Being a new parent means that you are often bombarded with advice and suggestions about raising a child. Family, friends and even strangers will no doubt offer their two cents on all sorts of topics. Problem is, how do you know who to listen to? I debunk some top myths to help soon-to-be moms and dads navigate the world of parenthood.
1. Myth: Good parents put their kids' needs first.
Children can be all consuming, and our culture can promote a very child-obsessed way of life. This leaves many parents ignoring their own personal needs. But, it's vital for parents to find time to refresh and recharge. You'll actually be a happier and healthier parent if you make time for yourself.
2. Myth: Parenting is an innate skill.
Be encouraged. Your new life will take some getting used to. Remember that patterns and understanding your baby takes time and patience. Some parents don't feel the bond and need to establish it, or perhaps they never felt overly maternal. Keep an eye out for postpartum depression and self-defeating thoughts. Remember, you're doing an amazing job.
3. Myth: Newborns don't cry much once home from the hospital.
Parents are often surprised by the amount of crying from a newborn. It is more than anyone ever anticipates. Start with the tried-and-true: feeding, burping, diaper changing and swaddling. If those steps don't sooth your little one, remember that it isn't a reflection on your skills as a parent. Learn to look for signs of when they might be tired or hungry. Turning of the head is a sign of wanting to be left alone and crying babies CAN be left alone for short periods of time to learn to settle on their own.
4. Myth: Asking for help is a sign of weakness, or requires giving up control
It takes a village to raise a child -- we're not meant to do it alone. People want to help and that's why we have baby showers. But, consumers today are overwhelmed with the vast array of items in the baby market and new parents are very specific about the items they want for their child. Online baby registries (like Walmart.ca) are a great solution for family and friends who want to contribute. You can set-up and purchase from the comfort of your home and some registries even allow you to add items that are outside the baby department (e.g. blackout curtains for baby's room...or even things like the new foot spa for mom). Let others help. Gifts of casseroles, light housekeeping after a c-section make others feeling useful too. It's really a gift to them!
5. Myth: My marriage can wait
No it can't. Divorce rate proves this. As research shows, children don't bring you closer together. Relationships are living breathing things that need our attention. Modelling good loving relationship to your child is key.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: