PhD in Parenting has a list.
What would be on your list?
I think I would add –
1. Don’t give up on a relationship in those first difficult days. Unless there is abuse, and you really need to leave, stick it out. It will almost certainly get better, and there will be days you’ll really, really need each other. Having a baby can be like throwing a bomb into a relationship, and you will be at your weakest point when it explodes.
2. Sleep deprivation isn’t really that bad. It’s bad, but you can live through it.
3. Trust yourself. You are the world expert on your baby.
4. Watch the baby, don’t watch the clock. See point 3.
5. Prepare to succeed. Find out everything you can about parenting before you are a sleep deprived new parent. Especially breastfeeding. With good support and information, 9,999 out of 10,000 women can breastfeed.
6. You’ll probably fuck something up. Yell, when you thought you’d never yell, drop the baby, forget to pack nappies, whatever. There is no such thing as the perfect parent. There is such a thing as the “good enough parent”, and the “I’m trying really hard” parent. That is ok.
7. You don’t need a $2000 pram.
8. Face washers do a much better job of wiping up poo than those expensive single use baby wipes. Ikea sell packs of 10 for $8. Get 2 packs and thank me forever.
9. Two years might seem like an impossibly long time to breastfeed, but it’s not. Before you know it, it’s over, and your baby who can walk and talk and jump and crack jokes doesn’t need to breastfeed any more, and yet, he still seems so little, still such a baby. No-one can tell you how long is right for you and your baby, but understand that how you feel at three months might be miles from how you’ll feel at 18 months. Take your time to enjoy some of the ride.
10. Random shit just happens. Babies get sick, a pregnancy becomes twins, you bleed all over the place, and everything is ok. Sometimes, it really doesn’t feel ok, and you can’t imagine how anything can ever be ok again. But it will be, you will cope. And then one day you will look back and think, “Holy crap. I lived through that, and I am still here. I am awesome”.