What Advice Do You Often Give to New Parents?

What Advice Do You Often Give to New Parents?

Pediatric professionals are a wellspring of wisdom for new parents navigating the early stages of child-rearing, with a Physician Assistant emphasizing the importance of trusting parental instincts. Alongside expert advice, we've gathered additional answers that seasoned caregivers frequently find themselves imparting. From the critical reminder to follow safe sleep guidelines to the necessity of staying current with vaccinations, here's a compilation of essential tips for new parents.

  • Trust Your Parental Instincts
  • Keep Regular Well-Child Visits
  • Follow Safe Sleep Guidelines
  • Be Responsive to Your Child
  • Introduce Solids at Six Months
  • Stay Current with Vaccinations

Trust Your Parental Instincts

I spent years in the pediatric ward as a physician assistant, and over that time, I realized all new parents have one thing in common:


This online age means new mothers and fathers are absolutely inundated with best practices. Everything from holding a newborn to latching has been discussed and overanalyzed until a kind of decision paralysis sets in. So afraid of taking the wrong step, parents hesitate to do anything publicly for fear of repudiation or critique.

But when the nurses and I stepped out of the room, I noticed that instincts took over and comfort returned.

I started saying, "I'm not here!" and "No one's watching!" every time I walked in the room, and while it always got a laugh, the advice is serious and sound. No one is judging you, and to be honest, most people looking your way are only sharing in your joy (or commiserating with your struggle). New parents should feel free to try out different strategies and follow their gut. Guidebooks and online communities can provide good recommendations, but there is something to be said for figuring out your child's unique preferences through trial and error. After all, no two babies are exactly the same.

Carlos da Silva
Carlos da SilvaPhysician Assistant, PA Career Hub

Keep Regular Well-Child Visits

Pediatric professionals stress the importance of adhering to a well-child visit schedule to monitor growth and developmental milestones. These visits allow healthcare providers to catch potential health issues early, ensuring prompt intervention. Regular check-ins with a pediatrician help establish a baseline for a child’s health, which can be critical for identifying changes over time.

During these visits, parents can also receive guidance tailored to their child’s specific needs. To prioritize your child's health, make sure to keep up with the recommended well-child visit appointments.

Follow Safe Sleep Guidelines

Adhering to safe sleep guidelines is one piece of advice pediatric experts emphasize for new parents. This includes placing the baby on their back to sleep and keeping the crib free of blankets, pillows, and toys. By creating a safe sleep environment, the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related hazards are significantly reduced.

Parents should consistently follow these guidelines for every sleep to ensure their infant's safety. Be mindful of your baby's sleep environment and make it as safe as possible.

Be Responsive to Your Child

Pediatric specialists often suggest the importance of supportive and responsive parenting in the early stages of a child's life. By being attentive and responsive to a baby’s needs, parents can foster an environment conducive to healthy emotional and social development. This kind of nurturing can lead to secure attachments and can contribute positively to a child's cognitive development as well.

It is beneficial to be present and emotionally available during interactions with your child. Engage with your child often to support their emotional and developmental growth.

Introduce Solids at Six Months

Introducing solid foods around the six-month mark is another recommendation from pediatricians for new parents. Before this milestone, infants usually get all the necessary nutrients from breast milk or formula. The introduction of solids is a gradual process that should coincide with the infant showing signs of readiness, such as being able to sit up with support.

Introducing a variety of textures and flavors at this stage can help avoid future pickiness in eating habits. Start considering introducing solids to your infant's diet when you notice they’re ready for this new stage.

Stay Current with Vaccinations

Health professionals consistently advise that vaccinations are key to protecting infants from various preventable diseases. Vaccines are carefully timed to provide immunity when children are most vulnerable. Staying current with a child’s vaccination schedule is crucial for maintaining their health, as well as the health of the community through herd immunity.

Parents should pay close attention to the vaccination calendar provided by their pediatrician. Reach out to your healthcare provider to ensure your child's vaccinations are up to date.

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