10 things you need to know before being a parent

Hey Waypoint, I’m roughly 1 month away from becoming a father. I’ve not played this game before and there’s no manual, help.

I was hoping to hear some of your parenting tips and hopefully make a place where like-minded parents could share any tips, tricks, cheats or interesting emergent storytelling about their children.


This piece of advice is crucial:


I’ve got two kids, 4 and 17 months. The first six weeks are going to be the hardest, then the first three months. Eventually you get into a rhythm. Everything isn’t as scary, you learn that they aren’t as fragile as you thought they were, and maybe, just maybe, you won’t screw everything up. Then they turn three and…well just get through those first weeks first. Don’t think about what’s coming later. shudders

Tips wise, for a newborn swaddling often helps when they’re crying. Swaddling, shushing, and rocking combined. If you swaddle a lot, though, they can become dependent on it to sleep and it can be frustrating to break them from that habit. Still, sleep is good so do what works for you.

The poop is…interesting, to put it as nicely as possible.

I love my kids, they can be pretty awesome, but my oldest can drive me up the wall like only my sister was ever able to do. They were both early walkers and slow talkers, but I can safely say now that the oldest can go literally hours talking without taking a single break.

Good luck and Congratulations!


Don’t beat yourself up about things. You’re gonna make mistakes, but it doesn’t make you a bad parent or anything. Also, do not give the baby snack of cleaner.

Thank you, their/her fragility is what’s worrying me the most. Since I was told of the soft spot on babies heads until it fuses in secondary school I’ve been terrified.

Ahh ok, swaddle just not too much.

Thank you so much by the way, appreciate all the help I can get.

Edit: @hamburgersan Jesus Christ what was that

One child, 17 months now. One overall thing I want to stress is don’t ever feel pressured into raising your child a certain way because of how other parents are judging you. This is not to say, don’t use common sense, but situations are always going to be different. As you said yourself, there’s no manual for raising a child. You need to do what works for you, your partner and your child. It may take some trial and error, but this doesn’t make you a terrible person.

Now a few specific things:

  • Make sure you get some good practice on putting the baby into the car seat for when you leave the hospital. I would later find out that we put her in totally wrong when we left.

  • Figure out a place where you’ll put your child down when you get home! Another thing that left us totally confused for a bit when we got home.

  • Take advantage of those early months to do things you like at home. In our situation, she was doing the typical early baby thing of only waking to eat. In all the time she was sleeping, both my wife and I found we had a lot of downtime. In those early months, I managed to get through Breath of the Wild and Persona 5. Again, use common sense when balancing your free time, but remember that being a parent doesn’t mean you to give up everything you enjoy doing as an individual.

  • Support your partner. Give each other breaks. I don’t want to presume anything about your situation, but if your partner is planning on breast feeding, definitely do what you can do to help during that time. Whether that’s cleaning up or getting food ready for them because it will consume their lives if they choose to do it regularly. For me, I used to stay up with my wife when she would breast feed in the middle of the night. Since there wasn’t anything I could practically do to help, I did it out of solidarity

That’s all I got off the top of my head! Happy to give any other insights and advice if you need it.



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Mate this is really helpful, we have a Moses basket and a cot so we have an idea where to put her when we get back.

I’ll be sure to make the most of the downttime, especially as I do shift work.

My partner hopes to breastfeed and I had some difficulty with it because I felt I’d be useless, but we said we’re gunna store what we can and hope she takes to the bottle and teet, but who knows.

Even little things like staying up as company goes completely unconsidered until it’s mentioned. Seriously thanks mate.

@WThall AHH yes she will arrive so pure and divine only to be ruined by society and man. She will learn through experience by flying kites and finding a suitable vocation

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I highly recommend Lansinoh Lanolin cream if your wife is going to breastfeed. I was able to breastfeed our second for fourteen months and it really came in handy. That and nursing pads for leaking. Those first two weeks are going to be the hardest for her, it takes about that long for your nipples to get used to it and even if the baby is latching correctly it can hurt. Here’s an article that has some details that might be helpful for her.
I found breastfeeding to be really awesome. I wasn’t able to do it with our first and ended up exclusively pumping for an entire year, so being able to do it the second time was great.

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Thank you, I’ll be sure to show her this article and the cream in the morning.
This maybe a silly question but with your second when you breastfed, did you also pump and use that milk as well?

My son is 7, and I’ll mostly echo what folks have said. It’s amazing, sometimes terrifying, exhausting in all sorts of ways. And I’m often still astonished that they just let you go home with this tiny person without a license or anything.

