New-born Parenting Tips
Updated: May 27
by Alvin Andrean
Yeap Soon Leong and Wendy are grandparents! Their daughter, Cassandra, and her husband, Alvin Andrea, became first-time parents on 23 March. The new dad shares some parenting lessons he has learnt.
Introducing our baby boy Aldrin, the newest addition to our family! He's brought us so much joy, excitement, worry, and fun in just 8 weeks.
As a first-time parent, I've learned a lot along the way and I want to share 8 less conventional yet important observations that could be useful for soon-to-be parents or those who know someone with a newborn. This is my opinion only.
*BONUS tip at the end*
𝟭. 𝗔𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆, 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝗰𝗿𝘂𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵.
In a relationship, both parents play a vital role. Dads, it's time to step up and support your partner who has just endured the challenges of labor and carried a baby for almost 10 months. During the pregnancy, you've already shown support by providing massages, making vegetable smoothies to alleviate constipation, arranging regular baths to help with hemorrhoids, and various other tasks. Now that the baby is here, take the initiative to learn essential skills like swaddling, feeding, and bathing the baby. Be an encouraging presence for your wife. Embrace these responsibilities and support her in ways that she needs.
𝟮. 𝗠𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗮 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆.
While it may be your first child, it's important to avoid being overly cautious all the time. Consider how many people marry their first boyfriend/girlfriend or find their dream job on the first attempt and stay with the same company for decades. Rarely does life unfold perfectly according to our ideal targets. It's crucial to prioritize the baby's health and well-being while not being too hard on yourself for any perceived shortcomings. As long as the baby is healthy and not in a life-threatening situation, they are doing just fine.
𝟯. 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀?
It's a lesson that resonates deeply with me, highlighting the importance of acknowledging the well-being of new parents. It sometimes seems absurd that family and close friends become more invested in the baby than the parents themselves. While this tiny bundle of joy graces our lives for a few days or weeks, it can't possibly overshadow the significance of the parents.
To prevent feelings of isolation or potential depression among new-parent friends, let's break the mold. Take the initiative to ask how THEY are doing, not just about the baby. Extend genuine care and support to the parents, recognizing their individual experiences and emotions. By shifting the focus back to them, we create a space where they can openly express their thoughts and challenges, fostering a more balanced and empathetic environment for all.
𝟰. 𝗕𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀.
Embrace a more relaxed mindset. Just because you have a new mouth to feed and a buttock to wipe doesn't mean life becomes all work and no play. Find moments of joy and indulge your little one every now and then. Don't be disheartened when your partner wants to shower the child with affection. After all, what's the purpose of life if it's solely a cycle of work, work, work? Your journey as parents should encompass moments of satisfaction and delight.
Remember, a thriving relationship requires more than just fulfilling each other's chores. It's a good start, but true growth stems from shared experiences and lightheartedness. By incorporating fun into your daily lives, you not only create precious memories but also foster trust and a strong sense of connection within the family. So, let go of rigidity, embrace spontaneity, and savor the fulfillment that comes from balancing responsibilities with the sheer pleasure of being parents.
𝟱. 𝗔𝗺𝗶𝗱𝘀𝘁 𝗮 𝘀𝗲𝗮 𝗼𝗳 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀-𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗱-𝗴𝘂𝗿𝘂𝘀, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝘄𝗳𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱.
A recent trip to Jakarta reminded me of this realization. As we embarked on our journey, ensuring the safety of my partner after consulting our trusted gynecologist, a serendipitous encounter occurred. I engaged in a conversation with an airport steward who graciously assisted in pushing Cassandra Yeap-Andrean's wheelchair. Curious about his perspective, I asked for his one valuable piece of advice for a soon-to-be parent. His response struck a chord: "Many will offer advice, eager to impart their wisdom. However, remember that you are the one who knows what's best for your child. Don't succumb to the pressure of accepting advice, even from well-meaning family members."
Reflecting on his words, it becomes evident that while attending classes, learning from renowned experts, and devouring relevant books, we equip ourselves adequately for the journey that lies ahead. And should unexpected circumstances arise, medical professionals stand ready to provide guidance. What truly holds value from friends and family who have trodden the path of parenthood is not their advice but rather their genuine encouragement.
