Being a parent is one of the most important, joyful, stressful and challenging journeys you’ll ever take. The AZ New Parent Guide from First Things First has tips, information, videos and resources to help you meet the challenges of being a parent and do your best in caring for your new baby.
You don’t have to be perfect
You may not be 100 percent sure you’re ready to be a parent. You may be positive you’ll never sleep again. There will be times you have no idea what you’re doing.
“Whether this is your first or fifth child, whether you’re a mom or dad, adoptive parent or foster parent, those feelings of woeful inadequacy, that you may not be cut out for this, those are totally normal feelings,” said Dr. Jason Vargas, Immediate Past President of the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “But rest assured, your child doesn’t need you to be perfect. You got this!”
Information you can trust
You’re going to have a lot of questions along the way. Parents often look to their experienced friends and their own parents and family members for advice. And they go online.
“Some of the information on the internet can be helpful, but sometimes it can be conflicting or even harmful,” said Dr. Vargas. “An important piece of advice is to develop your trusted sources. The AZ New Parent Guide is an excellent choice. It was developed by experts compiling trusted resources and backed up with experience and research. It’s easily-accessible information that can be trusted.”
Becoming a parent
You’ll be pretty busy once your baby is born, so pregnancy is the perfect time to learn more about how your child will develop, how to care for them in their first weeks and months, and how you can help them learn and grow. The AZ New Parent Guide also includes tips, information and resources to help you have a healthy pregnancy and plan ahead for parenting.
“We encourage soon-to-be parents to prepare as much as you can before your baby arrives,” said Kat Willard, First Things First’s senior director of family support and literacy. “Get the health care you need. And think about how you want to parent. You can find free classes and programs in your area. Some home visiting programs start in pregnancy and can be amazingly helpful. They’ll answer your questions and give you the support you need to be the parent you want to be for your baby.”
And your child’s health care provider is always ready to answer your questions.
“Partnering with children and families to help support their health and development is what we do,” said Dr. Vargas. “Every parent needs support. First Thing First, the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and your health care provider have your back.”
If you know someone who would benefit from the AZ New Parent Guide, please pass along this article. As always, we invite you to join the discussion at @ArizonaEducator on Twitter or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook.
About First Things First
First Things First is Arizona’s early childhood agency, committed to the healthy development and learning of young children from birth to age 5. Learn more about early childhood programs at FirstThingsFirst.org.