Regardless of how many friends, family members, and perfect strangers try to paint an accurate picture of parenthood, there’s nothing anyone can say that adequately prepares you for that heart-stretching moment you hold your newborn for the first time.

And the sentiments only grow exponentially from there. There aren’t words capable of conveying the myriad of emotions you will experience as a new parent. Love. Gratitude. Exhaustion. Fear. Joy. Frustration. Excitement. Hate.

(Okay, you won’t really hate your baby. Just the sound of your baby crying at three in the morning when it’s only been half an hour since her last feeding.)

Maybe that’s the best word to describe the new baby phase: emotional. It’s emotional for you. It’s emotional for them. But despite the crying—both yours and theirs—there is something indescribably wonderful about that first year of life.

Somewhere along the way, in the delirium of teething and feedings and diapers and sleep schedules, something beautiful happens. Something almost magical.

It’s in the way your baby smells after a bath, wrapped in a towel and laying on your chest. It’s in the way their eyelids flutter when they sleep. It’s in the shape of their perfect little mouths, the length of their tiny fingernails, and the velvety feel of their skin against yours. There’s something essentially perfect in the way that they are totally and completely brand new.

In my work as a preschool director, my favorite rooms to visit were the ones assigned to this age group. These were my volunteers’ favorite rooms, too. People literally wait in line to hold a baby. To rock a baby. To ooooh and ahhhh over baby’s impossibly long eyelashes or new hairbow.

There is a great sense of promise that adds to the allure of this age. Literally, anything is possible. The pages of their story are gleamingly blank, striking with potential.

As a parent, you have many phases ahead, and each one has its own set of unique possibilities. But right here, right now, you have something you will never have again—at least not in this way. You could think about it like this: You will never have messed up less as a parent than you have at this moment. Really. This is the beginning. You have a fresh start. And even though it’s scary, even though you don’t know what you’re doing (none of us do), you have everything you need—you.

That’s right. Because, despite the thousands of mass-market baby products available, there is only one thing your baby really needs right now­—your baby needs you.

Some days it may seem like they need you a little too much, or a little too often, or a little too immediately. Don’t worry. With every passing month, they will discover a new ability that lets them need you a little less.

But for now, in this fleeting new baby phase, they need you. And you are enough.

– Holly Crawshaw

Parenting Your New Baby

A concise and interactive guide that simplifies what you need to know about new babies in general and gives you a place to discover more about your own baby to help you make the most of this phase.

Sleep is hard to come by and you’re cleaning up more messes than you thought possible, but you might be in one of the best phases of your child’s life. THIS IS THE PHASE WHEN NOBODY SLEEPS, EVERYBODY SMELLS, AND ONE MESMERIZING BABY CONVINCES YOU, “I NEED YOU NOW.”

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