If you’re like most new parents, you’ve had a challenging season: new goals, new drills, and a few Hail Mary passes. As you settle in to watch your heroes dominate in the big game, you may be wondering what you need to do to become an MVP (Most Valuable Parent) for your own home team.
Let us play coach, for a minute. To be an MVP, there’s no elaborate 20-piece nursery set you need to buy. No special class to take. According to parenting experts, you already have exactly what you need to be an MVP: love, persistence, and the ability to keep your family well-rested.
Here’s the playbook: 7 tips for MVPs
1. Huddle up
Keep the cuddles and kisses coming—you can’t spoil an infant (that comes later). And scientific evidence shows that a parent’s touch has a measurable impact on baby brain development, immune system and emotional growth. Learn about The Cuddle Effect.™
2. Master the basics
Checkups. Safety rules. Feeding info. You’ve got it down pat. Don’t forget to add healthy sleep patterns to the list; your baby’s brain develops during sleep, promoting learning, movement and cognition.
3. Take charge of your plan
Establish a consistent schedule—for feeding, playing and sleeping—so your baby knows what to expect, develops positive associations and learns to self-soothe. Then make sure the other caregivers in your baby’s life stick to it. Start with a sleep schedule.
4. Stay nimble
Sudden breastfeeding issues. Bath time blues. 4-month sleep regression. In the first 6 months, babies go through lots of stages, and the goalposts keep shifting. Staying flexible is the best way to keep your stress at bay—and avoid passing it to your baby.
5. Trust your gut
Experts have lots of advice. Parents and friends aren’t afraid to weigh in. Well-intentioned as all this guidance is, no one knows your baby better than you do. Go with your instincts: they’re usually right.
6. Celebrate little victories
Focus only on the big milestones, and you run the risk of missing countless delightful moments with your baby every day. These are the special times that promote parent-baby bonding: savor them.
7. Double down on sleep
Since the first year with a new baby is a tactical tour de force (see tips 1-6!), the key to success is making sure you’re all well-rested. Start by using the right sleepwear to help your baby sleep. The Zen Swaddle®, Zen Sack™, and Zen Footie™ are lightly weighted to soothe like a parent’s touch. Parents report that their babies sleep longer in 1-3 nights.
Now, for the win: stay in the know.
The game is always changing – there might be some fumbles and interceptions, but you’ve got your NB team behind you driving for a touchdown. With our age-based expert sleep tips, you’ll always have the most relevant playbook waiting for you in your inbox.