No matter how much you try to prepare yourself for having your first baby, the reality will always surprise you.
Parenting is a journey of transformation. It will test you, and you'll find that you're far more capable than you ever thought you were. To help you create a state of zen around the concept of parenting, here are five things that no one told you about being a new parent.
1. You Can Rely on Wake Windows for Better Sleep
If you've never heard of wake windows, you will love how this simple knowledge helps your baby sleep better throughout the day and night. Wake windows are essentially a timetable for how long your baby can stay awake before needing to go down for a nap to recharge, and these timetables are based on the age of your child.
For example, if you're trying to understand a 6 month old sleep schedule, you can rely on a wake window of two to two-and-a-half hours. That means that your baby can stay awake for a maximum of two-and-a-half hours before needing a nap or going to bed for the night.
Wake windows are essential because they help you avoid overstimulating your baby. When your infant is overtired, it can be extremely difficult to help them get the rest they need.
2. Your Baby Will Cry Sometimes (And That's Okay)
You may hear the advice that it's okay to let your baby cry sometimes, but it's worth repeating here. The fact is that you may need to put your baby down in a safe place at times and walk away for a minute.
Maybe you have to take an emergency trip to the bathroom, or maybe you need to take dinner out of the oven or answer the door. You might even need a five-minute breather if you've had a rough day. As long as you demonstrate to your baby that they are safe and loved, then you don't have to panic every time they cry.
3. You Need Fewer Toys and More Clothes
Baby toys might seem like the cutest things in the world, but you don't need to go overboard for your infant. Instead, stock up on more clothes than you think you need. As your baby grows, you will find out what kind of toys they gravitate to, and you can add the items you think will grab the most attention.
When it comes to clothes, your baby will likely go through far more outfits in a day than you are expecting. It's better to overprepare than run out of clothes when you need a new outfit.
4. You Should Take Time To Get To Know Your Baby
Some parents may tell you that they fell in love with their baby instantaneously, but you should actually take time to get to know your baby as an individual. Being a new parent is not only overwhelming, but it's also taxing on your emotional and physical wellbeing. Don't feel guilty if you can't express an instant connection with your new infant.
Consider this new relationship like you would any other and take the time to observe your baby's temperament, likes, and dislikes. This will not only help you feel closer to your child, but it will also give you the insight you need to be the best parent possible.
5. Your Baby Will Always Be an Individual (And That's a Good Thing)
It's tempting to compare your child with others when it comes to development and reaching milestones, but your baby will always be an individual. Babies are just tiny people, and all people are different. It's easy to celebrate the differences that make adults unique, and you should also do the same thing for your child.
The most important thing you can do as a new parent is learn to listen to your intuition. You have a bond with your baby that is unlike any other, and you can trust that your parenting instincts will develop with time. In the meanwhile, it's okay to ask for a little extra support.