Totally, totally this. With some exceptions, when my wife was up to feed our son, I was up, too. It made us closer – sometimes just binging Veronica Mars while she nursed – and there was plenty for me to do, too: changing, getting him back to bed, etc. I don’t think I can over-stress how important that partnership is.

Our new-baby-class taught us the swaddle, and the Swaddle Is Good. These swaddle blankets are absolutely wonderful. Related: If you have the opportunity to take infant care and/or childbirth classes, do it. It will give you confidence, awareness and solidarity. Our hospital offered them free or inexpensively.

Be greedy: If family or friends come over to hang out and see the baby, go take a nap (if you trust them. There may be some family members that you have to be assertive with.).

Diaper subscription. If Amazon does it where you are, take advantage. Diapers and wipes just show up. It’s magic.

Breastfeeding can be really hard, so just be supportive. Depending on your partner’s situation (returning to work?) she will definitely be pumping and freezing, and eventually you’ll be in charge of washing and filling all the milk bottles that go with baby when you’re out and about either on your own or to day care.

Oh dear god, I’ve written a novella. I’ll stop now. Happy to ramble on and on later, though.

I did pump with the second as well. In the first three months I actually pumped enough to over halfway fill a 7.0 cubic foot freezer. Sadly, he did not like eating from a bottle and since it was just easier to breastfeed I didn’t push it. Since I lived in the UK as a baby none of the breastmilk banks would take the milk, it basically has the same rules as blood donation. I ended up giving most of it to my sister who didn’t produce as much as I did and had to go back to work.

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just be supportive, don’t worry so much

You definitely won’t be useless.

Some situations may call for bottlefeeding, but it can cause nipple confusion and make breastfeeding even more challenging. Try to avoid it unless it’s absolutely necessary.

My partner pumped a bit for our first, but not our second. We barely used any and ended up donating nearly everything. With our second, she used nipple shields that collected leaking milk, and that was enough to build up an emergency stash.

Some more general tips:

  • When you first get home, sleep when the baby sleeps. You and your partner might be tempted to clean or get stuff done. Don’t, at least not at first.
  • Try to stay on top of things and plan for your and her needs being met a day, or two, or seven ahead. Don’t wait for her to ask for help
  • Cook lots of food a week or two ahead of your expected delivery and freeze it so you have easy meals as you’re getting adjusted to your new normal. If people want to get you stuff, ask for restaurant gift cards of places that deliver.
  • Learn to wear your baby! Most babies don’t really like being put down, and wearing them allows you to give them the comfort of being held close while still keeping your hands free to get shit done. The soft wraps are good for infants, but you’ll want to get a structured carrier for when they get a little heavier and have head control. Ring slings are pretty convenient, and my partner likes how wrapping looks, but those are a little tougher to get the hang of. Just don’t get an outward-facing carrier, AKA a crotch-dangler. They are linked to hip displasia.
  • For the first months, you’ll have a decent amount of down-time while still not really being able to leave the house comfortably. Movies, board games, video games you can pause (No Dark Souls!), TV series’ to binge, and books are good. Try to keep a cool head and not get too frustrated when planned activities get interrupted
  • Get a white noise machine and a decent baby monitor so you can leave the room and have some loud-ish fun while your kiddo sleeps.
  • Bedsharing will not kill your kid and will help your partner get significantly more rest. If she isn’t comfortable doing it, that’s fine, but feel free to ignore the AAP on this one. Don’t be bitter about sleeping on the couch if there isn’t enough room for the three of you
  • At the end of the day, don’t sweat ignoring other peoples’ advice, including mine. You and your partner will be the most in-tune with your families’ needs. Do what feels right.
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Mate I appreciate this a lot. Thank you. Some real helpful stuff here is have completely overlooked. I owe ya one

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Mine is four years old now, and the one thing that I learned quickly but that other people seem to struggle with is learn to adapt.

People plan for having kids for a while sometimes and even those that don’t have about 9 months to think about it, so a lot of times you’re going to prepare for certain things or expect certain things and they will simply refuse to happen. Your baby won’t sleep like you want them to, won’t nurse when you wanted to avoid formula, will hate their baby toys, will get a rash from the diaper you stockpiled, etc. Roll with it. Stubbornly sticking to something that isn’t working will make you a thousand times more angry than just changing tracks despite your best laid plans. A family member wanted to keep their 6 month old on a strict feeding schedule because she felt that it made their baby sleep better/longer because they were full. So we’d all be together and the kid is miserable and crying, but it’s 15 minutes before bottle time so he had to wait. Feed the god damned baby. I’ve seen parents reduced to tears because they had everything laid out and it’s just not working how they assumed it would. Let it go and try something else until you find what works.

