5 Things No One Tells New Parents

BabyPic_Photopinby Jenny Hansen

It’s really too bad that children don’t come with an owner’s manual attached. People give you TONS of advice, but every child and every pregnancy is different.

I remember thinking: Why can’t people give me advice about things that are pretty much the same across the board?

The simple answer? (There’s really three.)

  1. They don’t want to scare you.
  2. They forget. Exhaustion does that to you.
  3. They DO tell you and you don’t believe them.

“Oh, sure…” you might be thinking to yourself. “Because that story about the 38 hour labor was guaranteed to keep me CALM.”

I can only say that there are some things that nothing can prepare you for — you have to experience them for yourself. Having a child is one of those things.

Still, in the interest of giving to all the new parents out there, here’s the 5 things I wish someone had described in more detail BEFORE the baby came:

1. It will take you an hour longer than you think it will to get anywhere the first year of your child’s life.

Seriously. First you have to figure out through trial and error what all your particular kid needs. Then you have to stock several of those things because there’s nothing worse than running out in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a night out. Finally, you have to figure out a way to efficiently cart all of that crap AND THE BABY around with you. It’s a challenge for a while.

2. The first time you take your child on an outing by yourself, you will feel like you ran a marathon.

I highly recommend you take your infant everywhere in the first 3-4 months. The babies are the easiest early on because they stay where you put them. But you need to know about Murphy’s Law of Babies once you take your child into the world:

If they’re going to blow out of their diaper, or projectile vomit, it’s going to be when you are alone with them IN PUBLIC with nary a changing table or spare outfit in sight.

This particular law is why parents arm themselves for everything but a nuclear disaster when they leave the house with their infant.

3. Just as they did when you were expecting, scores of people will offer you unsolicited advice.

There are many people who feel they need to give you the benefit for their experience when you have a new baby (or a toddler, or a pregnant tummy) and they WILL walk up to you and offer you their advice. While some of it is very good, most of it is ridiculous.

One of my in-laws said the first time he took his oldest daughter out alone (at about 5 months), they stopped into a Starbucks together and he grabbed one of those green straws to keep her busy while he was going through the line. A woman marched right up to him and said, “You know, you can cut a potato with that straw. You need to take that away from her.”

He was new at this daddy business so he took it away and, of course, she cried. He put a pacifier in her mouth and the same woman walked over and told him he shouldn’t give his daughter a pacifier because it would screw up her teeth. He lost it and yelled, “Get out of here, Lady! I’m trying to get some coffee, not kill my child.”

4. The directions on the gas drops lie.

When nursing my daughter it seemed like, no matter what I ate, she got gas. It was awful. She’s always been a sweet-natured kid but the whole gas business was the pits. I changed my diet plenty of times, and gave her gas drops religiously.

Finally, when we went to the pediatrician for a check-up, we asked her about it. I could NOT believe what she said: “Oh, don’t follow the directions on the Mylicon box! They’re wrong. They tell you to give the drops after you start feeding her. You need to give them before you start.

Oh, really?…

5. Your child’s fever will always be highest between midnight and 4 am.

This is another gem from our marvelous pediatrician. We were freaking at how our daughter seemed to go from “not sick” to REALLY sick in the space of three hours. When we told her the fever spiked at 12:30 am, she said, “Oh, that’s really normal.” Say what?? That’s not written in the owner’s manual (that none of us get) or any of the baby books. When I fact checked my pediatrician, all the parents said, “Oh, sure. Everyone knows that.” (Truly, I wanted to smack them.)

It’s your turn now…what do you wish people had told you before the baby came? Was there advice you got that was really great? Or did you get advice that was truly insane? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2014 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

photo credit: Angela Soe Siddhartha (Angel) via photopin cc

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