I usually hate these kind of lists, but I haven’t yet found a really useful one. In case mine is useful for anyone else, here it goes:
1. Chill out. Relax. They don’t break. Really. Newborns are amazingly designed to survive the first four months of life shared with first time parents. So just chill. Most likely, if you are calm, the baby will be calm too. I know, I know, easier said than done. Maybe the second time around…
2. Babies are persons. I was recently told by someone that my toddler looks like a little adult. He IS a little adult. Treat them as such. They are not stupid. They just have communication issues. Like political parties. And you still vote for them, don’t you?
3. Raising my child between two cultures has shown me that rules are not that important. Most of them, at least. I will link another list with the cultural “raising babies” differences between Spain and the USA. http://spanishmom.blogspot.com/2009/03/growing-list-of-differences-between.html
4. Everyone said so and I didn’t listen: time goes by sooooooooo fast. Suddenly, they are two.
5. Babies don’t need tons of things. They are actually overwhelmed by too many toys. Most of them prefer to play with the boxes that contain the toys. Or with a wooden spoon and a pot. Or with a piece of fabric…
6. They love to imitate you. And to feel included. Our son has eaten with us at the table since he was very young. He is a very good eater, and eats almost everything.
7. Don’t create picky eaters. Get them used to real food since the beginning. Pureeing food doesn’t take long. It smells better, it tastes better, and it is healthier. Expose them to anything you are eating (within safety standards), and they will be open to give it a try.
8. Shower them in books. I wasn’t sure it would work but… it did. I have a 22 month old whose favorite toys are books. Not always his, though, we are still working on that.
9. Don’t monopolize the baby. Fathers are able to do everything we do but breastfeeding. I often find that moms tend to consider fathers unsuitable to take care of them. They are not. They can be as effective, resourceful and compassionate as we are. Give them a chance.
10. Take time for yourself, specially if you are a stay at home mom. Go out with your friends, enjoy a movie, go shopping, or sit on a park and read. You will be happier, which will make your baby happier. It took me a while to admit this, but it really helps. And this way dad has time to bond with the baby alone.
I don’t pretend to know everything. Actually I don’t know much, but at least I know more than when we came back from the hospital with little L. I hope to keep learning for years to come. That’s the most amazing thing about kids. They teach you many more things than you teach them.