You are the Parent

Nothing brings out the advisor in people like a new baby, especially a new healthy baby, especially a new healthy baby born to novice parents.

Prior to having a child, most of us are blissfully unaware of the volumes of wisdom our friends and families have about exactly what you should and shouldn’t do with the baby. For all of their differences, friends, family and would be advisors share a key attribute; they are not the parents. They will not be doing the breast-feeding or the formula feeding, the getting up with, the letting cry, the not letting cry, the swaddling, the not swaddling, letting them have a pacifier, not letting them have a pacifier, keeping their room warm or cold, hat or no hat, pierced ears, no pierced ears. However different new parents are, you share the important very recent earth shattering change of status; you are the parents.

To thrive, the baby has to eat, sleep and stay warm.

If you keep the baby with you most of the time and are holding the baby most of the awake time, the baby will stay warm. If it is a skinny baby, socks and a hat will help. Babies don’t need the thermostat at 80+. Their hands and feet should normally be slightly cooler than their bellies. If they are too cold their hands and feet will be clenched and blue and cold.

Whether the baby is big or small, bottle fed or breast-fed, Irish, African, Chinese, or Italian, there are almost no exceptions to the following rules: 1. If the baby is hungry, feed the baby; 2. If the baby is asleep, let the baby sleep; and 3. Enlarging upon these rules and looking for exceptions is more trouble than it’s worth.

Trust your heart. Your instincts have evolved over millions of years. You can probably trust your feelings. If a mistake is made as a result of following your feelings it’s unlikely to be a serious one and not nearly as dangerous as the mistakes we made ignoring our instincts. Babies are designed to withstand all sorts of bad advice and novice parents, so please try to enjoy being a new parent. These days won’t come again. Your child won’t remember them but you will and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow like no other.