26 Expert Parenting Tips For New Moms And Dads
Being a parent is the hardest and most rewarding job in the world. While nothing will completely prepare you for this exciting adventure, Mustela is here to help by providing support and parenting tips.
In the parenting realm, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Remember, you’ll only find perfection in the dictionary and not in someone’s parenting technique. Take a look at the tips below for a breath of fresh air!
Table Of Contents
Parenting Tips: For Baby
1) Create A Routine
One of the best things you can do for your baby is to create a routine, both during the day and at night. It will benefit your entire family!
Your baby will sleep and eat better when they know what to expect. Plus, as your baby gets older, it’ll be easier to plan out your day and your outings when you’re able to predict naptime and feedings.
If you don’t have naptime and bedtime routines in place for your little one, it’s never too late to start!
The naptime routine will probably be short and sweet compared to the bedtime routine, but it’s still helpful and clues your baby into the fact that it’s time to snooze. It may consist of reading a book, singing a song, putting their sleep sack or swaddle on, and putting them in bed.
As for your baby’s bedtime routine, the important thing is to do the same calming activities in the same order every time. Exactly what those activities are is up to you and your family!
You can consider giving your baby a bath and a relaxing massage, putting pajamas on, reading a book, rocking, telling a story, or singing a song. And, of course, a goodnight kiss.
If you’re not sure how to give your baby a massage or what the benefits are, read our article here. All you need is a hypoallergenic, natural baby oil, like our Baby Oil, and your own two hands.
Made with 99% plant-based ingredients and enriched with pomegranate seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and avocado oil, this protective baby oil blends easily into your baby’s skin.
Rest assured that it’s been tested under dermatological and pediatric control and is gentle enough for newborn skin.
2) Take Advantage Of Bath Time
Whether a bath is part of your baby’s bedtime routine or not, we suggest taking advantage of bath time. What do we mean?
Bath time is for getting your little one squeaky clean, but it can be therapeutic for their skin (if you use the right products) in addition to fun, relaxing, and even educational!
Doing bath time well is especially important for babies with eczema-prone skin since it can be the culprit of a flare-up if you aren’t careful.
You can read more here, but for now, we’ll point you in the direction of bathtime products that help protect and soothe your baby’s skin.
No matter if it’s your baby’s first bath or their 50th or whether you’re bathing a newborn or a one-year-old, bathtime can be fun, relaxing, and good for their skin all at the same time.
Use Mustela Bath Time Essentials Set to keep your baby clean and moisturized during and in-between bath time. Our Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath is part of this set and makes your baby’s bathtime routine therapeutic and fun while protecting and hydrating their skin!
This biodegradable formula is composed of 91% plant-based ingredients, such as marine extracts, to help maintain the skin's water balance, cornflower extract to soften skin, and our signature avocado perseose to help protect and hydrate your baby’s skin.
The other products in our bathtime set include our 2-in-1 Cleansing Gel, No-Rinse Cleansing Water, and Hydra Bébé Body Lotion, all of which are free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, and phthalates. If you haven’t heard of these questionable ingredients, here’s the short rundown.
This ingredient is a preservative that keeps bacteria out of your skincare products. Keeping bacteria out is a good thing, but phenoxyethanol is probably not the best way to do it.
This ingredient is an irritant at best and could even have toxic effects on the brain and nervous system.
Parabens, another preservative, are a hormone disruptor since they act like estrogen in the body and can interfere with your baby’s development in utero.
Click here to read more about parabens.
While phthalates are used in many other products, not just skincare products, one of their roles in skin care is to enhance the product’s scent.
The concern is that they may be endocrine disruptors and are thought to be connected with neurodevelopmental disorders, asthma, and allergies in children. Bad news.
Instead of questionable ingredients, like the three we mentioned above, choose natural ingredients that come straight from the earth, such as olive oil, aloe vera, avocado oil, pomegranate seed oil, sunflower seed oil, colloidal oatmeal, and more.
3) Help Your Baby Fall Asleep On Their Own
Feed your baby at the START of their bedtime routine. Whatever that routine looks like for your family — whether it’s bath, storytime, cuddles, or all of the above — feed first, and then put your little one to bed drowsy.
If you start rocking or feeding your baby to sleep, that will become the norm and they’ll always need your help to doze off.
4) Let Your Baby Cry Sometimes
On average, babies cry three to four hours a day! (Remember this is their way of communicating.) ALL babies cry; some just cry more than others.
If your baby is fed, has a clean diaper, and is not running a fever, lay them down in a safe place and step away for a few minutes if you need to.