So, embrace the role of the decision-maker, trusting your instincts and knowledge gained through preparation. Navigate through this diverse landscape of parenting with confidence, knowing that you possess the wisdom to make choices that align with the unique needs of your child. Seek support from loved ones who offer encouragement rather than imposing their opinions, for it is in fostering a nurturing environment that your parental journey will thrive.
𝟲. E𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗼𝗻'𝘁 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗻𝗲𝗿, 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗯𝘆 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗮𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗸 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗷𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆.
As your world begins to orbit around your precious child, it's essential not to lose sight of the moon still tethered to your side (cue the space joke). Remember the sacred bond of your marriage, for your partner holds a place of utmost importance in your life, surpassing even the role of your son or daughter. Nurturing a strong and loving partnership benefits not only you and your spouse but also your child. Witnessing the deep affection between "Mommy and Daddy" instills a sense of security and happiness in their little hearts, fostering a solid foundation for their emotional well-being.
However, this doesn't mean neglecting your child's love. It's a delicate balance. Make it a priority to devote time to your partner and cherish moments together. Establish a weekly date night to reconnect and create lasting memories. Quality time spent strengthening your bond not only revitalizes your relationship but also sets an inspiring example for your child, teaching them the importance of love and partnership.
So, as you navigate the beautiful chaos of parenthood, remember to nurture both your role as parents and your relationship as a couple. Embrace the joy and responsibility of raising your child, while simultaneously investing in the love that brought you together. In doing so, you cultivate an environment of love, harmony, and lifelong connection that will endure long after your children have grown and flown the nest.
𝟳. 𝗜𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗷𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗰𝗰𝘂𝗿.
If you find yourself in the realm of accidental parenting, where uncertainties arise, I acknowledge that offering guidance may be limited. However, for those who have remained faithful to the routines and plans they set, it's crucial not to swiftly point fingers at yourself or your partner when errors arise — whether they were intentional or born out of experimentation. Just like in life, many accomplished individuals have attained success and reached new heights by embracing the opportunity to make mistakes and continually refine their skills, crafts, routines, and habits.
Should you stumble along the way, take the opportunity to reflect upon and refine your approach. Consistency becomes the cornerstone of progress. By consistently striving to establish positive routines, you already surpass the average. Remember, being above average is an accomplishment that surpasses the majority. If you feel inadequate in the present moment, trust that with time and perseverance, you will grow and improve.
Parenting is a continuous learning experience filled with both successes and missteps. Rather than dwelling on self-blame, focus on the lessons learned from each experience. Embrace the journey with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. By doing so, you'll develop the resilience and wisdom needed to navigate the complexities of parenthood and create a nurturing environment for your child's growth and development.
𝟴. 𝗔𝗺𝗶𝗱𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱, 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗻𝗲𝗴𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹-𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀.
In addition to nurturing your child, remember to nurture yourself and your personal dreams. It's easy to become consumed by the responsibilities of parenting, but sacrificing your own goals should not be the default option. In today's modern age, both parents can pursue their passions and find fulfillment beyond solely being the providers for their family. The notion that everyone can only pursue their dreams at the expense of others is a fallacy.
Instead, strive to support each other's ambitions. Encourage your partner to pursue their interests while also carving out time and space for your own endeavors. By fostering an environment of mutual support, you can create a harmonious balance between your individual aspirations and the shared journey of parenthood. Remember, personal growth and fulfillment contribute to your overall well-being, making you better equipped to navigate the joys and challenges of raising a child.
So, hold on to your aspirations and dreams. Embrace the belief that you can be an exceptional parent while also pursuing your personal goals. Find ways to nurture your passions alongside your parental responsibilities. By doing so, you not only set an inspiring example for your child but also find a sense of fulfillment and purpose in your own life.
𝟵. 𝗘𝗺𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗸 𝗼𝗻 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗮𝗱𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿.
Break free from the confines of home and discover new horizons. Explore your neighborhood, country, region, and the world. Engage in both small and grand adventures. Make it a regular practice to prevent losing your sense of adventure. With your new party member, embrace the opportunity to visit places you've longed to go but felt self-conscious about as an adult.
Thank you for your support along this journey. If there are any concerns or questions, let me know and I'll treat you to a beer/coffee.