5 parenting tips that will help you in your first year of infancy
I have been sitting around a few months, wondering what kind of informational and fun topics I can write about.
It finally struck this thick skull of mine, that I know a lot of stuff. I’ve lived through, and experience a lot of stuff. Why not write on it all.
Original concept, I know, I know. I’m a genius.
Okay, the truth is…Medium writers who are so incredibly kindhearted and giving, to share there experiences and lessons learned on Medium, from beginning to success, gave me the idea.
Having a baby is hard!So yeah. Not going to beat around the bush here. If you want to be a serious, good, attentive, and fulfilling parent, the first step is to know that it’s not going to be a breeze. I’ll counter that slightly, later in this posting.
Some of you who read this may already be or have been parents. Most of you would probably click the heading, because you aren’t, are thinking about it, or are new infant parents, and want a heads up.
My qualifying background includes multiple psychology courses, including child psychology. I was a school board member. Oh, yeah, I raised four kids and finishing up my fifth.
Three girls, 2 boys, my second ex-wife, and a few cats once roamed our home. Now, It’s me and my youngest man, who is 11 going on 50, and a treasure to raise. Here’s my small argument to my statement about it most always being hard to raise an infant.
Sometimes, you get lucky, and get one of those kids that never complains, follows rules, is at peace with life, and never gets in trouble that they start. These will be your quiet infants. The ones who barely cry, and never complain about the small stuff. They see the world as old souls from birth, and their intelligence is sometimes off the charts, though, anyone should know that in itself is not a precursor to an easy-going infant.
However, you will know within a few weeks, what kind of kid you will be dealing with for 18+ years.
First tipThis idea is undoubtedly, but I like to fool myself into thinking, I am the original thinker of this concept. Probably not. Don’t want to steal anyone else’s thunder.
The first and foremost decision you can make the moment your child is born (because no planning ahead prepares you for that moment), is to look at them as a white piece of paper, environmentally.
Sure, they are loaded with both you and your mate’s genes. Yet, when they show up in this little speck of a globe, filled with 7.5 billion people, they are only innocent forms and molds of our past and present and represent the future to come. It’s now your job to begin writing their story with them until they are old enough to take over the pen.
So, here it is! Love!
After 5 children, and several chances to get this parenting thing right, I finally figured it all out with my last and youngest. Forget what the books of old tell you. Forget what your parents taught you if it wasn’t all love related. Forget Dr. Spock’s, and the Bible’s concepts of corporal punishment teaching lessons in little ones. You never need to harm your child or steal their innocence from them yourself. The world is going to do that eventually.
In order to instill the important nature of confidence, smart choices, patience, and that list that goes on and on, you must be the safe-keeper of your child’s heart and soul. You must create, not just the baby them self, but also the images, the words, the lessons, the environment, and the protection net on which they can count on and balance their learning years upon.
Second tipThis is easy to explain, but trust me…you will forget time and time again, trip after trip in the car. So, let this be a reminder that sticks in your head and an early warning.
Don’t wait any longer if you are expecting, or are new parents. Go to Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Target, wherever you must go, but go quickly and safely, and grab a stack of spit-up clothes for your shoulders. You’ll want the washable kind. I don’t know about this day in age, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone created throw-away spit-up cloths. Don’t go there. Too much money!
While you’re also stacking up on a couple boxes of diapers, and wipes get to the baby amenities aisle, and pick up this life-saver…a front-loading, shoulder strapping, baby hugging, carrying thingy-dingy (as some of us men might call it), and use it! I mean, use it…always…as much as you can…until the kid is popping out of it, and you can’t squeeze that little toddler baby fat into it anymore. In fact, grab two if you can afford it.
These two weapons against the infant year will save you hordes of laundry, hours of back-breaking, spine-rattling pain, while more importantly, bringing you and your baby closer together, heart to heart, beating as one.
Caught them in a spewing mode? No worries…that shoulder inches away is their landing pad and your puke protector.
Third tipI’m sure you remember, I just told you that you can save your back from lots of pain. Well, not completely. You must be prepared with core strength in your waste, back, and stomach, because I’m sorry to tell you, but for the first year, at least, you will live on the floors of your house, picking up after your adventurous and playful infant, all day, every day.
