Guys, I have been a parent for a whole four months, so basically an expert. Allow me to impart a few bountiful fruits of my experience that I personally wasn’t aware of or prepared for. Older dads, feel free to laugh at my innocence. Newer ones, bow before me.
1. Milky goodness.
Did you know that breast milk has endocannabinoids, a component similar to that which is found in certain drugs? It’s critical for stimulating the suckling process as well triggering hunger in the baby, giving him the “munchies” so that he gets his fill of milk and nutrition. Totally explains my kid’s glazed-over look after feeding!
2. Be heart-centered.
You will doubt yourself constantly. People will doubt you constantly. They’ll do so trying to help, but you’re going to end up feeling lost and incompetent. Please, just do things out of love, follow your heart and you will be fine. If you see your little one and they feel loved and cherished, you’re parenting perfectly.
3. You know what’s best.
You will read and hear about the generalities, but remember that your baby is an individual who will feel, act and react to things in his own way and no one rule or time-frame will apply. All that parenting advice you suddenly get from every single person on the planet? Take what you like but shrug the rest off. You know what’s best for your own child.Labor and birth is the same thing. To get a sense of that, I highly recommend reading “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” and the ridiculously diverse birth stories in it (yes, I’m still talking to the dads).
New parents are always jokingly asked about their sleep. I’ve learned that you get used to the physical exhaustion quickly because you have to. What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional and mental exhaustion that stays with you. It’s that knowledge that you will forever worry about this human being and that they will be on your mind and in your heart every single second for the rest of your life.
5. Don’t watch the circumcision.
This is a super specific scenario and, in hindsight, it should’ve been common sense, but I learned the hard way. I really should’ve just kept eye contact instead of looked at what the doctors were doing. (Shudder) It’s traumatizing seeing what happens.