Tips for New Parents | UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital, Waterloo IA

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8 Things New Parents Should Know (that no one tells you)

As a new or expecting parent, the laundry list of things your child needs can be overwhelming. Although you have likely been preparing for the last nine months, there are some things expecting parents will only discover firsthand.

1. Find your baby's doctor before you go into labor.

Selecting your baby's doctor before delivery allows you to make a well-informed decision, which is important because you will be visiting this office six times in the first year. In addition, he or she will usually be onsite as your baby in born to do a checkup and perform optional procedures, such as circumcision. If you do not select a doctor who comes to the hospital, the hospital will assign one to you.

2. You will panic over anything and everything.

This includes your baby's poop, which will change a lot in the first few months. Spitting up, crying and eating patterns can worry a new mother or father greatly. Your baby will pick up on anxiety, so try not to sweat the small stuff.

3. Developmental milestones are not set in stone, but address concerns with your baby's doctor.

If your baby does not hit developmental milestones during the suggested timeframe – don't panic. For example, communication delays could be their shy personality coming through or because he/she has an older sibling conveying their needs. Usually, there is no reason to worry, but if you do have serious concerns talk with your baby's doctor. Your pediatrician can screen for general development delays. You can also take an online screening endorsed by the Center for Disease Control to get a general sense of your child's development.

4. Those cute new clothes won't fit for long.

Babies grow quickly and usually don't fit in clothes longer than a month or two, so don't spend too much or buy more than a couple week's worth of the same sized clothes. Clothing, and most other essential baby items, is safe to be purchased secondhand. However, avoid using hand-me-down strollers that were manufactured before 2007, playpens made before 2010 and cribs purchased before 2011.

5. Growth charts are based on averages.

This means your child may be larger or smaller than the mean length and weight. Growth charts are not meant to be the sole instrument for diagnosis and should instead be seen as tools that contribute in forming a measurement of your child's wellbeing.

6. Breastfeeding is anything but easy.

While the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the challenges, it is important to know, for some families, breastfeeding is hard – do not be afraid to ask for help. You would think babies know how to eat, but sometimes it takes a little practice, and time, to get it right.

7. Everyone will be crying.

Of course your baby will be crying, but not every cry means something is critically wrong. Most babies have different types of crying – a hungry cry, a bored cry, a tired cry, a dirty diaper cry, a cry-just-to-cry. You will learn your baby's own sounds. It is also normal from new moms to cry out of emotion and to suffer from "baby blues" after birth due to anxiety, exhaustion and mood swings. However, if mothers experience severe symptoms that last more than a few weeks, consult with your doctor as you may be suffering from postpartum depression.

8. You will be tempted to tell people you don't need help.

If they ask, let them! Help does not mean caring for your baby or giving parenting advice. Things on your to-do list can include everything from laundry to walking the dog. If friends or family ask if you need anything, do not be afraid to say yes.

New Parent Classes at Allen Hospital

Becoming a new parent can be a scary transition, so we offer a variety of informative classes to help prepare expectant mothers and their families for the experience of childbirth and parenting. Classes are offered at various times throughout the year to help meet the needs of all expectant families. Check out the class schedule and details here or call (319) 235-3620.