All the best (and totally unsolicited) advice you need when having a family
Adding to your family is a joyous time, and there’s no doubt everyone will rush to tell you how blessed you are to have become parents. But behind those blessings lies the unglamorous side of parenting: the stained clothes, the endless Peppa Pig reruns and the gnawing feeling that you’ll never enjoy a full night of sleep ever again. In order to better prepare you for parenthood we’ve assembled some great advice for how best to handle your new tiny bundle of joy.
For such small humans, babies make an ungodly amount of mess. From vomit and drool to everything else that comes out of a human body, you’ll need to be prepared to tackle these liquids of various viscosity in order to avoid stains on clothing, chairs, couches and literally any other surface. Damp cloths and wet wipes have got your back through thick and thin, so make sure you hide a few packs around the house, car and pram.
If a baby stains an item of clothing but you can’t really see it unless you’re looking closely, does it really exist at all? Definitely not. Your best defense against weirdly placed stains and dribble marks? Patterned clothing. You might as well draw an arrow directly to stains on a white shirt, but if you wear something slightly more jazzy who’s to tell if it’s dried mashed banana or some sort of cool new design? No one, that’s who.
Little humans work at their own pace, and some kids will be perfectly content waiting until they figure out the world a little more before they start crawling, walking or talking. It’s fairly easy to be drawn into the world of competitive parenting, but don’t get too caught up fretting if your bub didn’t roll over on her left side quite as quickly as the baby from your antenatal group.
Having a baby will make you contemplate all sorts of crazy scenarios in your head, worrying about their future, your future and the future of your poor pets’ tails. The birth of a baby is the best time to sort out things that will protect them from more than just the sharp corners of a cabinet, so take some time to make sure your wills are all up to date, and look into your Life Insurance policy options. Having a policy that will adequately cover your family’s needs means that in case of any unplanned tragedies, they’ll be financially covered.
Especially in the early days you’ll probably spend quite a bit of time at home, so make sure your fridge and cupboards have lots of pre-made snacks to indulge on during those long nights. If you’re a partner who can’t be quite as hands on during the breastfeeding stage, bring the snacks straight to your partner, she’ll appreciate it more than you know! And with the added bonus of online shopping, you can make sure you have everything you need in your weekly shop without having to strap a baby into a car and shopping cart.
Every baby is different and despite all the information you absorb before your child is born, you’re still going to make mistakes — and that’s totally ok! You’re quickly going to become the expert on your baby, and sure it’s a niche genre of knowledge, but it means you’ll know what to do best for your little one, even if it does fly in the face of what every book has told you. Don’t panic or give yourself hell just because you’ve made a mistake, learn to forgive yourself and you’ll be happier for it.
Scrolling through Instagram we’re constantly bombarded with picture of the perfect families, but behind those clean clothes, smiles and filtered images were countless bribes and concessions, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do. Popcorn for dinner? As long as you’re fed. A messy house but sleeping baby? That’s a victory. Still wearing pyjamas at 5pm but the kids are happy? We don’t see a problem here. As parents you’ll always win the war against your kids, but sometimes it’s just better to let them win a battle or two.
It’s easy to get caught up making sure the baby is totally cared for, but don’t allow yourself to burn out either. You and your partner are going through a major life change, and it’s ok to take a night or few off to relax. While it’s totally understandable if you’re not comfortable going out or away until the baby is a little older, don’t put it off too long — you deserve some downtime too!
Everyone wants to give you tips when you're new parents, so by the time you’re on your 100th piece of unsolicited advice about sleep training or breastfeeding, smile over those gritted teeth and hum a silent tune instead. Unless it’s a helpful online article of course, then heed every word as though your life and sanity depends on it.
If you’re starting a family and want to know more about protecting your growing whanau, contact Cigna today and we’ll take you through your options.