On Saturday, many family members and close friends gathered to celebrate the upcoming birth of our first grandchild. The expectant parents put the kabosh on silly baby shower games, much to the relief of all in attendance. But the maternal grandma-to-be and her close friend, who hosted the shower, asked the party goers to write their best new baby tips on cards which were presented to the new parents.
Most people wrote short tips, a few succinct words of advice. But true to form, this paternal grandma-to-be tried to write a top ten list on the spot. I didn’t succeed during the party – there just wasn’t time – but upon reflection and a day or two back home, my top 10 tips for expectant parents rounded out quite nicely.
10. Freeze some meals ahead of time. When preparing meals before the baby’s born, make double or triple batches of any dishes that can be frozen. You’ll appreciate every one of them once the baby comes!
9. Accept help. If you can, make a list of ways people can help, along with instructions. Examples: Prepare a basic staples grocery list so someone can do your shopping. Write down instructions about how to sort clothes and operate your washer and dryer so someone can take over that duty for a few weeks. Ditto for dishwasher and vacuum instructions, cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow, and other tasks around the house.
8. Forget about the housework. Reread and follow instructions in #9 instead.
7. Allow extra travel time. Getting out of the house with a new baby in tow takes much longer than you think. Start taking things to the car at least a half hour early for the first well-baby visit. Remember to take the baby, along with the car seat, diaper bag, and everything else.
6. Trust your gut. Docs, nurses, and seasoned parents may know more about babies than you do, but you know more about your baby than they do. So when you think something’s not quite right, trust your gut and ask about it.
5. Take lots of photos. Babies grow up so fast. Capture memories while you can.
4. Talk to your baby every day. Want your child to talk early and communicate well? Then make eye contact with your baby and talk, talk, talk as long as the little tyke keeps looking at you. Your words, even if they’re just loving nonsense, teach your child speech patterns, nuances of tone, facial expression, and much more. So talk, talk, talk to your child every day.
3. Say “I love you” every day. Use the same strategies outlined in #4 while repeating these important words to your baby several times daily.
2. Say “I love your mom” or “I love your dad” to your baby every day. Say it to your spouse or partner, too. In this time of great adjustment, everybody in the family needs to know they’re loved.
1. Pray for your baby. You can pray spontaneous prayers according to the needs of the moment, of course. For a more intentional prayer plan, check out Nav Press’s 30 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids or the prayer guides in the back of my book, Different Dream Parenting. (Really, mentioning my book wasn’t the intent of this post!)
Those are my top 10 tips, but no doubt you have some favorites not on the list. Please leave a comment about your best advice for brand new parents. They’ll appreciate your help!