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Five Things Every New Parent Needs to Know

Author: Melanie J. Wilhelm, DNP, CPNP
Published Date: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

1.) It’s not always going to be like this.

My mom always used to say, “This too shall pass.” You are going to have some glorious, precious, life-changing moments. You are going to have some terrible, exhausting, sleepless, tearful moments. They are all part of being a parent. Both the good and bad will pass. Your sweet baby will grow and change every day. Enjoy each precious moment as this too shall pass.

2.) Babies cry.

They cry when they are hungry. They cry when they are tired. They cry when they are too warm or too cool. They cry when they are wet or their little tummies hurt. Crying is their only form of communication. It’s okay that babies cry. It’s not okay to shake a baby. Never shake a baby. Shaking can kill a baby. There are ways to comfort a crying baby such as rocking, gently swaying, swaddling, pacifiers, white noise (a fan), soft music, dim lighting, walking, stroller rides and warm baths. But still, there will be some crying. Crying doesn’t hurt babies, but shaking can. If you’ve reached the end of your rope, put the baby in the crib on his back (sleeping on the back is the safest position) with the side rails up, and go to the kitchen for a nice cup of tea. Remember #1: It’s not always going to be like this.

3.) Vaccines are safe and effective.

Vaccines prevent diseases. They have been researched, tested and are safe. It’s the deadly diseases that we need to be worried about. Diseases kill. Vaccines save lives. Do your own research, but be sure to read reputable, evidence-based scientific websites like and Life is risky, but we try to protect ourselves by wearing seatbelts and sunscreen. Why wouldn’t we protect our sweet babies from deadly diseases? It’s far riskier to put your child in a car than to give your child any vaccine. Trust the medical professionals. Be safe, and vaccinate.

4.) You must take care of yourself BEFORE you can take care of everyone else.

As a new parent, I felt out of balance. I felt like I didn’t have the time or energy to consider taking care of myself, but what I didn’t realize was that if I didn’t care for myself, there wasn’t much left for anyone else. You need to stay in balance through proper exercise, nutrition and rest. You will feel better if you care for your appearance and your environment. Take time for friendships, faith and hobbies. Take time to care for yourself, so you will have more of yourself to give to your family.

5.) Everybody needs some advice.

Sure, you can talk to friends, co-workers and family members about your parenting questions, but be careful in taking their advice over that of a healthcare professional. The advice you follow should be based on sound, scientific, evidence-based research and years of study, not just someone’s personal story. You should look for recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not your friend’s cousin’s aunt. You will have questions about your baby. That’s normal. Find a good pediatric healthcare provider that takes the time to listen to you. Express your concerns. Get honest, evidence-based answers. Your baby deserves only the best, most up-to-date, medical information.

About Melanie J. Wilhelm, DNP, CPNP

About Melanie J. Wilhelm, DNP, CPNP Melanie J. Wilhelm is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner at Pediatric Specialists in Norfolk, VA, and an adjunct assistant professor at Old Dominion University. She is the author of “Raising Today’s Baby,” which was recently released on Amazon & Kindle. Visit her website at to read more.