O: Mommy, you are the best mommy I've ever had.
On that stellar recommendation, I have distilled all of my parenting experience into a single piece of universally applicable advice for any and all new parents. Everything, other than this gem, is just situational guess work and opinion. Breast or bottle? Cloth or disposable? Cry it out or attachment? Stay at home or back to work? These are choices you get to make. I have no input or insight to share, because what worked for my family may or may not work for yours. Ok, here it is:
Get a heating pad, plug it in and leave it on or near your rocking chair. BAM. That's it.
Full disclosure: I'm two kids and nearly four years in and I just did it a week ago. Don't make the same mistake I did.
To everyone else, the already-parents, the never-been-parents, the parents-of-grown-adult-children, hush. Let these sweet new families have some peace. Don't scare them with stories of poop in the tub, the 5:00am feeding that lasts until noon, or the panic they will feel the first time that baby sleeps for more than two hours. They'll know soon enough. If they need you, they'll ask.
Make them dinner, but don't tell a woman who is eight months pregnant to sleep while she can. Drop off cookies, but don't ask about their birth plan, or, even worse share your own harrowing tale. Offer to come over and hold the baby for twenty minutes so she can go take a shower and promise to leave right after, but, please, don't comment on how she is feeding, clothing or washing her baby, partner, or hair.
New parents, know you can always ask. Someone will have an answer for you, and you get to hear that answer, listen to your heart, and make a choice. Some of those choices will be right. Some of them will be wrong. All of those choices will be yours, and it will be ok. You know more than you think you do.
But, I am serious about that heating pad thing.