Real Parents Offer You Their Best Advice

By: Discovery Fit and Health Writers

See what real parents have to say about parenting.
See what real parents have to say about parenting.
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We asked parents to send us tips for new parents. Here are some of the best.

Don't assume that someone with a quiet baby is a better parent. They just have a quieter baby. — Rebecca K.

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Never wake a sleeping baby. Even though I am breastfeeding my second son, I never wake him up to eat. I always let him sleep. I learned that lesson the hard way by waking my first son up to eat and then he was up literally all night. — Meghan R.

Everyone had advice when I had my first child. Don't do this, or you're supposed to do that. I say every child and parent are different. Do whatever works for you. — Tricia

Keep bathtime mellow and gentle. If baby starts to fuss, talk to him/her gently and tell her/him that it is going to be alright. Don't get worked up or worried. Baby is looking to you to guide him/her and needs to know that you are confident about bathtime, so he/she can be too. — Jennifer M.

Trust yourself — You can do it and do a good job of it. — Jeanette Y.

The product we couldn't live without was a travel heating unit for formula/bottles. Our son never went on a 3-4 hour feeding schedule; he always ate every 1 1/2 - 2 hours and so instead of being tied to home constantly, an on-the-go heating unit was essential (the only drawback was it took almost 20 minutes to heat up the formula, so we really had to plan ahead). Now if they only had a travel microwave that you could plug into the car outlet. — Dianne

Firstly, patience is definitely a must. You are always learning about your child, just as they are learning about you, so patience is very important. Kids know if you are angry. Let them grow up relaxed, with no stress. They have enough time for stress later in life. — Christina K.

Have you ever been at a house with a newborn and the parents tell everyone to be quiet and tip toe around so the newborn baby doesn't wake up? Laughing, talking, having the tv or radio on or even loud footsteps can wake that baby up. I decided that when I had my babies I would make sure that didn't happen to me. When I brought my newborns home from the hospital, I turned the tv on at a normal level, played the radio, had conversations at a normal tone (no whispers), let the dogs bark, and even ran the vacuum right around the baby! My babies were used to everyday noise and didn't wake up at the drop of a hat. They even slept through the whole night at around 1 month old! — Joyce S.

The best advice anyone gave me about taking care of your baby: A few years from now it won't matter what my house looked like or how far behind I was in the laundry; what will matter is that I remember holding, playing with and rocking my baby. — Jennifer M.

The best advice I got was to let my babies learn to put themselves to sleep. After you feed your infant, put them down in their crib before they fall asleep in your arms. They will keep this skill and learn to fall asleep without your interference. My kids were never rocked or cuddled to sleep and they never cried themselves to sleep. Ours were the kids all the teenagers fought to baby sit because they were so easy to get to bed! — M.D.

Advice Continued

One piece of advice is this that my daddy gave me. He said "Discipline is a gift you give to your child. Discipline does not mean hitting or spanking your child. Discipline is being consistent in your expectations of good behavior from your child. It means giving consequences consistently when there is bad behavior. By doing this, in a couple of years time, all you need to give a child is a look to help that child remember his/her manners. It makes the child happier to have guidelines and society accepts this child who has a respect for others." So, the last piece of advice I'd offer is to give the gift of discipline. It works — you are happier, your child is happier, the people around you are happier, and there is not a lot of yelling or embarrassment in front of others. — Cathy L.

When my older son was born a very wise friend said, "welcome to a lifetime of letting go." My son is in college now and I'm still learning that lesson. — RTM

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I couldn't live without my glider/rocker! The put-the-baby-down and leave-em paraphernalia wound up unused and ultimately unneeded — as putting my son in a swing/playpen/bassinet etc. only resulted in his crying. My rocker was my lifesaver, where I spent many many hours sitting and nursing a high-need baby. — Lisa D.

Children need a mom to be firm but gentle...like velvet over a wall. — Jennifer M.

Keep a journal of your baby. They will find it fascinating when they get older, and you will have a reminder of all of the little things that mean so much. And as your kids grow up, the first words, the strange things they say, and the interesting takes on life that only someone with new eyes can experience, will be a constant source of amusement and amazement. If you have a memory like mine, you will be so glad that you did. — Barbara

Sing and talk, make everything from baths to getting ready fun because then you and your little one will enjoy it more. — Nadine B.

Don't wish your baby's babyhood away...(ie: I can't wait til she walks, talks, etc). Enjoy his infancy now, because he won't be an infant forever. I actually cried when my daughter got her first tooth-because I just loved those big toothless grins that young babies have. — Wendy K.

At baby showers, I always give the mom & dad-to-be a big, big, BIG bottle of Tylenol. Seriously. It's really hard to be patient and understanding when your head is throbbing from the lack of sleep and extra stress of that very precious bundle. — Christi

The best advice anyone gave me was a very elderly lady who told me I could never, ever spoil my baby with too much love! I had been getting so many do's and don't's from family and friends that I became overwhelmed. I was talking with a very elderly family member and told her that I no longer knew what was right for my child, that all I wanted to do was hold her and love her, but folks were telling me that was wrong and I'd spoil her. This beautiful woman smiled and said, "My dear, know this, if you never know anything else again. Hold your baby, sing to your baby, go where your heart leads you with your baby, but above all, know that you can never, ever spoil a baby with too much love. You can spoil her with neglect, or with lack of discipline, but never with love!" — Cathy L.