I am reposting a recent blog by Lisa Belkin of the NY Times parenting blog, Motherlode, entitled Advice for Brand New Parents. Enjoy!

September 9, 2009, 12:16 pm

Advice for Brand New Parents?


By Lisa Belkin


Kristina and her husband, Evan, have just moved into a new house in a new city (Cambridge, Mass.) where Evan is just starting business school and Kristina is putting her law career on hold for a year. Their first child is due any day now, and in an e-mail Kristina asks me to ask Motherlode readers for advice. I know you will have plenty. She writes:

We’re SO excited for the baby to arrive, but we’re also a little nervous. So my question is: is there anything you wish you knew before you gave birth the first time? Any wisdom for those first few weeks?

I’ll start with mine:

Do not have expectations. Some mothers bond instantly with their newborns; others take time to fall in love. Some mothers breast-feed easily; others are sure they will never get the hang of it. There are euphoric new mothers, and overwhelmed new mothers, Babies who take to “schedules” and those who don’t. Relatives whose visits are a godsend, and relatives who just get in the way. Days you won’t take a shower, and days when everything will click into place.

The only thing certain about life with a newborn is that if you have a vision of how it should be, you leave yourself open to feeling that you have failed. And there is no such thing as failure, just adaptation and adjustment.

On a more practical note, make a list of everything you do as you go through the day. “Picked piece of wrapping paper off bedroom floor,” “wrote two thank you notes,” “brushed teeth.” Then put a big check mark next to each. It will give you tangible evidence of real accomplishment when the day ends and you don’t remember where it went. And if you save the lists, you can pass them on to your children when they are new parents, as reassuring proof that their own parents went through some messy days, too.

And on a very practical note, get one of those “donuts” they sell in medical supply stores. Sit on it until things heal. Much more comfortable.