Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

Welcoming your first baby in 2022? Here’s how to have the confidence you need

105
Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

f038aad9d47a21060b6b2806acef553d296a28b8.jpg

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” - Arthur Ashe

If you’re expecting a baby this year, congratulations! Also, we know it’s not easy. You probably didn’t think that the world would be so upside-down (still!) and yet, here we are. But as professionals who have supported families through all kinds of difficult circumstances, we can tell you that you need more confidence than ever to be a new parent right now. The good news is that confidence is something you can develop.

Why do repeat parents often feel like the newborn stage is more manageable than they did the first time? Because they know what to expect - and that builds confidence. Working with expecting and new parents, and having kids ourselves, has taught us that too often, people only talk about the dark side of parenting - but that’s not a complete picture. What is most helpful is when experienced parents share how they finally landed on what works for them.

There’s no method or system that guarantees life with your new baby will be easy (if someone tells you there is, they’re lying). Instead, having confidence as a new parent is about learning what works best for your unique family, and learning how to parent your way. Preparation is key, but you have to prepare the right way.

How to do that? First, be selective about the voices you’re allowing to influence your thinking. Find a healthcare provider or two you really trust; talk to a seasoned parent whose style you admire; line up support (lactation pros, birth/postpartum doulas, a therapist who specializes in helping new parents) if you can. Trust people who point you back to your own wisdom – you know more than you think you do.

Second, if there are things you need to learn, learn them! New parents are inundated with information, and not all of it is helpful. Don’t spend all your time researching the perfect wake windows and brand of bottles (there will be time for that later, if you need to learn those things). Instead, become educated on what life with a new baby is really like: what sleep patterns are biologically normal for a newborn, what their nutritional needs are, how to care for your own mental health, and what you can do to physically heal.

Finally, practice staying mentally flexible and open-minded. Experienced parents know to hold on to plans, systems and methods loosely. Things change, and while it’s great to have parenting goals, be flexible about how you’ll achieve them. So much stress that we experienced as first time parents came not from a specific situation, but from reality not meeting our expectations. So before you declare that you’ll always or never do something as a new parent, remember to leave your options open.

Having confidence as a new parent doesn’t mean you have all the answers; it means you have faith in your ability to learn and do new things. Yes, parenting can be draining, difficult, and the nights can be long. But there’s so much joy and fun along the way. The secret is trusting yourself and learning what’s most important to you – and then living according to those values.

At Like A Sister, we believe everyone needs a “sister” by their side as they navigate the early years of parenting. We're real life sisters who use our backgrounds (postpartum doula care, new parent education, certified lactation counseling ) to support you as you learn how to make the right choices for your family. Find more at: https://likeasistersupport.com/ and on social media at @likeasistersupport

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.