5) Trust Your Instincts
Who knows your baby better than mom and dad? No one!
You know when something seems a bit off with your little one. Don’t hesitate to call your baby’s pediatrician when you have questions or concerns. If your gut is telling you to take your child to get checked out, do it!
6) Get Outside
Sometimes, a change in scenery can help you and your baby after you’ve been cooped up in your home, especially during the newborn stage. Simply getting outdoors can often calm a fussy infant.
Just stay mindful of the weather and dress your baby appropriately. Avoid extreme heat or cold, and, for little ones six months and older, apply a mineral-based, baby-safe sunscreen before going outside.
For your babies or kids, we recommend our Mineral Sunscreen Spray, Mineral Sunscreen Stick, or Mineral Sunscreen Lotion.
And for your eczema-prone baby, protect their skin with Mustela’s Eczema-Prone Skin Essentials Bundle before and after outside time.
7) Be Prepared
Babies are messy, toddlers are messy, and kids are messy. The only thing that changes is the size of the mess! Wherever you go, make sure your diaper bag is stocked with essentials, like diapers, Cleansing Wipes, Diaper Rash Cream, and an extra change of clothes.
Once your little one has outgrown the need for a diaper bag, store a spare change of clothes in the back of the car, but continue to keep a pack of wipes nearby. Having wipes on hand is great for quick clean-ups regardless of your child’s age!
Clean your little one’s delicate skin with our Cleansing Wipes, or, for an organic and biodegradable option, go with Certified Organic Water Wipes with Cotton and Aloe.
These plastic-free wipes are soft, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and made of 99.8% ingredients of natural origin.
8) Read A Book Every Day
Time is never wasted when you read to your baby. Reading to your child every day — yes, even when they’re a baby — will build their imagination, encourage brain development, and create special memories that will last for years to come.
This is a parenting tip that applies to parents of newborns and kids of all ages!
Parenting Tips: For Kids
9) Offer Unconditional Love
When your child makes mistakes (and they will), correct them, but offer your unconditional love at the same time. Remind them that you don’t approve of that behavior but you love them — and that will never change.
Give your child the safety net of your love and expect great things from them as they spread their wings!
10) Use Your Words Wisely
Remember that your words have power! Use them wisely.
As your child grows and explores the world, use your words to build their self-esteem and encourage them. Recognize small accomplishments — from their first baby steps to their school year achievements — with positive verbal affirmation.
Try complimenting them more than you criticize them.
Motivate good behavior with kind words, and remember that it’s possible to correct your child’s undesirable behavior while still letting them know that they’re valued and loved.
11) Give Them Your Time
The older your kids get, the more independent they’ll become and the more time they’ll spend away from you and away from home. But they still need you! Intentionally give your child your time. It’s the most valuable gift you can give as a parent.
Also, keep in mind that the gift of your time doesn’t have to be an elaborate vacation or day at the theme park. Invest in your child by being available to them in the little everyday moments, or creating time in your schedule to sit down together for meals or playtime — no phones allowed!
12) Adapt To Your Child’s Personality
When it comes to parenting little ones, this might not be your first rodeo. But remember that each child is different, and the parenting experience is never exactly the same.
Take your child’s personality into account as you parent. What worked with one of your kids might not work with the other.
13) Develop Limits
Just as a bedtime routine offers much-needed structure for babies and kids, developing limits and structures in other areas of life is also helpful.
Set fair and consistent limits and explain to your child that this structure exists for a reason. Create structures that help your kids turn good behavior and healthy routines into habits.
Parenting Tips: For Mom And Dad
14) Know Your Limits
While parents might have some superhero skills, we are also humans. As a parent, you have both strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to know your limits. Know when it’s time to ask for help or advice.
Similarly, know when you need to step away for a moment. Taking a “time-out” is a good way to get a needed break.
15) Give Yourself Time-Outs
Situations may arise where you recognize your need for a time-out.
For example, if your baby is crying but they’re fed, have a clean diaper, and aren’t running a fever, lay them down in their bed and step away to take a few deep breaths.
You may also want to consider tag-teaming with your significant other and letting them take over for a bit. If you need a few minutes to yourself, speak up. Taking brief breaks helps clear your mind and ease stress.
16) Take Personal Time Away From The House
This is another opportunity to tag-team with your significant other, or you may even call someone over to stay with your baby if you need more than a quick “time-out.”
Quality time away from your child is just as important to your mental health as quality time with your child. Take care of yourself and find what fuels you, whether it’s going shopping, reading a book, going for a walk or run, or meeting up with a friend for coffee.
