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    Long-Time Parents Are Giving Really Solid Tips To People Who Are About To Have Kids For The First Time, And This Is Really Important

    "It may not seem like such a big thing, but I have saved myself from so many surprise messes by doing it."

    Whether you're thinking about becoming a parent or your family is about to give birth or adopt very soon, taking care of a baby can be an incredibly rewarding yet nerve-wracking experience. And even though there is a lot of advice out there on how to raise a child, we asked the BuzzFeed Community: "Tell us the most important yet not discussed tip every first-time parent should know." Here's what they had to say:

    a couple showing people that they're pregnant

    1. "When my firstborn was in NICU for a month, I made sure to watch the nurses to learn as much as I could for her care. One thing I picked up that I try to teach others as much as possible is to always lay the new diaper under the old one when changing. It may not seem like such a big thing, but I have saved myself from so many surprise messes, overflows, and mid-change pee fountains by laying the new one underneath first. It seemed like such a common sense thing when I saw it, but most other family members I know with kids don't ever do it. Lay the new diaper down first so all you have to do after pulling off the old one is close the new one up!"

    a stack of diapers

    2. "Keep a sick basket stocked at all times. Nothing worse than your 6-month-old getting their first fever and you’re scrambling at 2 a.m. because you have no infant Tylenol. Also, if they have a favorite binky/stuffed animal, etc., BUY MULTIPLE. It will inevitably get lost at some point, and you’ll be grateful you have a backup. Be proactive, not reactive."

    —Anonymous, 27, California

    3. "Babies change and develop so quickly that we lived by the two-week rule. Baby isn’t sleeping well? It’ll change in two weeks. Does the baby seem like all they do is eat/nurse? It’ll change in two weeks. It really helped me remember that tough times don't last forever."

    parents kissing baby

    4. "From the very beginning, you must be consequent. Your baby comes into this world not knowing a thing about routines and expectations. The routine you create becomes their norm; they don't know otherwise/different/better. Don't start something you will not be able to keep on doing. For example: singing and playing guitar to your baby at night for 30 minutes straight for the first week or two might be cute; however, you cannot then decide you are tired of it and stop, and then get upset if your baby is upset that you stopped. YOU created that expectation that your baby accepts as the 'norm.' Your baby doesn't know it isn't a necessity; they cannot rationalize it yet."

    "By all means, do special things for and with them. Just decide beforehand if you are willing to keep it up."


    5. "You are not obligated to let anyone visit you in the hospital after the baby is born or even at your home. You just went through some serious medical events, and you and the baby are in recovery. You do not need to entertain people on top of everything."

    a woman holding her belly

    6. "Three words: Full Cup Parenting. If your cup is empty, you cannot be the parent you want to be for your child. This can be alarmingly hard to lean into, especially for moms when we are expected to be all things to all people and sacrifice so much of ourselves. But if you are running on fumes, if your own mental/emotional/physical well is dry, then you have nothing to pour from. Holding on to your interests and hobbies that bring you joy is vital."

    "If you're with a partner, work together as a couple to ensure that both of you have the time during the day to do those things that feed your soul. For example, my husband enjoys gaming with his friends, so we do what we must do as a couple to ensure he has the time to do that daily. Exercise and yoga are crucial to my mental health, so we make sure there is time in the day for me to do that. 

    As a result, we are calmer, more grounded, and ready to dive head-first into providing our daughter with everything she needs. We are active and engaged because our cups are full."

    —Kate, 39, Georgia

    7. "Sleep train your baby! I can’t stress this enough; everyone I know who did not sleep train deals with a baby who has horrible sleep habits and is constantly getting up to soothe their child, even up to 5 to 7 years old. We did the 12-hour sleep training book and have had 7 p.m.-7 a.m. sleeps since our son was 5 months old, and we all get a good night's sleep. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Hell yes."

    a baby sleeping in the crib

    8. "If you're a first-time mom and you can't tell if your water broke or if you peed on yourself, head straight to the hospital! My best friend had this happen with her first child, and she thought it was urine so she cleaned herself up and went to bed. The next day, she had a doctor's appointment, and they discovered that she was leaking amniotic fluid, which was very dangerous. Luckily, her daughter turned out great and is one of the smartest kids in her class!"


    9. "If you’re having trouble nursing, ask your doctor or lactation consultant about lip and tongue ties, and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. I struggled to breastfeed my oldest because she just wouldn’t stay latched, and I felt like a failure when I gave up. (To be clear, choosing formula for whatever reason is never a failure!) At her first dentist appointment, the dentist took one look in her mouth and said, 'So, did you have trouble nursing?' She had a lip tie that the lactation consultant had missed."

    a woman nursing her child

    10. "I follow a motto I read someplace: 'You have thousands of opportunities every day to mess up your kid, don't use them today.' It makes me take a second to think before I do/say anything in the heat of the moment. Is what I was about to do/say really necessary? Where is this shit in me coming from, and what are the consequences? This motto has helped me to break the patterns I was raised with, like emotional and physical abuse."


