Practical Tips for New Parents

Updated on February 12, 2010
C.B. asks from Franklin, OH
18 answers

What practical tips to you give new parents? For example: Use a lingerie bag to keep together baby socks in the washing machine or using multiple sheets and waterproof pads on the crib to save time. Thanks!

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answers from Norfolk on

- Sleep when the baby sleeps. Grab naps as frequently as you can.
- No one comes to visit without bringing a casserole- it's one less meal you will have to make.
- If anyone offers to help run errands, do some laundry, etc - let them.



answers from Missoula on

Have a fully stocked baby medicine kit already to go before baby shows up...infant tylenol, thermometer, pedialyte, mylicon, baby vicks, syringes, little notebook with pencil which includes dr.'s #s so you can write down when meds are given and temp taken...etc....also, buy all white socks!!

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answers from Indianapolis on

1. Trust your instincts
2. Don't buy every parenting book out there
3. When in doubt, don't hesitate to call your pediatrician
4. Ask friends who've done it recently
5. Resist the temptation to compare your child to others with their developmental milestones.
6. The American Academy of Pediatrics is ALWAYS changing their recommendations. Ask your pediatrician about things (such as when and what kinds of foods to give babies) or visit this website:
7. You can not love a child enough. It's OK to spoil them with love for the first few months.
8. You are the parent - you'll need to establish that soon. Your children are a reflection of you. It is our responsibility to mold them into responsible adults one day and be models for them
9. It's OK to make mistakes.
10. Don't forget to reaffirm their positive behaviors more than their scolding their negatives.
11. Life will never be the same again, your relationship with your spouse will change dramatically, and you can't expect that it won't be different
12. Life will throw you amazing curve balls. Don't forget to tell your children every single day how much you love them - you never know when the day will come that you might not be able to.

Good luck, enjoy, and laugh!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I am a full time working mom (M-F) so I am not sure if this will apply. Its really hard to keep an organized, clean house when I am gone for 10 hours per day but here is what I do to keep my sanity.

Sundays-go and buy necessities for baby (formula diapers etc) I try to keep a 2-3 week supply so I dont have to go every other day

Mon and tues- sanitzie toys, organized clothes if baby is going to a new size . i try to keep these days open for downtime

Wednesday -clean Bathrooms, dust and sanitize countertops

Thursday -Laundry...and I dont go to bed until they are washed AND put away.(except the baby clothes..i put hers away in the morning because I dont want to disturb her sleep

Friday -Vaccuum, wash kitch floor. Then I have the weekend OFF so I can play with my baby!!

in her room, I have all of her diaper things in one drawer (diaper cream, thermoter, wipes) in a sealed bag I have the motrin, orajel. that way the room is not cluttered with little things
we also bought a book shelf for all of the books we read to her. She usually pulls them all out but we play the pick up game before bedtime.

When she was REALLY little, We set up the pack n play on the main level with a diaper station so I didnt have to run upstairs everytime she poo'd herself (which was at every feeding)
good luck. Congrats on being new parents. its really a trying time.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Co-sleep, cloth diaper, breast feed, and baby wear. Read "The Baby Book" by Drs. Sears.

Always, always, always trust your instincts.
If you don't like your ped, switch to a different one right away.
Use sources like mamapedia to help answer questions.
Never EVER under ANY circumstances give your baby Karo syrup or Honey until they are 1. Same with peanutbutter.
Babies cry because there's something wrong. They don't learn how to manipulate until they are at least a year old.
Every baby is different. Some sleep through the night right away, some wake at night until they're 3. If your child wakes up and cries for a bottle or the breast, feed them. It's ok! And it's just easier on everyone.
Relax, breath and enjoy your baby :D



answers from Lafayette on

With blowout diapers, wash clothes promptly, wash on hot, and wash with oxyclean. :)

If you need a break, it's OK to put a crying baby down, leave the room, and take a moment for yourself. A baby won't actually hurt themselves by crying unattended for a few moments, and a quick moment for yourself can make you a much better parent.



answers from Duluth on

always trust YOUR INSTINCTS. each baby is unique; and requires his or her own set of parenting styles, even siblings. dont be afraid to do things differently with each kid, but keep the basics the same; all babies need their mothers/fathers, they need to be responded to and fed, changed, clothed, etc. but each baby differs in how/when/how often/how much they need to sleep, eat, etc. follow your baby. dont watch the clock on anything; just do what you have to do when you know your baby needs it. listening to your infant from the day they are born makes a WORLD of difference later when they are 2 and you either understand them or you dont. i found that listening close, always being responsive and sensitive to my son's needs, and always listening to MY instincts (not my doctor's, friend's, parent's, inlaw's) ensured that i had a son who at 2 i could understand was tired, hungry, frustrated, hot, cold, whatever. as a result, the terrible twos didnt exist. trying threes are different, but i still can read him; when hes hungry, tired, stressed out, whatever. its totally different from any experience i have heard described from other mothers. so trust me, LISTEN to your baby, and your instincts, and follow them, even if it goes against what others tell you. they are not responsible for your baby and they are not as emotionally connected as you are. you are the mom/dad! its your child, you raise them the way you know is best.



