Get expert tips to help you rock this parenthood thing.
If only new babies came with an instruction manual. Instead, every new parent learns through trial and error—which often makes you feel like you're doing everything wrong. Add in a little media-induced paranoia and social media-induced guilt, and it's no wonder we're all second guessing every move.
How can you start believing in yourself and your choices? We asked the experts to weigh in.
- Stop the helicoptering. Parents are supposed to be guides, not guards; mentors, not monitors. In my experience, those who understand this are generally happier, healthier, and report greater life and marital satisfaction and stronger relationships with their children.—Jane Scott, MD, author of The Confident Parent: A Pediatricians Guide to Caring for Your Little One.
- Remember, parenting isn't a science. All babies are individuals, so what worked for a friend or relative's baby may not work for yours. So do what's best for you and your baby and don't worry what other people say. As long as your baby is healthy and doing well, that's all that matters. — Lisa Orban, author of It'll Feel Better when it Quits Hurting
- Seek advice from those who've been there. Spend time interviewing older parents you trust. What lessons did they learn? What would they do differently? We often forget to tap into the wealth of resources in people older than us. By doing so, we can learn from their years of wisdom and become more confident ourselves. — Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist
- Read. The more books on parenting you read the more knowledgeable you'll become and the more confident you'll feel in your parenting skills. — Dr. Fisher
- Don't compare yourselves. Having a baby can be overwhelming and feeling like you have to keep up with the other parents can be exhausting. – Dr. Craig Bach, vice president of education for The Goddard School
- Get help. Many new parents feel overwhelmed because they are trying to do everything themselves—all household tasks and baby care—while not sleeping and recovering from birth. There are ways to delegate these tasks on any budget. Relatives, friends, and neighbors can help with pet care, errands, laundry, and meal preparation. Or you can hire someone to help where needed. — Beth Salerno, postpartum doula
- Limit or eliminate exposure to people and things that stress you out and undermine your parenting. As a new parent you may feel more sensitive and more easily overwhelmed. Surround yourself with positive people. — Salerno
- Trust yourself. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it. You know more than you think. —Megan Stonelake, therapist and parent coach.
- Allow for mistakes. We're human and we often learn from the mistakes we make. That's why newborns are resilient. Nature knew us parents would mess a few things up with our babies. — Keya Williams, psychologist
- Seek out a supportive playgroup. These can be found in your neighborhood, on Facebook, your synagogue or church, or from your doctor or midwife. While the advice that will be given might not always be correct, having a group of moms who are going through the exact same challenges will offer the support and reassurance that the new mom needs for each day. — Pam Morris, an Early Childhood Education Director