The one piece of parenting advice new moms need to know

First time parents are magnets for unsolicited advice, much of it as bad as it is unwanted. (No, I will not be dipping his pacifier in corn syrup, thank you very much.) Although well-meaning, a lot of the folks dispensing advice to new and expectant parents aren’t exactly qualified. To help balance the confusion many new moms and dads feel, we assembled a panel of experts who are qualified to speak on different aspects of parenthood.

Here are their biggest pieces of advice for first-timers:

Sue Atkins, parenting coach and author of Parenting Made Easy—How to Raise Happy Children:

Atkins likes to keep her advice for new parents as simple as possible: Relax when you can, rest when you can and don’t try to do too much. She suggests new moms trust their intuition and disregard any unwanted tips dispensed by well-meaning relatives.


She says guilt should not be part of a new parent’s baby experience—and she doesn’t want new moms to feel like they’ve got to rush around cleaning the house when the baby finally takes a nap. She’d like to see moms devote those precious moments to relaxing rather than dusting. So go ahead and delegate the chores if possible.

“The key is to find me time,” she tells Motherly. “If you’ve got a sec, put your feet up. You’ve just had a baby!”

Dr. Shimi Kang, child and adult psychiatrist and author of The Dolphin Way: A Parent's Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy and Motivated Kids-Without Turning into a Tiger:

This Harvard-trained doctor says first-time parents should surround their new family with people who are not perfectionistic or competitive. Instead, the best people to invite into your home will provide emotional support, practical guidance and positive role modeling during those early days. A social group with people from different ages and backgrounds is ideal, as it brings different perspectives to your parenting circle.

“Build a positive community of support,” says Kang, who notes that doing so takes intention and effort, but it will be worth the work. “Surround yourself with honest, genuine people.”

The community you build will not only support you in those confusing early days—you gotta text those poop questions to someone!—but also prevent the feelings of isolation many new parents report.

Nina Howe, professor of early childhood education at Concordia University:

“Relax, listen, watch and interact,” Howe, an early childhood education researcher, tells Motherly. “You want to get to know your child and you do that by listening to them, learning their different cries, what they mean and how to interpret them.”

Howe suggests parents watch how their child responds to the different ways the parents are trying to provide comfort to figure out which one works best. Just don’t overlook opportunities for meaningful connection in the process.

“Interact. Talk to them. This child is a person and will respond, particularly to the mother’s voice,” she says. “Because let’s not forget the baby’s been inside the mother’s tummy for many, many months.”

It may feel silly talking to a child who can’t understand what you’re saying, but rest assured, love is a language even the youngest babies pick up on.

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Gail Bell, co-founder of Parenting Power:

Bell’s advice echoes the other experts who want parents to, above all, relax. She says new parents need to treat themselves with compassion when they come up against challenges.

“Remember that this isn’t something they’ve done before, so they have to realistic and allow themselves to learn,” Bell tells Motherly, adding that there is no one right way to parent.

Susan Newman, Ph.D., social psychologist and author of The Book of No. 365 Ways to Say It and Mean It—and Stop People-Pleasing Forever:

Some of the experts on this list advise new parents to accept help from their support networks, but Newman reminds us that not all help is good help. If well-meaning family or friends are “helping out” by doing unnecessary things or creating more work for you, Newman’s advice is to speak up.

“You need to steer them into helpful directions,” she says. “You will feel more in control if you find the right way to speak up, say ‘No, thank you’ and ask for what you need: a load of laundry, a meal [or] no visits just yet.”

Rather than bending to what others offer, she says to think about what kind of help would actually be beneficial to you. You can even do this before the baby comes by setting expectations with your little one’s grandparents around which kinds of help are welcome.

The thing about first-time parenting is it’s the first time. So take some advice from our experts and relax, mama. Trust yourself, enjoy bonding with your baby, surround yourself with trusted people and give yourself permission to prioritize napping over the dishes in the sink. After all, as Sue Atkins says, you’ve just had a baby!

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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