    11. "That it's okay to apologize to your kids. My parents raised me to 'respect' adults, but that respect was actually fear. Adults don't always do the right thing, and I grew up believing that I couldn't trust my gut. My parents never told me they were sorry when they were obviously wrong. 'The adult is always right' is simply not true and damaging to a child's sense of autonomy and self. It's important for them to see how we react when we make mistakes. If I mess up, I own up to it and validate my child's feelings. The result is a very confident little person who is able to analyze situations for right and wrong and feel secure enough in herself and her decision-making to address the problem. If my parents had done this for me, I'd have been much less open to being affected by the bad behavior of some 'trusted' adults."

    a parent and child hugging each other

    12. "The smartest thing I ever did was when my daughter hit the age where she started to whine, I told her I couldn't hear her when she talked that way. That made her stop, take a breath, and say it in her normal voice. It stopped the whining before it even started."


    13. "When they get older, don't just tell them what they did wrong, remind them what they do right. The only attention I ever got when I was little was yelling when I did the smallest thing wrong. So, with my kid, I didn't yell at her; we would work together or talk about why things went wrong. Now, I have a communicative adult who had/has no problem asking for advice even if she feels she messed up."

    parents talking with kid

    14. "It’s okay not to breastfeed! It was assumed by many that I would, but my milk never came in. I was shamed heavily by others like I had a choice in the matter, and it exacerbated my postpartum anxiety. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice, and many times you do, and what you decide is fine because your baby is being fed. I don’t understand the mom-shaming mentality."


    15. "Treat your kids like human beings with their own thoughts and feelings. I know this may seem obvious, but many parents treat their kids as extensions of themselves. Trying to guide your kids to be good people is wonderful, but trying to shape and mold them into someone they’re not is cruel. Every kid comes out with their own likes, dislikes, personalities, complexes, you name it, and the best thing we can do as parents is meet them where they are and love them unconditionally."

    parents talking with kids on the basketball court

    16. "If you are feeling overwhelmed, first of all, it's okay; you don't need to be perfect. Second, put the baby somewhere safe (i.e. the crib, high chair, etc.), and go into another space for deep breaths. Take five minutes to get your head together. It's so easy to feel like you're screwing up and spiraling, but take a few breaths, you're probably doing a fine job."


    17. "Baby wipes will seriously dry out your hands; keep lotion handy for yourself."

    baby wipes next to the changing table

    18. "A portable breast pump is a lifesaver. In the beginning, you have to pump every few hours, and being tied down to one spot is annoying/depressing. Get a portable pump and move freely if you can."

    —MA, 28, New York

    19. "You don’t have to have every gadget and everything in place when the baby is born. I was stressed out of my mind. Amazon and other stores will still exist the day after delivery. Don’t let the whole registry craze make you worried. You really won’t know what you actually need until the baby is here."

    a baby on the floor with blocks and baby bottle

    20. "Baby sleep is so different than adult sleep! Yes, everyone has heard that babies don’t sleep much, but learning about wake windows, sleepy cues, etc. was life-changing for me! If you’re having a baby or have a newborn, do yourself a favor and look up 'wake windows.' An overtired baby or kid is almost always a recipe for disaster. Prioritizing sleep and becoming knowledgeable about how children should sleep will make your life better!"

    —LD, 35, Tennessee

    21. "My cousin told me this when I was depressed with a colicky newborn: 'You do not always have to like your child. You will love them and take care of them, but you don't have to like them. This stage will pass, and all stages good and bad will pass. You just have to push through some.' It was so freeing to get validation to be allowed those thoughts and feelings I had deemed bad. I still use those words every day four years later when my daughter is being a little asshole. I love her so much it hurts, but I certainly do not like her all the time, and that is OK."

    a dad holding a crying baby

    22. "Babies will change your relationship with your partner for better or worse. In most cases, your partner will no longer be #1 to you — and how they adapt to that will determine the course of your relationship."


    23. "Remember to pay attention to what works for YOUR family. All the advice in the world is useless if it doesn’t fit what your family needs! For all the big deal that people make about how to improve sleep, how to introduce solids, etc., etc., you almost certainly won’t be able to tell which parents did what by school age. And remember that each child is an individual. Respect the child you have (including any illnesses, disabilities, or neurodivergence that affects who they are and what they need) because every child is amazing, even if some parenting roads are harder to walk than others."

    a family with their baby

    Do you have any advice to give to first-time or about-to-be parents? If so, tell us what it is and why in the comments below: