’s easier to assess the house and everything that needs safety proofing before they’re mobile. Getting it out of the way early will ease stress and give you confidence that your baby will be safe once they start crawling.
Don’t stress about feeding
My breastfeeding journey was over pretty much before it began – months of unsuccessful pumping which left me with a lot of feelings of guilt and failure. To compensate I devoured resources about weaning ideas and introducing solids, read book after book, and realized that I was definitely over thinking it! We did baby led weaning in the end and considered anything a success if something went in his mouth, even if 99% of dinner went on the floor! Out of everything I read, the one book I recommend is the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook. It’ll tell you everything you need to know and give you over a hundred recipes that are baby-proofed to start off with!
Whatever you are doing in terms of feeding, you’re doing your best. Whether it’s breast or bottle, spoon or baby led – if at all worried about nutrition and weight gain then talk to your health professional as soon as possible, but when it comes down to the choices we make, it’s best not to stress about it, follow your gut and try to find the things that work for you and your family.
My experience from talking to other mums is that feeding choices can be one of the most stressful things and I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack!
Healthcare professionals are there to help you
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But this positive parenting tip is to use the health professionals who are available to you. That’s your midwife in the hospital and at the home visit, your health visitor, your walk in clinic, nurse or G.P. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions – even questions you think might seem a little obvious. No one will judge you. I’ve asked my health visitor for help from everything from sleeping, to feeding, to my mental health, to vaccinations and common illnesses, to using a pacifier, to language and local nurseries. I’m sure she’s sick of us by now!
Because of the good relationship I had with my health visitor and my G.P I felt comfortable talking to people when I struggled with my post natal mental health.
There are no stupid questions. It’s okay to be worried. It’s okay to ask for more information. It’s okay to ask for help if you ever need it.
Don’t let yourself get isolated
It’s all too easy to become isolated after the birth of a new baby. Getting out and about with a newborn can be challenging – but isolation can lead to post natal mental illness not to mention just affecting your mood generally. This positive parenting tip is to try and get out and about even if it’s for a walk around the block, or a trip to the local Starbucks for a coffee. If there are any mum groups or play groups in the area, it’s worth popping along just to feel like part of society again and reaching out to friends and family to see who fancies grabbing a slice of cake could be exactly what you need to get you out and about.
Take photos and build memories
If there’s one thing I wish I’d done it was take even more photos. Specifically photos with me in it as well, and more video! So my tip is to take way more than you think you’ll ever want because trust me, when you’re looking back on it you’ll want to have ever moment you can recorded.
Pick your battles
You can’t win every battle. Pick them wisely. I’m sure you had lots of ideas of what you would or wouldn’t do before you had your first baby. I sure did. Let me list a few, you’ll probably laugh… I won’t be using a dummy, I won’t hand him off to someone else when he’s crying, I won’t sleep with him in the bed, I won’t cook him frozen food, I won’t give him fast food, I won’t let him drink juice or sugary drinks, I won’t give in when he has a tantrum, not ever…. I had a lot of ideas for absolutes. What have I learned? I don’t need to win every one of these battles.
The truth is parenting is about compromise – give and take. And sometimes you have to compromise with yourself!
Show affection to the people around you
Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a new baby who has become your whole world – but remember to show affection to your partner, your family and your friends too. A hug at the end of a hard day can make a big difference to everyone.
Respect parenting differences
My final positive parenting tip which are hopefully helping parents of newborns is that we have to respect each other and our parenting differences. Of course, there are some absolutes, but much of parenting is about opinion and personal choice. As long as our children are well cared for and well loved, healthy and safe, does it really matter if we agree with everything that another parent does? So what, we’d do it differently – that’s our choice to make, and I think that parents would all be happier if we accepted our way isn’t the only way that works.