Best Advice for New Parents

My great-grandmother always said “babies need air” – meaning that they should go outside every day.

I’m not sure if there is any science behind this (she also told me that I’d get kidney stones from sitting on cold pavement) but when I did have a baby, I made a point of going outside every day even if it was just a walk around the block or sitting in on the porch. I think this little custom helped me more than either of my kids because it gave me a bit of purpose in the haze of 24/7 newborn living, but I do feel like it helped set their little internal clocks, so I think she was on to something.

It’s a piece of advice I impart (if asked) to other new parents as well, but I wanted to know what you guys would tell a new parent (first-time in particular). I was blown away by all the great advice! Nothing will fit you to a tee, but I love the sentiment in all of them.

Let me know what else you would add, and feel free to pass it along to anyone who would find it helpful!

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  • Being home with a newborn can be mind numbingly boring at times, especially at first when they can’t interact and are just eating all the time. Make a list of movies and tv shows you want to stream and try to enjoy the downtime 🙂

  • I’m sure this has been said but my #1 advice is…it may be so overwhelming that you find yourself wishing your child was older because then it will be easier…but man when they finally are you would do anything to have them little agian, so don’t rush it and enjoy every moment!

  • One thing I plan to change next time around will be to get sleep whenever I can, especially in the hospital. We had people coming to visit and with all the other hospital staff that is in and out of the room – I got practically no sleep. Next time, we will tell all visitors (grandparents, aunts/uncles) to come at the same time and rotate in and out of the room over a 1-2 hour period rather than them all coming at differing times through the day. You don’t realize just how important sleep is until you don’t get any…

  • I received two great pieces of advice for my first:
    1) You will get so much conflicting advice. Follow only that which comes from those who’s parenting you trust.
    2) At some point you will accidentally hurt your child/baby. They will recover and forget it.

  • Have your partner or someone (anyone!) Make a sandwich, snacks, something quick to eat for the day if you’re going to be alone with the newborn. Sometimes making yourselffood is darn near impossible.

    Find a community of other new parents be it Peps, Mops, stroller strides or the local hospital giving free parenting classes. It’s group therapy and those friendships last forever.

  • I’m a little torn about googling.
    Depending on which part of the internet you arrive on, it can be very helpful. I learned a lot of tricks, found answers and sometimes even comfort and encouragement on various forums and blogs (like this one, for example. Wink-wink).

    Also, what can be more entertaining at 3 in the morning, when you are up for the 67th night in a row with your hungry-hungry newborn, than to read about the effects of sleep deprivation.

    I’m kidding, don’t Google that. Really, don’t. I’ll summarize it for you: sleep deprivation is the worst. But it will pass and you will be yourself again.

  • I can’t take all the credit for this one….it was advice given to me by my pediatrician who was also the pediatrician for my children…..throw away all the how to books and baby manuals…..they are not gospel…….babies can’t read…..they don’t know what they are supposed to do and no two are alike. Enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly times for years from now you will wish you had them all back.

  • A friend told me once that if you get one other thing done besides taking care of the baby, then it was a great, productive day.

    I think that helped me set realistic expectations, and helped keep some of the pressure and anxiety away.

  • With my first baby, I wish someone had told me that:
    1) breastfeeding is really really hard at first, but gets so much easier. I remember expecting it to be so easy because it’s the "natural way" and when it wasn’t, I felt so discouraged
    2) postpartum anxiety is real… And terrible. I never knew there was such a thing

  • Couldn’t agree more with the advice to stop googling! There is so much conflicting information out there, I nearly lost my mind trying to figure out what was what. In the end, you know your baby best. Let your instincts guide you – trust yourself!

  • Something that helped me those first few weeks… Make a list of all the things you want/need to do, then choose ONE thing off that list that you get to do each day. Maybe it’s taking a bath, walking to the corner store, calling a friend, writing a letter to your kid, whatever… But it’s your ONE THING for the day. Don’t try to do all. You won’t and you shouldn’t.

  • A bit is silly advice: if the baby starts to poop before you can get the new diaper on, don’t use your hand to catch the poop. It’s impossible to put on a new diaper with one clean hand and one that’s full of poop! Just let them go!

  • I found two pieces of advice really helpful:

    1. It is ok if the baby cries for a while.
      2. The baby cannot fall off the floor.
      In combination, this means that you can put the baby down and go to another room if you need a few minutes to get your sh*t together. This is totally cool.

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