Advice From New Parents: A Common Thread

One of the many things I enjoy about our childbirth class reunions is giving each parent a bit of paper and asking them to write down one piece of advice that they would offer to newly expectant parents. (I then scrapbook these along with our class reunion photos.)

Perhaps predictably, much of the advice falls under the categories of sleep (or, more precisely, lack thereof), breastfeeding, asking for help, and the need for flexibility in expectations surrounding the birth process. And so, without further ado, here is some of the advice my students have shared over the years:

  • Trust your instincts, trust nature. Birth is the most natural and powerful experience.
  • When the baby sleeps (daytime naps and nighttime)… YOU need to sleep as well.
  • It is not true that babies don’t know when they need to pee. Just observe them and you will know when.
  • Get your day-to-day life organized before your due date and let your friends and family help you at least for one month after the baby is born.
  • Choose your birth team wisely and listen to your gut instincts when deciding!!
  • Whatever birth you are planning, prepare yourself for the opposite. Have a good birth plan, tour the hospital and enjoy every minute.
  • Be prepared to accept if your plan fails you. The goal is a healthy baby.
  • Enjoy your birth even if it doesn’t go as planned.
  • Trust your body – it knows what to do!
  • You know what’s BEST for your baby.
  • Don’t give up on breastfeeding once home from the hospital.
  • No matter what happens, be supportive!
  • You can have a plan, but nothing can truly prepare you for the experience.
  • I wish someone would have told me about SLEEP DEPRIVATION!
  • As for labor: Embrace the contraction! Don’t run from it. 🙂
  • Your baby will come when he/she is ready. Know that your baby already knows when it’s time to come out.
  • Here’s a piece of advice: Expect the unexpected!
  • Make the experience be what you want it to be.
  • Trust that your baby knows her birthday… even though it’s hard to wait…
  • Give the push present early, before the pushing begins.
  • Sleep NOW and listen to your midwives!
  • Never give up on breastfeeding.
  • Eating healthy is hard to sustain but worth it all the way!
  • Read the book “90 minute Sleep Solutions” or at least understand the concept of “sleep signs” 90 minutes after waking.
  • Don’t be surprised about the intensity of the contractions – they do hurt, but they’re soooo worth it!
  • During labor, remember to breathe and know you can do it!
  • Be strong and have a good plan.
  • Be prepared for all your plans to go out the window. Plan for a healthy baby and to fall in love and the rest is gravy.
  • When people ask to help, LET THEM!
  • Get a lot of sleep and rest before delivery.
  • Don’t give up on breastfeeding even if the beginning is difficult and painful.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to say “No, thanks” if you don’t want it. Prioritize yourselves and the baby, the family and friends will understand.

What advice would you give to expectant parents?

 

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