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Parents Share Advice They Wish They Knew Before Having Kids

You read, you take classes, but nothing really prepares you for first-time parenting. At least you have Pampers® to make the diaper part easy.

Adult hands cup a newborn's feet.

1. Let go of the idea of a clean home.

Everything will be destroyed and it doesn't matter! I had to let go of the idea that I would have a nice, clean home. Applesauce is stuck to the walls. My front door has chalk drawings on it. There are piles of clean clothes mixed with dirty clothes everywhere. And as soon as my partner and I stopped trying to fix everything, I was able to relax and enjoy parenthood more. I started out with the perfect stack of diapers next to wipes and cream. Now? I'm like, "Oh, there's a clean diaper! Grab it!" 

—Alison P.

A messy, toy-filled living room.

2. The immediate post-birth period can be rough.

Don’t know how to say this in a nice way, but I wish I knew how miserable the immediate post-birth period is. Your body has been through so much but instead of resting, which is normally what you would do after you got in an accident, you are forced to never sleep for more than an hour or two at a time!

Like, obviously everyone knows that having a newborn (or two newborns in my case lol) is difficult, but the living/breathing of that experience is so different. If I had known, I think I would have been way more emotionally ready.

—Talia G.

A mother lies in a hospital bed with her newborn lying on her chest.

3. Be kind to yourself.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect parent and because of that, I was anxious a lot of the time. I wish someone had told me to understand that you'll do your best, but you won't always get it right and that's okay. When you're kinder to yourself, you're a healthier, happier parent, which can only be better for your child.

—Sean M.

4. Be clear about your boundaries with relatives and friends.

In hindsight, I wish I would have made it clear early on or before the baby was born that everyone parents differently and parental decisions are up to...THE PARENTS! So if I could do it over, I would have been transparent about how things like what we feed her are not up for judgment or to please respect our wishes about what classes she takes or how we don't want a lot of gifts.

—Missy L.

A grandma watches and a mother feeds her baby.

5. Stash extra diapers in the glove compartment of your car.

Ideally, you routinely fill your diaper bag with diapers. But you will be rushed and tired, and you will forget. So keep stashes of diapers everywhere — especially in the glove compartment of your car. Because if you don’t, there will come the day when you will be that parent walking around the park or the zoo or a museum, asking everyone for a spare…like me.

—Kurt D.

A hand opens the glove compartment of a car.

6. Give yourself grace.

If you don’t have the energy to wrestle your child into clothes, there’s nothing wrong with letting them run around in diapers all day. They’ll love the freedom and it’s just supercute.

—Emily H.

A baby walks around the living room in their dad's shoes.

7. Babies don't need a lot of stuff.

You don’t have to get the fanciest stroller, the gorgeous crib, or the $500 baby seat. The first few weeks, they literally just need LOVE, milk, diapers/wipes, and a few outfits that you’re OK with being ruined LOL.

—Kelly P.

8. Don't let social media make you feel self-conscious or bad about yourself as a parent.

I follow a lot of other parents on social media, as well as parenting "influencers" and accounts that give behavior/feeding advice. Sometimes, I get value from these follows but a lot of the time, seeing a mom posed in her perfectly clean house with her perfectly dressed baby on her hip talking about how she never lets her kids have any screentime makes me feel like a disorganized and lazy parent. I always remind myself that these people have their own messy realities and what they are actually showing on social media is not their day-to-day life, but I'm also never afraid to hit that Unfollow button if I need to!

—Victoria H.

9. Stop worrying so much!

Advice that I wish I knew is you're probably doing a good job and you should stop worrying!

—Sergio G.

Two fathers happily play with their baby.

First-time parenting is the most exhausting, funny, scary, amazing experience you will ever have. Good thing you've got Pampers® to help!