New parent life can be a pretty daunting experience.
Sure, you can read the books, talk to your friends with kids, maybe even offer to do a little babysitting for a niece or nephew, but when it comes to having children of your own, you don’t truly understand what you signed up for until you’re there. Or even what questions to ask until you're a new parent...
In short, you’ll be clueless. It’s okay. Everyone starts out clueless, and it does get better. Remember that your new job as a parent is different from any other job you’ve had before. You need new knowledge, new coping mechanisms, and new skills. (And thankfully, now there’s an app for that!)
We’ve rounded up some of the top questions new parents ask, along with their answers — courtesy of the crazy smart moms and dads on Winnie.
Here are some of the top questions and answers for new parents.
Q: What do you do when your baby won’t sleep? At all?!
A: It turns out, this is one of those parenting questions that has no right answer. Every baby is different, so the best approach is to cycle through some common techniques and see what works. Parents on Winnie came up with 30+ things to try when your baby won’t sleep that includes bouncing on a yoga ball, babywearing, and infinite YouTube lullaby loops.
Q: We’re starting our baby on puréed foods today, and we’re not sure on how much to give and how often.
A: Mom of 2 Katharine laid it out nicely: “You start once daily usually in the morning preferably after the first nap, since your baby will be taking three naps yet. You start with one teaspoon a day, and gradually increase every one teaspoon weekly or so. Some babies do better before milk, and some do better after milk. They usually say that it is easier to offer something after milk, since baby can be too cranky when hungry.” More advice can be found at how to start your baby on solids.
Q: Do you feel guilty when you’re not with your child?
A: Yes! We’ve all been there and probably science is to blame. That raw connection to your baby is what makes you work so hard to keep them alive even when functioning on little sleep and a bag of Goldfish. But according to the parents of Winnie, sometimes you feel exactly the opposite —and that’s okay too.
Q: My newborn nurses constantly. Is this normal? She can’t be THAT hungry!
A: Totally normal. Your baby is probably doing what is known as cluster feeding, when babies bunch up their feedings spacing them closer together at certain times of the day. If baby seems happy and healthy otherwise, then really nothing to worry about here—just let her have at it until she’s calm. It usually means you’re in for a longer stretch of sleep!
Q: Is it too soon for my newborn to go to a family gathering (or other super public place)?
A: Parents are constantly concerned with illnesses, particularly with the threat of things like RSV for newborns. Whether or not you go is largely up to your personal comfort level, and you should for sure ask those who touch or hold your baby to wash their hands first. Proper hand hygiene is the best way to limit the transmission of illnesses. Here’s what the Winnie parent community advised this dad: Should I take my newborn to a family gathering?
Q: My baby cries all the time. Whhhhhhy?
A: First, you should seek medical attention for your child if he or she is inconsolable and/or exhibits any signs of distress or illness. If the doctor says all good in the hood, your baby may be suffering from colic, excessive crying or fussiness. But all hope is not lost: What to do for a colicky baby.
Q: My baby will not let me put him down at night. I don’t want to co-sleep. What can I do?
A: It stands to reason that your newborn would prefer to be cuddled all night long—cuddling feels amazing, and he’s been cuddling all warm and cozy inside of your belly for pretty much always. Some parents recommend trying to recreate the feeling of being in the womb—swaddle your baby, use a white noise machine (there are some free apps for your phone even), and keep the room warm (but not too warm). There’s no single right answer for this one, but lots of stuff to try can be found here: How to get your baby to sleep in the crib alone.
Q: My baby does not enjoy her bath. Any tips?
A: One of the most exciting firsts for new parents is bath day. You wait all of this time for baby to be ready to bathe and then you plunge her into this bowl of water and she screams bloody murder. On the bright side, she will probably warm up to them soon. In the meantime, maybe a little sponge bath will do the trick—it’s not like she got super filthy laying around being a baby all day anyway! Read more at how to get baby to enjoy bathtime.
Q: Why doesn’t my baby enjoy tummy time and what can I do to help?
A: It’s hard laying around with your face in the floor without the upper body strength to lift your face and see what’s going on around you. Most babies will warm up to it as the build strength and get used to it, but you have to give them a chance to do so by giving them tummy time. It’s a vicious circle! The good news is, you’re not alone: How do you get your baby to stop hating tummy time?
Q: What is your favorite diaper and why?
A: Diaper brand is one of the first choices you make for your baby, and every parent is going to have a preference. Everyone loves Huggies and Pampers, but Target store brand were the surprising dark horse in this thread: What’s the best diaper brand for a newborn?
Help! I didn’t see my question here!
New parents need a ton of information, sometimes about very specific problems or situations. Whether you reach out to other parents on Winnie, in your circle of friends, or at a local parenting group, it’s important to make a connection with other people who understand what you’re going through. Always remember, you’re not alone!