If your partner is nursing, there’s tons of support stuff you can do, especially at first. When my son was born, he had a tongue tie that made it difficult to nurse at first, so I always supported his weight in my wife’s arms and tickled his chin to make him keep working at it. Even after they snipped his frenulum and he didn’t need me to keep him going, there were tons of other things to do to be supportive. Whenever it was feeding time I would get the nursing pillow, or grab her cover if we were in public. Not that they need much burping with breastfeeding, but I would always take him and hold him afterwards and pat him. I took care of him in the middle of the night for everything other than feeding so my wife could get as much sleep as possible. My son did a lot of comfort nursing when he was little, he ate 14 times in one day, so the pediatrician recommended a pacifier just to give my wife a break. We had him in our room at the foot of the bed for his first few months in a basinet, and he would lose his pacifier and get cranky sometimes in the middle of the night. In order to let my wife get the most uninterrupted sleep, I started sleeping upside down in bed so I could just reach over and pop it back in as opposed to crawling over every time. Since she had to go back to work we pumped and froze, so I basically took over all of that for her to make it easier. Set up the machine, get the bottles ready, get the bags ready, label the bags, sanitize the parts, etc. Hell, I even manned the controls. I knew the experience sucked for her, so I tried to make it as painless as possible. So yeah, you might not be involved directly in the feeding part of that, but there are countless things you can do to help, and even during the quiet moments when the baby is eating that’s a great few minutes where they’re occupied and you can take care of other stuff that needs getting done. Lots of laundry was loaded up and diaper pails were emptied while it was eating time.

Also, and this is a warning for much further down the line, but it was something that I did not expect and very few people will tell you… There will come a time where you honestly, genuinely, and with a crystal clear presence of mind will come to hate a child with your entire being. Another kid will do something to yours, or say something to yours, and your heart will be filled with the blackest evil you didn’t even think was possible. It will be sudden, unexpected, and uncontrollable like having your knee tapped with a hammer, but it will happen. Forgive yourself now, because it’s a weird moment to come to grips with when it happens.


I can’t thank you enough. Again this thread has been so helpful.

Not being able to change and be fluid is what I’m worried about with my partner, she has a nice idealised version of what she wants and while I’d love it to go that way I’m assuming it won’t to cover all bases.

Some words of advice:

  • Get used to not sleeping. That being said, it’s tempting to use nap-time to get shit done, but don’t forget that you need to sleep too!
  • Try not to co-sleep. I know it’s hard to wake up and help soothe the baby back to sleep and I know the crying is awful in the middle of the night, but trust me when I say that it’s a lot harder to get children to sleep the whole night in their crib/room as they get older.
  • Go out and do stuff! Don’t think that you can’t take your newborn places with you! Take walks around your neighborhood, take your dog on long walks, go to the store, go shopping if possible. The more familiar your baby is going different places, the better it will be for everyone. Plus, you can have your special places together. And you might meet other parents too!
  • Read to your child! It’s super important and a great ritual to have for calming down.
  • Listen to music with your child too! Get them into your favorite band when they’re a toddler. Listening to records with my son is one of my favorite pastimes. (He loves shoegaze and classic rock–so rad!)
  • Define your family culture! Have rituals and routines that keep you and your partner sane. This will go a long way as your child gets older and more independent. :slight_smile:
  • Be supportive! Your partner is going to NEED you. Show up big-time! You got this! You’re a super parent and you can both get the job done as a team! Being a parent with someone else can be the most amazing experience and bring you closer than ever, but it can also be awful and drive you apart if you’re not on the same page. Be clear about expectations, communications, and remain determined! This is going to be tough, but it’s also the most rewarding experience ever, especially when shared with the person you love! Be sure to make time for yourselves if possible. Date night is important! Take the initiative to hire a sitter and go out for the evening. That being said…
  • Don’t forget about your health and well-being. Pamper yourself every now and then. Don’t forget to have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff and have patience! It’s honestly the best! Good luck!!

So… July 3rd 22:30 my daughter was born. Whilst figuring a few things out for ourselves, I can’t thank everyone enough for the hints and tips you’d given, it means the world.

It’s so so cliche but nothing prepares you for how everything just changes in a split second.