If you can’t get out of the house for one reason or another, have a self-care moment at home. For your hands and cuticles, apply our Multi-Purpose Balm made with upcycled avocados that are responsibly and sustainably sourced from Peru.
This creamy, EWG Verified balm nourishes and hydrates dry skin and protects it from external stressors. Plus, this skincare product is good for the earth as well as your skin. It’s packaged in an eco-friendly aluminum tube, and we use the entire avocado. Zero waste!
For a lightweight, full-body moisturizer option, turn to our Certified Organic Hydrating Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe.
Lastly, if you just gave birth, you may want to tend to your skin with Stretch Marks Cream, which is enriched with natural ingredients to help protect and strengthen delicate skin as well as increase its elasticity.
17) Use Nipple Cream
Although breastfeeding your baby can be a wonderful bonding experience and provide lots of benefits, it’s not always a walk in the park. Don’t add sore or cracked nipples to the stress and fatigue of being a new parent.
Take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of your little one. For sore nipples, we recommend a soothing and restorative nipple cream, such as Nursing Comfort Balm. This lanolin-free and vegan formula is enriched with vitamin E to nourish and protect your skin.
18) Avoid The Comparison Trap
It’s easy to look around and think that everyone is a better parent than you. Don’t do it; it’s a trap!
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Keep in mind that every child is different, so parenting styles will look different across the board. So skip the comparisons and protect your joy!
19) Give Yourself Some Grace
Remember this: your best is good enough. Period. You will mess up, but don’t stress too much about it. Give yourself some grace. Be as supportive to yourself as you would to a friend.
20) Remember That Seasons Come And Go
In the early days of your child’s life, you may feel so sleep-deprived that you wonder how you’re still awake.
As your baby turns into a toddler, you start to wonder how someone so little can make such a big mess. And then as your toddler turns into a young child, you may wonder how they have so many questions.
Remember these stages are temporary, but don’t rush through each season. Pause and soak in the moments because you’ll be in a new season before you know it!
21) Find Your Tribe
Find the people who encourage you when you need encouragement, who give you advice when you need it, and who are there to listen when you need someone to talk to.
Once you find these people, appreciate them and never let them go. And then be the same kind of friend that they’ve been to you.
22) Accept (Or Ask For) An Extra Pair Of Hands
If someone offers to help you, take them up on it! If there’s no one offering help, don’t hesitate to ask. Turn to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor for the assistance you need.
Sometimes asking for help is the difference between a hard moment and a difficult day.
23) Get Sleep When You Can
Our baby experts advise you not to do anything when the baby is asleep that you can do while they’re awake.
For example, you can clean and do laundry while your baby is awake, but you can’t sleep while your baby is awake! So while they’re sleeping, catch a few Zs for yourself.
Expert tip: If your little one has eczema, try Mustela’s Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas. Designed for babies and toddlers with eczema-prone skin, these pajamas deliver soothing moisture throughout the night so your little one can rest well.
And when your baby rests well, you get more sleep, too!
How do these pajamas work?
Our OEKO-TEK® certified cotton PJs are made with microcapsule technology. Each microcapsule contains five natural ingredients: avocado oil, sunflower oil distillate, squalane, ceramides, and Vitamin E.
These ingredients are activated when they come into contact with your child’s skin, helping keep them comfortable all night long.
24) Be Flexible
While babies — and parents — thrive from routine, remember to be flexible. Accidents happen, sickness happens, and life happens. Don’t be so consumed with your schedule that you can’t factor in flexibility every now and then.
So just relax when things don’t go as planned because sooner or later, something will come up! This parenting tip will serve you well for years to come.
Don’t let your sense of humor fly out the window just because you became a parent. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
So close the window and find something to laugh about today!
26) Take Care Of Each Other
Before you know it, all of your attention is directed to your baby, but don’t forget about your significant other. Having a strong relationship with your significant other is the best gift you can give your baby.
You may have to fight your schedule for this time alone, but it will be a cause worth fighting for! And you’ll be a better parent because of it.
With the above parenting tips in your toolbox, you’re that much more equipped to take on this adventure of raising little ones.
Mom, don’t forget to take care of yourself with products such as our Stretch Marks Cream, Certified Organic Hydrating Cream, or Multi-Purpose Balm with 3 Avocado Extracts! And for a more comfortable breastfeeding experience, stock up on Mustela’s Nursing Comfort Balm!
For mom and dad: Keep in mind that becoming a parent is a learning process that takes time. It won’t happen overnight. Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts, take a break when you need to, and give yourself some grace.
And for those moments of doubt, remember that Mustela is here to help!