What's the best advice for new parents? GREAT but very difficult question! There is a Mary Poppins Bag full of good advice for new parents. Particularly when it comes to achieving the holy grail of good baby sleep! But I think the best advice is ‘Begin as you wish to continue’.
What? Yup. The age old adage is absolutely useful for the beginning of your parenting journey.
I know it is utterly delicious to have your new baby fall asleep in your arms. And nothing quite makes the ovaries sing like the image of a new Dad with his fresh baby napping, skin to skin.
However beautiful these things are in the beginning, they may not be so delightful for you down the track, when your little one is a little bigger and you’re desperate for them to nap independently. You have things to do while your baby sleeps, you don't want to be trapped under your baby sized weight on the couch. Stuck.
I know I’m painting an extreme picture but for some people it’s reality. At best, most parents will have a variation of this experience.
On the other side of the coin, there are also parents who adore the habits that they have formed. It may be their first child or last child or only child or they love and prioritise sitting with them asleep in their arms. There are no rules; and 'if it's not a problem for you, then it’s not a problem'.
I think breaking a difficult habit is harder than preventing a problem in the beginning.
As will all things parenting related, there is absolutely no one size fits all. There is no Grand Poobah of parenting who will come along and tell you that you are doing it wrong - thank goodness! And if anyone does try to tell you that something that works for you and your baby is wrong, mentally kick them in the shin.
However, as a baby sleep specialist, I know some babies will transition back to a workable sleep arrangement without too much fuss. But unfortunately, many wont and you don’t know which one you've been delivered, probably until you are past the point of no return. So to consider these things early on could help you down the track.