Dear Don and Leigh,
Welcome to the wonderful parenting club. We are so excited to know that you have brought into our world a wonderful little bundle of joy: Adam Lee. May you have many happy and, more importantly, healthy years together and we can’t wait to celebrate.
As you prepare to bring Adam home (yes, the hospital does trust you), I wanted to give you some last-minute words of advice. Please feel free to refer to these often or not at all. My comments, of course, do NOT replace your parenting instincts (yes, you do have them) or the advice of your pediatrician and doctor. Here goes:
- GET REST NOW. You’re going to be busy. You’re probably sick of this..but laundry can always be done, another day.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help and assistance when you need it. Sometimes it’s good to ask for help just so you both can go out to get ice cream, to purchase milk, to do whatever you need to do — together.
- Babies are loud sleepers — they never sleep soundly. While having a baby monitor is helpful, and you may want to hold Adam until he falls asleep in your arms, you also need your rest. You’ll all be better for it.
- They will tell you to note every, ahem, movement that Adam makes… How much he drinks and the result. Go ahead and do that the first few weeks, then you can drop it. You will know your little guy best…if he hasn’t gone in a while, take him to the doctor. Don’t kill yourself with lists.
- Do, however, keep track of any medications he receives and when. This is especially important in later months when he can have infant pain medications. You don’t want to ever guess who has given him what.
- Sure, take LOTS of pictures. Upload them often and share with your family and friends. But remember to also put the camera down and just ENJOY the moment.
- Milestone charts are meant to be guidelines. All kids, no matter what, do things on their own time. Make note of the big milestones, walking, talking, etc. You’ll need that (no pressure) when signing up for pre-K. Seriously. And don’t ever look for something that’s not there!
- Don’t be so hard on yourselves when things aren’t going as planned or if Adam is having a rough day…it’s OK. He is human. We all have bad days.
- If you are at the end of your rope, put baby down in the crib and walk away. Take a moment. Regroup. Go back. It’ll be OK.
- Be honest with yourself and with your doctor. If something is not right, tell them. They are part of your team. And sometimes you have to be persistent to get heard — do that. (I often use the “fever” card to get in…oops, now my secret is out.)
- Resist the urge to look up newborn conditions on the Internet. That, combined with sleep deprivation, will make you nuts!
- Many people will tell you how fast newborn-dom goes by and you will want to punch them… but, sorry, it does go by very quickly.
Now that you have some insider secrets, go home and love and care for your little bundle of joy. Remember to update us on his progress. We look forward to seeing you all soon.