October 26, 2023
3 Key Tips for New Parents
Whether solicited or not, everyone seems to have advice for new moms. As best practices for newborn care evolve, not all opinions offered are the best advice for new parents; for instance, experts now advise babies should sleep in an area free of blankets, pillows and bumper pads. That’s very different from the way babies were put to sleep just a few decades ago.
"I always tell my clients to trust their instincts, even as new parents. No one will ever know their child as well as they do."
Questions about infant care can contribute to first-time parents’ exhaustion. A study by Pew Research Center in January 2023 found most people with children say being a parent is harder than they expected. Though about 8 in 10 parents say being a parent is rewarding all or most of the time, 41% say it tiring and 29% say it’s stressful.
EveryStep experts weigh in
EveryStep experts who assist new moms through pregnancy and up to the first two years of their child’s life offered their best advice for new parents to help them enjoy parenting more and stress about it less.
- No one knows your baby like you do. “There is no one piece of advice told or written in an article or book that knows your baby. If one piece of advice would create a consistently happy, sleeping baby, there would only be one and everyone’s baby would follow this,” says EveryStep maternal child health director Becky Borgman. “So, keep following your heart; keep trying; keep navigating. And if you try something and it doesn’t work, it’s okay. That baby still loves you more than anyone else. Be kind to yourself – you’ve got this!”
- Trust your instincts. “I always tell my clients to trust their instincts, even as new parents. No one will ever know their child as well as they do. If they feel moved to advocate for their child in any way, do so,” says EveryStep RN Amanda Redhead. “I've had pediatric patients whose lives were saved by parents trusting their instincts - they are more powerful than we often give credence to.”
- Identify your support system. “It’s important for new families to know that bringing home a newborn almost always has some sort of challenge. It could range from colic to a more major health concern, to normal new parent things like lack of sleep, being unfamiliar with a newborn schedule and feeding pattern,” says EveryStep nurse consultant Stephanie Van Roekel. “Having people you can talk to about these challenges or who can provide support in person is important.”
Some families have larger and stronger support systems than others. Families may have what are considered “formal” support, like medical providers, WIC and other programs and services. “Informal” supports include family, church, friends, etc. Many people in our community have strong support systems, but some are not that fortunate. Our communities have left many Iowans alone – unconnected and unsupported by the larger social fabric. Offering support for new parents with education and resources through home visits, classes and groups, EveryStep helps individuals and families build the foundation for a healthier future.
When parents can provide the life they want for their kids, they engage more fully with their families, workplace and community. When their kids have a strong start, they grow up healthier and are more likely to reach their full potential. Your donation to EveryStep demonstrates that you believe in a community where people show up for one another. Make a monthly contribution to strengthen Iowa’s care and support network.