I’m about to be a parent of a newborn…again.
Five years ago with Will, I was equal parts amazed and confused about becoming a dad. What stuff do I need? What can I expect during delivery? What can I expect when we get home from the hospital? What diapers should we use? When is a good time to start solids? I had a smorgasbord of questions but when I went to find answers, I ran into a common problem in the Internet Age — I Googled “advice for new parents” and was hit with vitriolic and hysterical advice from every “kid expert” in existence.
Not only was each piece of advice incredibly inflammatory, it was delivered by the author with such force and certainty. The only problem was each person seemed to have a contradictory take on things. So the result was a ton of different people shouting about different viewpoints and taking it VERY personally if the other experts chimed in and disagreed in the comments section.
For a clueless first-time parent who didn’t know his Huggies from his Pampers, it left me utterly confused and lamenting the fact that no one could provide common sense parenting advice without it ending in a clusterfuck or pissing match.
So now that I’m a “veteran” about to be a parent for the second time, I couldn’t help but think of past me and how lost I felt. So I decided it’s my responsibility — nay, my duty! — to write a balanced, nuanced, common sense article that gives out parenting tips without exaggeration or hyperbole. Just the facts, absent inflammatory opinions. Hope you enjoy.
1. Formula Will Poison Your Baby
Not only is breast best, it’s the only option. Because everyone knows failure to breastfeed means your baby is screwed for life. You need to think long term from Day 1, and giving your kid formula from the get-go is pretty much kissing college and a better life goodbye. Sure your nipples hurt, but what’s a little bit of soreness compared to feeding your baby Satan’s elixir? Seriously, no formula. Or the La Leche League will find your ass. And you don’t want to mess with those crazy bastards!
2. Disposable Diapers Means You’re Basically a Terrorist
If you really love your new baby that means you should love the environment too. And if you’re doing anything other than cloth diapers, you’re contributing to the downfall of mankind by destroying the planet. Sure it means way more laundry and doubling your already stressful and sizable parental workload, but nothing good is ever easy. Disposable diapers? C’mon now. If new mothers are going to spit in the face of Mother Earth, we’re all screwed.
3. If You Don’t Wear Your Baby, You’re a Bad Parent
We need to do EVERYTHING for our children. That means simply holding your new baby isn’t enough. Nope, you need to Baby Bjorn the bejesus out of that kid. That’s really the only way to form the necessary bond with your baby and give it the attention he/she richly deserves. Failure to literally wear your baby close to your heart is basically the equivalent of hanging the kid off a stripper pole, because that’s where this whole scenario is headed.
4. Co-Sleeping is the Only Way
Don’t let the scaremongers bully you into thinking you’re going to crush your child to death by sleeping in the same bed. The alternative is raising a child who feels isolated and unloved because you selfishly stuck him in another room. And besides, it’s a surefire way to keep some distance between you and your spouse, who has probably been pissing and moaning about getting the kid out of the bed so you can have sex again. You’re a parent now — ain’t no one got time for that!
5. No TV — Ever!
They don’t call it the idiot box for nothing. Sure it might be tempting to sit the infant carrier down next to you and catch up on Game of Thrones. Because hey — it’s an infant right? They can’t possibly comprehend Joffrey being a sociopath or the violence Stannis Baratheon’s troops endured during the Battle of the Blackwater. WRONG! Your baby might open its innocent eyes and be scarred for life by The Red Wedding. Even if the kid is asleep all that violence could filter through baby’s eyelids and embed itself in the kid’s subconscious. In fact, any TV exposure before the age of two automatically means you’re worthy of having CPS called on your ass.
6. Daycare is for Deadbeats
So you decided you wanted a baby, got pregnant, went through 9 months of waiting, and endured a painful delivery to finally get your bundle of joy. And now that you have your precious cargo, why on Earth would you ever think about shoving him/her off to be taken care of by strangers? It doesn’t matter if you need two incomes or if you just really love working — you’re a parent now dammit! The only way to really, truly love your kid is to take care of him/her yourself. Paying some stranger to look after your most beloved treasure is abhorrent, and you will be justifiably judged for it.
7. Don’t Ever Let Your Baby “Cry It Out”
We all know you don’t do this with infants, but even when they’re older you should never let them cry. I mean really, are you a monster?? The little person you love most in the world is crying and your solution is to let the wailing and suffering continue for a prolonged period of time? You sicko! Get in there and coddle/cuddle your kid every single time that bundle of joy makes even the slightest peep. And if your partner suggests anything different, verbally eviscerate that clown until he/she never works up the nerve to question your authority ever again.
8. Avoid All Immunizations
Let me ask you something. If someone came up to you and told you they were going to inject your precious baby with a live virus, how would you react? You’d clock the bastard, that’s what you’d do. And yet every single day in this country parents are willingly handing over their little babies to be stuck with needles containing strains of dangerous diseases, all in the name of supposed “prevention.” Yeah right. Doesn’t anyone listen to brilliant minds like Jenny McCarthy anymore? These vaccines cause autism and all kinds of other things. If you’re not going to listen to a former Playboy centerfold turned amateur scientist looking out for the best interests of your baby, then you’re a damn fool!
9. You MUST Buy the Most Expensive Items
Thinking about accepting that perfectly suitable but second-hand crib from your best friend? Do you have a relative who has a gently used stroller? Got a friend in a mommy group with a bunch of used newborn clothes? Well, tell them thanks but no thanks! You have a NEW baby, which means you need to buy all NEW things. Anything less means you don’t really love your child — at least not as much as the other parents who emptied their bank accounts at Babies R Us. After all, babies need the Cadillac Escalade of strollers that can go off-roading and climb mountains along with designer baby booties, because that shows people how good a parent you are. Everyone knows that. Now fork over your credit card.
So that’s it. Nine perfectly sane, reasonable guidelines for first-time parents. And by guidelines, of course, I mean absolute hard and fast rules you better follow or else you’re a shitty parent. You’ve been warned. I mean…helped.