Our second instalment of the New Parent Blog series features insights and tips from the amazing Krista Salter. Krista is an interior design superhero (seriously, check out her feed) and an all-around lovely person. Her design work on her daughter’s nursery has been featured in Fit Pregnancy and also won a national design award for her budget-friendly approach to the space.
Check out Krista’s thoughtful responses to our questions below, and let us know what you think in the comments!
Name: Krista Salter (@kmsalterdesign)
Kids: Daughter, 1.5 years old
Occupation/Role in Life: Mom/Interior Design Superhero
What was the most unexpected (or shocking?) thing about your first year as a new parent?
For me, the most shocking thing about becoming new parents was the drastic change in our lives. I mean, you know your life is going to change but you don’t fully understand that concept until you are living it. You don’t realize how much you give up in that first year – independence, sleep, a social life, and your brain! All of a sudden your entire existence depends on whether your baby is sleeping, eating or pooping. It’s quite a shock! Don’t get me wrong, it’s the most rewarding job, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In those first few months, what I also found particularly challenging was figuring out our new roles as parents. It’s hard on your relationship as expectations are high and emotions are flying all over the place (this is where sleep deprivation really hits ya!). It’s your first time on this journey and there is no instruction guide on how to survive. Your relationship needs are put on the back burner for a while but this too, finds its way back to normality after some time.
So, when does it get easier? Well, we found that in 6 months increments, things seem to improve. I found the first 6 months the hardest, until we decided to sleep train our daughter. It was the best thing for all of us! She was happier, and frankly, so were we. It wasn’t as dreadful as everyone makes it out to be and to this day, she is an amazing sleeper. When we hit the year mark, we had developed a good routine, and we were all in a happier place. Our daughter was walking, and gaining independence, which was exciting to watch. Fast forward another 6 months, and it gets better! She is becoming her own person, chatting up a storm and entertaining us each day.
What is/was the most valuable resource for you in your first year of parenting?
Here are my top things that I felt were invaluable that first year:
- Midwives – I loved my experience with my midwives. It wasn’t just the prenatal care, but the post-natal as well. They come to your house for weeks after delivery to care for you and your baby. This is invaluable to me, as I was too nervous to even go outside with my daughter, never mind in the car! If I had any concerns, I knew they would be there the following day for me to ask. I had a hospital birth with an epidural, so you can have a “standard” birth using their services. You will not regret it!
Halo Bassinest – I loved how it made me feel physically close to my daughter in those early days, but still allowed her to have her own space. You want to keep a watchful eye on them at all times when they are so wee, so this was perfect for that.
Diaper Pail – I think this one explains itself but I love it. It really just keeps all the crap in one place!
Keekaroo Peanut Change Pad – A life changing product! It’s made of rubber so if you babe spoils it, you can just rinse off and wipe dry. No laundry or time wasted. It’s also cushy and comes in a few sweet colours! (Editor’s note: these are coming to the StorkSupply site soon :) )
Baby Carrier – We used this all the time! In the infancy stage, we used wraps and softer carriers but when our daughter was big enough to go in the carrier, it was a life saver. It soothed her, made my life easier and also sometimes, would even be a place for her to sleep.
Medela Double Breast Pump – My sister gave me the advice to buy the best pump on the market and I am so grateful for that advice. I started to pump each night, to create a bottle for bedtime only (allowing myself or my husband to do the bedtime routine). We kept this up for over a year and if I didn’t have this pump, I would have given up a long time ago.
- Alanna, at Good Night, Sleep Site, has great resources for sleep training. Her Instagram, seminars and website all offer so much advice if you want to go down this road. She educates you as parents on how to make this process easy and as painless as possible.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give if you could go back in time and talk to your pre-baby self? Or what might you do differently if/when you have more children?
Good question! I think there are some standard pieces of advice that people give that I will reiterate as they really are helpful and true…
- Sleep when your baby sleeps! The laundry isn’t going anywhere.
- You are a good parent even if you can’t breastfeed, aren’t happy all the time or feel like you make a million mistakes in one day.
- Follow your gut instinct on what’s best for your baby, as you know best.
- Accept help when it’s offered. It really does make a world of difference.
- You will get your (social) life back with time.
- Be kind to yourself and body! You made a human which is a miracle. It does go back to “normal”, eventually.
- The days are long, but the years are short