There’s so much we wish we had known when our kids were babies, and we were stressed, anxious, or just entirely clueless. All normal feelings when you’re juggling a new baby or toddler! But hey, maybe we can help you out a little here.
So in addition to the hilarious bad parenting advice we once received, we’re now sharing some of the things we grew to learn over the years, that could have saved us…well, a lot of stress, anxiety and cluelessness.
As for you, if you’re a new parent, thanks to BTDT parents like us, and our amazing partner, ParentEducate.com, you can help learn the important stuff right off the bat, so that you can start to form your own judgment, boundaries, and parenting style. Really, the goal is to help you learn to trust your own gut so you can parent with confidence.
Because hey, isn’t that what it’s all about? Learning from parenting experts so you can eventually become one yourself?
9 things we wish we knew when our kids were babies
We’re so happy to bring you this post on behalf of our sponsor ParentEducate.com, because they are a terrific source for actual good advice! More than good advice — expert advice you can trust. In fact, they are fast becoming the go-to resource for expecting parents, and parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers, because ParentEducate.com offers a huge library of 80+ research-based online parenting courses, developed by ChildCare Education Institute, the #1 accredited trainer of preschool and kindergarten educators.
This means you can learn from short courses created by parenting pros, all packed with the same info and techniques used by leading early childhood educators around the country. They’re even fun. And did we mention short? Just 20-30 minutes each.
It’s just one more parenting resource we wish had been around when we our kids were babies.
Sign up now for a free 7-day trial of their online parenting courses and explore courses on adjusting to parenthood, positive child guidance, brain development in children, constructive play, child safety, discipline and more. You’ll quickly become fluent in expert parenting — so fluent, you’ll be able to laugh at all the bad advice too. And be sure to use code CMP21 to get 20% off a one-month subscription.
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1. The first day your baby comes home will be the weirdest day of your life
We remember all the anticipation, the excitement, the preparation for bringing the baby home, if you have a hospital or out-of-home birth. But the thing no one tells you is that once you get home, you’ll be like…”uh, now what?”
Now what, indeed!
Most likely the baby will be sleeping, with some eating in there. Or, eating with some sleeping in there. A few diaper changes, and really that’s it. So plan to chill out with a good book or a favorite Netflix series or send thank you notes or whatever you’re up for. It’s most likely that the baby isn’t going to need you for long stretches in those early days.
2. You don’t need to baby proof until you actually have a baby. Or better, a toddler.
You know what newborn babies are going to get into when they come home? NOTHING. They are newborns! They mostly just lie there! So seriously, don’t bother with the door latches and other plastic baby proofing doodads on your registry.
You’ve heard of child-led weaning? We believe in child-led baby proofing. And while we mentioned this in our first post in this series, it bears repeating again.
When you have a child old enough to start exploring those under-sink cabinets, outlets, or oven knobs, that’s when you’ll need to make everything safe. You can learn even more from the ParentEducate.com course on child safety at home.
3. Find your people. You’ll need them.
The expression “it takes a village to raise a child” isn’t just some cliché. You’ll need to find those kindred spirits who support you, understand you, listen without judgment. From BTDT parent friends, to grandparents and aunts and cousins, to that nice neighbor who seems to know all the good babysitters in the area, get that village together.
Don’t think you have to do this alone. Your network of support is everything.
4. Find new people when the people you think are your people aren’t your people anymore.
Sometimes you think you’ve found your people only to outgrow them as you hit new phases with your child.
That amazing woman in your new moms group who helped you through the infant phase may not really end up being the right support for you when you hit the toddler phase. Or you may love your bestest, oldest friend from grade school, but when you get your kids together for the first time, you may discover that you’re raising them verrrrry differently and some of those differences make you uncomfortable.
It happens; parents diverge as our babies grow, and you need to find the strength and flexibility to move if you need to. Again, trust your gut! It will serve you well.
By the way, you really can find your people online, through virtual birth groups, blogs, social media communities and more. Sometimes the most supportive network includes those incredible people you would have otherwise met in person.
Hey, that’s how the founders Cool Mom Picks met over 15 years ago!
5. Spend less on the crib
Looking back at how little time the baby actually spent in the crib, all things considered, you don’t need to spend a fortune on the top-notch designer crib. Spend more on the mattress. Or the bedding. Or heck, order in one really fancy adult dinner and it’s money better spent than that pretty, boxy thing that takes up half the nursery, which becomes an overpriced storage for clean baby laundry more often than you might think.
