Seek advice (but don't believe everything you hear)
Many parents find that beginning with their child's conception, seeking opinions and information from trusted sources helps them glean invaluable advice about pregnancy and the new baby. "On the day of Jack's birth I think I finally realized that I was totally unprepared. A lot can be said for reading a couple of those 'baby' books. I learned how to treat diaper rash and what to do when the baby is in pain from teething," says Mick Bell, father to 15-month-old Jack.
That said, pregnant women may be stunned by the amount of unsolicited advice and information they receive—and this advice doesn't usually stop once the baby is born. Some of it will be a wonderful help, and some will be blatantly ridiculous; trust your instinct and don't be afraid to take questions to your family's healthcare providers.
Ask for and accept help during the early days
Caring for a new baby is exhausting work and takes its toll on both Mom and Dad. Don't be afraid to ask a close friend or member of your family to help you out when you need it, whether it is to do your grocery shopping for you or just to sit with the baby for a couple of hours so you can catch up on some much-needed rest. If you don't accept help when it is offered or ask for it when it is needed, you may be setting an unwelcome precedent for yourself: people may believe you don't need any help when you need it most.
Focus on the essentials when setting up the nursery
Marketing companies would have you believe that if you don't buy every conceivable piece of nursery furniture, clothing item, lotion, potion, and toy that you are not a good parent. This is rubbish! Ask friends with children which items they found most useful and then weigh their advice against your own lifestyle. With regards to outfitting the nursery, the only essentials are a place for your baby to sleep, diapers, selected items of clothing, and feeding equipment. Don't stress out if your nursery doesn't have the latest of everything—your little one won't even notice.