Well, unless you're rich, I suppose. But, why would anyone want to pay someone else to enjoy some of the most enriching time with their own creation, in their child’s world, as one of them, while learning excellent on-the-job skills that will toughen you up at your other job, if you have one?
So, start hitting the gym, or your workout room a few months prior to birth, or get started now, if you are behind. Some crunches and sit-ups and jogging every day should do the trick. Your infant and baby count on this close, on the floor intermingling to establish security in themselves, and trust in others, through their own parents sacrifice and love, even if it’s painful for you.
Fourth tipYou have to, without missing the chance too many times, sleep when your infant, baby, or toddler sleep.
This is especially important for working new-parents, or with infants with colic, or that wake up a lot during the night. If you don’t get naps in at the same time they do, on a decently regular basis, you will find yourself passed out on your kitchen floor, taking an unexpected, and unplanned nap, and possibly a trip to the E.R. for some electrolytes, and sleep.
Do not sleep with your children on the couch or in their bedroom. The first time you start this during regular nap time, you will begin a new and unnecessary attachment in them, that eventually can become extremely hard to stop, and break the habit.
Now, I’m not a big bad wolf! Of course, taking an unscheduled nap with your precious gift is a must, but daily is getting edgy. Surely, letting your kids sleep with you here and there is nice for their sense of acceptance and security, as well, but it must be tempered, and either at an age they can’t remember before you stop, or at an age when you can talk clearly to them about it being an occasional opportunity to be close to the parents in a sub-consciously beneficial way.
In my experiences with my first daughter (oldest) and second son (youngest), was allowing them to sleep with us most nights actually until the age of 2, or so, then began introducing their bed as a nighttime option. A bed they have seen, time and again, in their own room when playing. They already know it’s coming at some point that way, and you already built them security at night, to be able to handle sleeping alone, and falling asleep within a few minutes.
My own three of the five children I raised all always went to bed when told, and fell asleep within minutes, no matter the noise in the home. Never a complaint.
There is more to this though, and it brings us to my fifth, but not completed list of helpful tips in raising your infant the first year, and into the toddler years.
Fifth tipMy final tip is possibly the most important for your newborn's future.
You can never start early enough, or do enough reading to your amazing offering to the world. You should start before they are born. Have conversations with your partner as much as possible, while sitting close, touching the belly while talking, putting the mouth right up to the stomach wall and singing, spelling, running the alphabet forward and backward, reading, debating kindly, and other small forms of educating the youngin’ from early in conception, and on into its first amazing year.
Keep reading every day. Multiple episodes of reading per day are best, broken down into shorter periods of time, as your infant, baby, and toddler will have a short attention span. At least, that’s the case for most kids. Some are born incredibly attentive. My youngest is one of them. Doesn’t miss a darn thing, never did, even in his first few weeks, he noticed all going on around him.
We began the alphabet in the second trimester, music, me singing, short easy books, different pitches, different sounding voices to prepare them for others’ sound, other than mommy and daddy, whom they hear most of the time.
Please, whether you sing or not, do this one incredible thing for your kids, which is one of the few beautiful things I remember about my dad’s early parenting years of old…singing lullabies and such to your kid, or kids, before bed. Sing it close, hold their hand, tussle their hair, go to the door and sing from their…mix it up for them each night. My favorite was “The Five Pennies” song from the same named movie with Danny Kaye. It’s an incredible tune, but difficult. Check it out.
Don’t sing though, until you have read at least one short story to your kids, or they will have a fit. Especially, since you will begin that the first night they stay at your house…if you want top readers at school, who ace everything and have already expanded their vocabulary and ability to think broader concepts prior to kindergarten. I had three of them. My other two are now at the top of their college education games, as well, and like you will be, I can’t be any prouder of them.
Hard work pays off when you look at raising your super-incredible human beings as humble, gracious acts of love that are more necessary than anything else you’ve ever imagined mattering to you.
Love being a parent. It goes way to fast…as they say!