Save your money. Even if you win the $1000 sweepstakes Grand Prize from ParentEducate.com, save that money too.
Bonus tip: Before the baby is born, join a wholesale club or online delivery service so that you can get the best prices possible on massive boxes of diapers. Like, big honkin’ monster truck sized boxes of diapers. You will go through them. Fast. And you don’t want to pay retail every time.
About our sponsor:
On-Demand Online Parenting Classes Taught by Pros
If you’re looking for the best parenting advice, don’t just take our word for it. Check out the engaging, short, expert courses at ParentEducate.com. Developed by ChildCare Education Institute, the #1 trainer of pre-K and kindergarten teachers, you’ll be getting the same information provided in accredited courses to leading early childhood educators around the country, thanks to a library of 80+ research-based online courses that’s growing every week.
Popular courses include child brain development, constructive play, discipline tips, becoming an eco-friendly household, reducing the risk of SIDS, and more. And since you’re busy with that child of yours, you can learn right on your schedule, accessing courses from anywhere at any time, even your phone.
Sign up now for a free 7-day trial at ParentEducate.com through this link, and get free access to the entire library of expert parenting courses. Use code CMP21 to save 20% off a one-month subscription for a limited time.
Plus, be sure to enter their $2500 sweepstakes exclusive to Cool Mom Picks readers, for a chance to win a $1000 cash grand prize, plus gift cards toward Amazon and more. Scroll down on this page for details. It’s easy to enter!
7. You will do all the things as a parent you say you will never do.
One of the best parenting book titles ever is Trisha Ashworth’s I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. It’s so true!
You think you’ll never ever let them watch TV until they’re 10? You’ll be a stickler for sending thank you notes within 24 hours? You’ll read to your child every single night without fail? You’ll never put them in princess t-shirts? You won’t buy any plastic toys?
Cool, cool. All great goals.
Just please, don’t beat yourself up if and when some of those things change. They probably will.
8. If you feel judged, it’s not about you.
Wow, do we get judged as new parents! Especially new moms. We feel judged about how we feed our babies, how we dress them, how we carry them, how we care for them, how much we work out of the house, how little we work out of the house, even what we name our babies.
When you get judgment from other new parents, from your own family members, or uh, random strangers on the street, it’s hard. We’re feeling insecure during a really vulnerable time, and we want reassurance that we’re going okay.
You’ll just have to find that reassurance somewhere else sometimes.
If your kid is biting another kid in the playground? Okay, someone’s going to have an opinion on that. (By the way, ParentEducate.com offers a very popular course on why kids bite and what to do about it.)
But for the most part, concern trolling (“Wow, it feels a little chilly out there, are you sure he shouldn’t be wearing thicker socks?”), judgments, and condemnation is something to learn to let go of.
It helped us to remember that judgment tends to come from someone else’s insecurity. If you feel judged about a choice you made quite deliberately, just smile, nod, and move on. Or hey, come up with a list of snarky comebacks if only in your head. That feels kind of good sometimes.
9. Most of the stuff you worry about really aren’t things to worry about
Speaking of judgment, looking back, so many of our worries were over truly insignificant things. I mean, of course there are a lot of very real things to worry about. Like if your baby won’t eat one of the recommended green vegetables…Tragedy!
(Just kidding. That’s not a tragedy. At all.)
Look, if your baby swallows a penny or rolls off the bed, then yes, of course call your pediatrician. (As us how we know.) If you’re worried about significant milestone delays, get expert advice. But for the most part, remember that many of things you’ll stress about — when their first tooth comes in, when they take their first step, when they can say full sentences like “can I please have $10 for Starbucks?” — will really not matter in the long run.
It feels good to let just a few of those worries go as a new parent.
We have enough as it is, don’t you think?
Thanks so much to our awesome partner, ParentEducate.com and the confidence they’re helping to instill in new parents with actual science-based, expert advice used by the pros who help teach our kids too. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial at ParentEducate.com through this link for complete access, and use code CMP21 to get 20% off a one-month subscription now through 10/17/2021.
And be sure to enter their $2500 sweepstakes while you’re there! Lots of you will win prizes, and one of you will win $1000 cash!
Baby images: Jonathan Borba + Juan Encalada + via Unsplash