Expert Advice

Gemma McCaw shares parents’ 15 tips for bringing up a baby

Of course, part of the advice included, "Don't listen to others' advice!"

As the world celebrates the arrival of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s little bundle, I asked Kiwi mums and dads to share their best piece of advice for taking care of a newborn – which, of course, included, “Don’t listen to others’ advice!”

1 Be prepared for your plans and best intentions to go out the window. Maybe breastfeeding will work for you, maybe it won’t. You and your baby will be fine either way. The same goes for your birth plan and sleeping arrangements. Expectations and reality may be different – just go with it!

2 This too shall pass. Everything is only temporary. You may not love every minute and that’s OK. Do what you can do and don’t beat yourself up over what you can’t.

3 Don’t compare your baby to anyone else’s. They are all unique. Do what is right for you.

4 Sleep when the baby sleeps. Housework can wait.

5 Those who truly understand what you’re going through as a new parent will not offer advice but empathy, a meal and/or respite from your new bundle of joy in order for you to take a nap.

6 If someone tries to give you unwanted advice, smile and say thanks but always do what you feel is right. Remember that Mum knows best.

7 Ask for help! If you’re struggling, there are lots of people who can assist – midwives, Plunket nurses, friends, family and your GP.

8 Having a baby will be the most amazing thing you ever do. People are quick to focus on the negative aspects, but keep positive. It is challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

9 Try to take time out each week for you. Even if it’s just an hour, that time alone can make a huge difference.

10 Don’t be afraid to accept help when it’s offered.

11 Be ready for an unsettled baby on night two. No-one ever tells you that.

12 If you get one other thing done besides taking care of the baby, then it was a great, productive day.

13 Join a community or group of other new mums. It’s therapy and those friendships last forever.

14 Write it down! Not only is it nice for you to look back on, but kids love reading about their milestones – first teeth, first smile, the day they started crawling and when they took their first steps. There are so many lovely moments in that first year.

15 In those early days, ask a loved one to make you some food for the day if you’re going to be alone with your newborn. Sometimes feeding yourself is near impossible when you’re so focused on the little bundle.

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