7 Things a New Parent Survival Guide Needs to Have

The thing about becoming a new parent is that not only do you have a screaming bundle of joy that demands your attention every moment of every day, but that you will become inundated with well-meaning advice from friends, family members, co-workers, complete strangers and billions of sites on the Internet on how to not only take care of your newborn, but stay sane in the process. While the advice is all well and good, and every familial situation is different, there are some standards for helping mom and dad cope. Here are seven things a new parent survival guide needs to have.
1. Get Help
Yes, everybody has advice that may or may not help, but ask people you trust to watch the baby while you catch some much-needed sleep. Looking after a newborn is a physically and mentally draining process, and even a two-parent team will struggle attending to their child’s every single need. Ask a close friend or family member to keep the baby entertained while one parent brings home the bread, and the other recharges their batteries. A good survival guide will have space for a list of contact numbers, for you to make a quick call when things are getting a little too hectic.
2. Keep Perspective
After your fifth week without consistent sleep, you will be ready to throw the towel in, kill your spouse, give your baby away, and escape to a tropical paradise. Your life will be completely different, and it may seem like you will never go back to simply being yourself. Remember that despite everything, your baby will grow up and learn to take care of him or herself. And in doing so, not only will you be able to return to normal, but your own life will be the better for the experience. The best new parent survival guide will always help you and encourage you through the sleepless nights.
3. It’s All Right To Doubt
If your baby simply doesn’t stop crying, and if there’s a ton of stuff that needs to be done while you’re the only one at home taking care of the baby, you will feel frustrated, helpless, clueless. You may feel that you’re the worst parent in the world. You’re not. Every parent feels these things, but the good parents dig down and find the resolve and the resources to carry on. New parent guides should always remind parents that they’re only human, not unflappable robots who don’t crack under pressure.
4. Make Them (And Yourself) Laugh
Laughter really is the best medicine. For those days, nights, weeks and months when everything seems to boil over, doing something, anything, to lighten the tension and crack a smile – on your face, your partner’s face or your baby’s face – will go a very long way. A parental survival guide should come with tips and ideas on little games and routines you can adapt to shake off some of the weariness of looking after a newborn.
5. It’s Going To Get Gross
For all the cute Facebook pictures and angelic baby poses, some parts of parenting an infant will make a new parent dizzy. A guide for new parents should prepare them for dealing with feces, urine, vomit – everything from what healthy stool should look like, to learning about infant gas.
6. Get Out and Move
It’s not enough to simply catch a few winks on the couch while your partner, friend, parent or in-law watches the baby. Go outside, get some fresh air, stretch your legs, and see something other than the inside of your house. You may feel guilty about taking a break, but it’s important for your physical and mental health to get away from everything. A new parent guide should have exercise and breathing tips for new moms, to help them get their bodies and minds back after a stressful day with the baby.
7. Postpartum Depression
Every mother goes through an incredible gamut of emotions after giving birth, but persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness and lethargy could be indications of postpartum depression. A new parent guide should have information or resources on how to recognize the signs and seek help.