Things you wish you'd known before having a baby.
Martín Elfman for NPR

What do you wish you’d known before becoming a parent?

In May, we asked our audience this question at the start of How To Raise A Human, our month-long special series on how to make parenting easier.

More than 1,000 moms and dads opened up about the struggles and joys of raising children of all ages, from babies to adults, on NPR’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Does raising kids have to be stressful? Is it really dangerous for babies to sleep with Mom? Do chores have to be a fight? For this special series, NPR travels around the world for ideas to make parenting easier. Sign up for NPR Health’s newsletter to get the stories delivered to your inbox.

A mom shares what she’s learned about parenthood from her own resilient mother. Another mom explains a trick she uses to get her in-laws off her back. And a one dad enlightens us with the advantage of the shoulder flaps on a baby onesie.

Here’s a selection of responses, edited for length and clarity.

‘We are all winging it’

I wish instead of people saying “Oh, you just need to follow your instincts” or “Read this baby book,” I wish someone sat me down, looked me in the eye and said:

“Hey, we are all winging it. None of us knows what in the heck we are doing and NO two kids are exactly alike.”

It amazes me how many parents are afraid to admit that. -Toni Holloway-Pullum

‘Just tell them … your doctor told you to do it your way’

if your in-laws and [family] are telling you how to do things and you want to do things differently, just tell them that your doctor/pediatrician told you to do it your way. Who cares if it’s true? It will usually shut them up. -Josie Bahr

‘I wish I had more support’

I wish I had more support for my…

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Mayra Rodriguez

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Mayra Rodriguez
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