When you're expecting, whether it be by birth or by adoption, everyone will have an opinion for you. There are people that will tell you what to name your baby, what not to name your baby, that you should breastfeed, that you shouldn't, that your baby should share your room, or even your bed (my personal recommendation on this is NO), that you should let them "cry it out," or that you shouldn't do that because you can "never spoil a baby." Holy crap, how do you know?! You're going to peruse the book store and Amazon for the closest thing to a "manual" you can get on this terrifying new little bundle that's going to be entering your home and your lives. Unfortunately there's no such thing. Every family is different, and therefore there's no one resource that's going to be perfect for everyone. But their are fantastic resources out there.
~Talk to your friends. Most folks have at least one friend who has young kids. If those kids look like they're not screwed up too badly yet, ask your friend for some advice on, say, how they got their 4-year-old to eat beets. If their kids are holy frigging terrors, then still ask their advice on certain subjects... just maybe file their answers away in your what-not-to-do bank.
~Your new kiddo's pediatrician. That's the guy/gal that's going to be able to say "your son looks like he's doing just fine," and have that be a meaningful statement. They're also the ones that can say, "I think you should try a different formula/laundry detergent/lotion, because it appears that your son is having a mild allergic reaction to something. We can also do some more testing to give you a firm answer on what it might be." Don't Google this stuff. Go to the doctor if you have questions about your child's well-being.
~Books (if it's a medical issue, see above). Find as general of one as possible, like What To Expect The First Year, or The Baby Owner's Manual (pictured above, and worth it just for the humor of the diagrams alone). That way you're getting the info you need about the basics of feeding, bathing, milestones, etc., but you're cutting through the bullshit of someone else's opinion on how you should parent. The best advice I can give any expecting parent about choosing a book about babies is, please preview the book before you buy it. If you find it interesting, and it presents theories and methods you're totally on board with, then it's a great book for you to buy. If you pick it up, get three pages into it, and think the author is a complete quack, then don't buy it. Don't parent the way someone else thinks you should. Every parent and every child is different. Do what you think is right for your child. Your gut is going to do most of the educating for you about being a new parent.
~Your parents. If you're lucky enough to still be on speaking terms with your parents, and you feel that you turned out pretty OK, then your own parents are fantastic people to ask for help (whether you thought so during your teenage years or not). Your friend might not be so thrilled about being woken up at 2am when you need help with your inconsolable baby. Your mom, on the other hand, will probably let it slide...
~The World Wide Web. Stay as far away from Web MD as possible unless you want to be paranoid about every little bust bunny that wisps its way into your nursery. But sites like Babble.com are fantastic to see what other moms are talking about. Stack the deck of "Mom" blogs in whatever form of bookmarking you choose. A few of my favorites are NYC Taught Me, Rookie Moms, Strocel, and Modern Parents Messy Kids.
Thanks for stopping by,