- Listen to your mom intuition (or dad intuition!)
Motherly intuition isn’t a myth, nor is fatherly intuition for that matter—sometimes parents just know. Learn to trust your instincts when it comes to your new baby. You know your baby best, so if you feel that something is wrong—perhaps he’s sleeping more than usual, or fussier when he feeds—don’t ignore your gut feeling. Book an appointment with your healthcare provider. The more you act on your instincts, the more your confidence will grow.
- Build a support network
Everyone needs a solid support system. From helpful family members and understanding friends to that all-important mommy group, they can offer advice, babysitting and even a much-needed laugh! Beyond that, ensure you have a selection of experts on hand too. Qualified professionals will be able to answer any unique questions you have face-to-face, easing any worries and filling you with confidence. Don’t be scared to boost your baby knowledge, too. If you feel more educated, you’ll feel more at ease.
- Ignore the myth of motherhood or parenthood
It’s best to have realistic expectations of parenthood and what it is like becoming a new mom or dad. There is no such thing as the perfect parent, so let go of that thought once and for all. Accept that things might not go as planned, that everything is going to take a little longer (even just getting out the house), and that your baby may want to do things differently than you wanted. Release your inner zen and go with the flow…
- Make time for new mom self-care—dads need self-care too
Self-care is so important, not only for your mental health but your physical health too. You’re a parent now, but that’s only part of your identity. Keep up a hobby that you enjoyed before your baby came along, whether that’s drawing, playing an instrument or a fitness class. Be kind to yourself and learn to control your inner monologue so you’re not constantly berating yourself—don’t be your own worst critic. No, you’re not failing; you’re learning.
- Be a role model for your child
Just as you want to be a confident parent, don’t forget that it’s your responsibility to guide your baby into becoming a happy, confident child. Be a positive role model for your baby. Enjoy fun and active playtime together—no screen time needed. And don’t forget your baby’s more likely to eat healthy foods, and be willing to try new foods, if he sees you eating them. Encouraging these healthy habits early sets the stage for your baby’s future healthy development. Read more about the benefits of being a good role model here.
DiSantis KI, Hodges EA, Johnson SL et al. The role of responsive feeding in overweight during infancy and toddlerhood: a systematic review. Int J Obes 2011; 35(4):480-92.
Fildes A, vanJaarsveld CH, Llewellyn C et al. Parental control over feeding in infancy. Influence of infant weight, appetite and feeding method. Appetite 2015; 91:101-6.
Gross RS, Mendelsohn AL, Fierman AH et al. Maternal infant feeding behaviors and disparities in early child obesity.Child Obes 2014; 10(2):145-52.
McNally J, Hugh-Jones S, Caton S et al. Communicating hunger and satiation in the first 2 years of life: a systematic review. Matern Child Nutr 2015; 12(2):205-28.
AAP Council on Communications and Media. Media and young minds. Pediatrics 2016; 138(5):e20162591.
Duch H, Fisher EM, Ensari I et al. Screen time use in children under 3 years old: a systematic review of correlates. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2013; 10:102. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-102.
Thompson DA, Christakis DA. The association between television viewing and irregular sleep schedules among children less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics 2005; 116(4):851-6.