All parents have been there, and all parents can relate to what is certainly one of our most life-changing experiences—that of becoming a new parent.

We recently asked our parent readers on social media, and a few of our parenting experts at Parents Place, to share their expertise with parents-to-be. Here are their top tips:

1. Follow Your Gut

Don’t compare. Trust your gut.—Erin, The Activity Director

There will always be conflicting information … on every topic! The best we can do is hear/learn about both sides and then decide what’s best for our family and what’s in our heart. The biggest trick to motherhood is not feeling guilt or feeling like you have to explain any of the decisions you make.—Ashley, Kindred Roots

We heard so many contradictory guidelines about whether and for how long to let the baby “cry it out” at bedtime. We felt pretty guilty letting our daughter cry at all, but once we tried it, she quickly became a child who could reliably put herself to sleep. We had to learn to trust our own instincts about the right path in our situation.—Suz, Slow Family Online

Some decisions may be black or white, but most should be guided by the parents’ priorities and values rather than the internet or well-meaning friends.—Cherie, Parents Place

2. Be Kind to Yourself

Embrace the mess and chaos because no one will remember a clean house or the laundry bring done, but you will remember the fun memories made.—Erin, The Activity Director

Be gentle with yourself.—PJ Library Bay Area

Go for many stroller walks—they’re good for parents and the baby. An added bonus is that babies always sleep better in fresh air.—Kari, Active Kids Club

I initially resisted the advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” because I thought it would give me more time to get things done. I soon realized that the opportunity to be (semi) rested was the best gift I could give myself.—Suz, Slow Family Online

3. Adjust your Expectations

Learn to be okay with everything taking 10 times longer than before you had kids. Prepare to live with uncertainty and try to be more flexible with your expectations. Be okay with not being okay sometimes.—Tati, MomWifeLadyLife

Try to make peace with your new life and role — as a parent and a co-parent. I heard someone say that it is as if a switch is flipped from “romantic couple” to “tactical team”. My husband’s and my nicknames for each other in those first few weeks were “Feed Bag” and “Chore Boy”. We tried to laugh through our exhaustion about our new roles.—Suz, Slow Family Online

Remember that moms and dads do things differently from each other and that we all want to succeed. Agree on the big things, let the little things go.—Mechele

4. Seek Opportunities to Bond with your Baby and Make Memories

Love them every chance you get. Smile a lot. Stare into their eyes. Cherish every moment.—Daddy And the Baby

Give your kids lots and lots of memories.—Homer

Take all the pictures, and make sure someone takes pics of you too. Write down the things you want to remember.—Erin, The Activity Director

Enjoy every moment you can—even the trying ones. Children grow up too fast, and if you get too concerned about the things that don’t matter you will miss the opportunities to enjoy those that do.—Jane

Sometimes parents get overly excited about the “next” stage of development. Take time to enjoy each growth milestone. ­—Heidi, Parents Place

5. Find your Tribe

I realized early on that it was important to have a tribe of other new parents, to swap stories about this unique time, and to help with babysitting, meals and chores. Years later, I’m still good friends with many of those people!—Suz, Slow Family Online

Use your village for support—PJ Library Bay Area

Barter for a date night with another family every week.—Mechele

Delegate tasks to willing family and/or friends. If you do not have available local family/friends (to help with grocery shopping, cooking and doing laundry), consider outsourcing these tasks during those first days and weeks.—Cherie, Parents Place

6. Enlist Expert Help

Take parenting classes beforehand and hire help. I recommend getting training long before the babies are here, and all along their developmental stages.—Carla

I joined a parenting group through Parents Place that helped me and my daughter socialize and get answers to my parenting questions.—Suz, Slow Family Online

7. Know that Things will get Easier

The first month seems like one really, really long day. Months 2 — 3 are pretty rough, but it gets better month after month. Breastfeeding is more challenging than you would think, but that also gets easier over the course of the first few months. Parenting is the hardest but most gratifying work ever.—Tati, MomWifeLadyLife

Remember: this, too, will pass. As exhausting as this phase can feel, it is just a phase. Before you know it, your baby will look up at you and smile … and you’ll realize that those hard first weeks were worth it!—Cherie, Parents Place


Read more from the Parents Place blog:

How to Survive and Thrive in the First Weeks of Parenthood

Breastfeeding in the First Few Days

How to Stop Breastfeeding Issues Before they Start

Inconsolable Baby, Inconsolable Parent

Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

Staying Connected with your Partner

Sacrifice, Joy, and 12 Tips for Surviving as New Parents


Seeking resources to help your child thrive? Attend a workshop, schedule a parent education meeting, or schedule an assessment with one of the Child and Adolescent Specialists at Parents Place.