answers from Minneapolis on

*Have two of the most needed items (boppy, basket of diapers, wipes, clothes, bibs, burp cloths, etc.) IF you have a two story home. You will not want to run back and forth for one item.
*Save boxes and packages of items you will only use a few months so you can store or sale the item later.
*You do not need every baby gear item available. Try to find ones that are multipurpose.
* If you plan to breastfeed, look at renting or buying a second hand electronic breast pump. You never know how long you'll actually be able to do it (even with the best intentions). Parts that have been used can be replaced pretty inexpensively.
* If breastfeeding, use a hair tie or rubber band on your wrist to mark what side you will either nurse on next or nursed on the last time (your choice). I also wrote down in a notebook each feeding, what side and for how many minutes. This helped me "see" a pattern and start making a routine. Sleep deprivation makes it very hard to do this!
* If breastfeeding, use the changing rooms at the department stores to nurse. In your car will probably be the most comfortable, though. Only a few stores have a place for you to nurse comfortably.
*If breastfeeding, keep the breast milk in the plastic pouch until it is time for baby to eat. It is easier, quicker, and better for the milk to warm it up in the pouch under warm water than in a thick bottle. I did this when I went out in public where I knew I wouldn't be comfortable to breastfeed. The milk will stay cooler in the pouch with the frozen pack than in the bottle.
*Be prepared for unsolicited advice. Have a ready to go response READY. This includes in-laws and out-laws! "Thanks for the information, I'll think about that."
*Get out of the house without babe for a few hours (you may have to work up to this!) each week. Dad (and mom) needs to learn that he can do it all on his own. It helps Baby and Dad bond without Mom looking over and "suggesting" how to do EVERYTHING. :) It also helps Mom feel some independence. Then, when baby is older, Mom gets to go out once a week for some quality girl time.
*Keep the communication line open with Dad and all caregivers. If working opposite shifts use a notepad or dry erase board to mark down when baby ate, pooped, had medicine, etc.
*Hold that baby as much as you want to! That's why they come in such adorable packages. :)

Best wishes!



answers from Indianapolis on

There's nothing 5 minutes at the breast won't fix. So, nurse on demand every time they cry and don't believe anyone who says you can spoil an infant, it's just SOOOOOOOOO not proven.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Only use a pacifier for the first 4-6 months, after that it becomes transitional to the child to give it up. Only use a bottle for the first 12 months for the same reason. When it's time to give it up, do it cold turkey. Don't sleep with your baby. If you do, you're setting yourself up for a huge breaking of habits when the baby's a little older. Don't rock the baby to sleep. Lay the baby down in the crib BEFORE they fall asleep. It teaches them that when they're laid down in their bed, it's time to sleep. If you can do this, you are developing good sleeping habits for them. Once your baby is about 2-3 months old, start trying to lay them down at the same time each time to develop a schedule. You'll thank yourself later!!



answers from Columbus on

Breastfeeding tips - Get a spiral notebook and write down the time, how long and which side you started with for each feeding. You think you will remember by the next feeding but you won't!. If you are pumping at work, purchase multiple sets of pump parts. If you pump more than once a day, after the first session you can put all the parts in the frig and use them for the next session without having the wash them. This allowed me to only have to wash parts every other night rather than every night - a huge time saver for me!

I have kept this notebook and continue to add developmental milestones, comments, funny stories, etc.

Bottle/formula tips - When out and about, take bottles with correct amount of water and add formula when ready. This way you do not have to keep it cold. Also, don't start out heating up bottles. If they get use to it at room temperature then you never have to bother with heating them up.

Dishwasher tips - Use a enclosed plastic basket for all small bottle or sippy cup parts. Also, you can wash plastic toys, etc. in the dishwasher (anything that can be submerged in water). I have even used a lingerie bag for smaller plastic items and ran it through the dishwasher. This is great for cleaning purchased used toys or toys after illnesses, etc.

Luvies/Stuffed Animals - Only purchase ones that are machine washable. If it ends of being your child's favorite, it will need to be washed - many times! Also, for the favorite, purchase 2 identical ones so that you are able to wash it without any separation issues (never show them that there are 2 though).

Clothing - During the first year or so, always have the current size clothing and at least the next size in drawers/available. Sizing varies so you don't want to miss an opportunity of something running small and never getting to wear it.

Hope these help!



answers from Sacramento on

1. Don't get set in any parenting style, product, etc. You will change your mind. Breastfeeding, for instance, just may not work out or you may find that making your own baby food just doesn't work with your busy schedule. Don't beat yourself up over decisions you thought were great at the time or that someone else insisted is the only way to go. I've learned to never say never (Well, I will NEVER ...), because you will find there's a rationale and benefit to other approaches.

2. If someone offers to watch the baby for you, don't use the time to run errands or clean. SLEEP! That's what you will need most. You can do errands any other time, but being given time to catch up on sleep is gold.

3. If you're bottlefeeding, alternate full night shifts. The parent on baby duty sleeps in another room with the monitor, so the other can sleep. Getting a full night of sleep every other night makes a HUGE difference in how you function all week long.



answers from Toledo on

Echoing what several have said. Cuddle your baby and love them. Here are other random thoughts.
- Remember nothing lasts forever. Just when you think you have it down, the baby grows and you have to figure it all out again.
- Trust your instincts with sleep. You only have a short time to cuddle them. If you want the quiet time with them to rock them to sleep, enjoy it. You will cherish it later.
- The best thing we ever did for potty training was to get a portable, foldable potty seat. Called the Cushie Tushie. It has made potty training so much better because it allowed us to continue in restaurants and when at friends' houses.
- Read, read, read to your kids. It is so much fun and great for them!
- I tuck one sock inside the other to keep the multiple pairs together.
- We soak all stained things in Oxy Clean, sometimes for multiple days. It has gotten out mildew, spit up, diaper explosions, etc.
- you don't have to buy Dreft - any hypoallergenic detergent works great
- we have found stacking cups make the best toys. We have used them as regular toys, bath toys, swim toys. They are great!
- You can use magnadoodles from 14-15 months on.
- with each daughter I have made a diary from when they were born, recording firsts and just little moments through the day. They are wonderful to go back and look at later.
- We took set pictures every month of each girl for the first year and then put them in a one year frame. Watching the transition is amazing!
- Remember you are a team with your husband. He will have his own style with your child but it is so important and you have to present a united front. The kids knonw how to work you from a very young age.



answers from Nashville on

I'd give them this website. =0) And then I'd tell them to sign up and register on every baby product website they can think of b/c they will send tons of freebies and wonderful coupons! And, if you sign up under nearby family as can double or triple the amount of stuff!! All of them....luvs, huggies, pampers, gerber, johnson and johnson, similac, enfamil, nestle good starts.....ALL OF THEM!!! Free is always nice. =0) Also, I always tell new parents about (click on "first time visitors" and then "I would like to enroll my child"). It's a wonderful program that will send your child one book per month until their 5th birthday! It's wonderful. My kids are 6 and almost 4 and they love their extensive collection of these books! They are nice hardcover cute books! When my daughter got her last book....her kindergarten book after her 5th bday, I actually cried!!! LOL It has a beautiful letter on the inside cover about how much she's grown over the years and her journey to school beginning. Just a wonderful, FREE, program! Congrats to the newbies! =0)



answers from New London on

Don't buy too many size one diapers because your baby grows really fast those first few months. :) What area of tips and what age? baby, toddler, safety, feeding, Breastfeeding, health, colds, allergies? or all subjects?
if your baby is a drooler or a spitter upper have baby wear a bib all day, that way you only change bib, not whole outfit. When changing diaper, open clean new diaper and slip under baby and dirty diaper, that way if baby goes you have a clean diaper under her already when you remove the dirty diaper. I learned that one the hard way. Don't wake a sleeping baby unless they are really young and you need to nurse. Keep diapers and wipes both upstairs and downstairs but in a changing location. Babies need to washed at least every few days and make sure to get all locations, every crevice, behind ears, inside every fold and crease, behind elbows, and inside wrists and under neck. These are places that may get forgotten and if they are not cleaned can turn red and get sores. If you are not home from the hospital yet, take whatever they will give you ... the pacifiers, blankets, diapers, formula, bottles, manual expresser, wipes, etc. If I think of more, I'll add later. Best wishes to you!!



answers from Washington DC on

Baby clothes -
- don't remove tags from clothes until the baby arrives.
- Don't wash gender specific clothes before the baby arrives.
- Restock the diaper bag nightly as part of your bedtime routine.
- Be sure to change YOUR outfit daily/get dressed. Once you are dressed, you can take on the world.
- A shower is a shower whether its at 8am or 3am.
- Use a small basket in the dresser for socks.



answers from Los Angeles on

Keep the baby out of your bed(referring to bedtime/naptime) and stock up on batteries!! =)

Good Luck and Congrats!



answers from Chicago on

the two most important items of baby equipment you will need are a carseat and a crib. 3rd most important is a swing. First two are an absolute must. But the third is a lifesaver when your tired and the baby won't sleep.

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