Becoming a new parent is an exciting time in a couple’s life. You are about to have a new addition to your family, and this addition is bound to bring you lots of joy and happiness. While there is no doubt that there is no substitute for the joy that new parents feel when they have a child, it is also the fact that having a baby can be a challenging experience.
New parents not only have to deal with the changes in their lifestyle once a new baby arrives, but they also have to deal with the change in schedule, sleep patterns and priorities. For example, most new parents suffer from chronic sleep deprivation which can lead to mood changes, irritability, loss of concentration and inability to cope with the new responsibilities. Couples often end up arguing with each other because they are unable to cope with the changes a new baby brings into their life. This does not mean they do not love the baby or that they regret having a child. It just means that new parents need some time to learn how to cope with the changes in their life.
Here are some tips for new parents that are likely to help them deal with the challenges and changes associated with the arrival of a new baby:
1. Sleep whenever you get the opportunity: With the new baby requiring feeds every few hours, the constant diaper changes and the frequent interruptions at night, it is vital that the mother get some sleep at every opportunity she gets. Sometimes, you may need your partner to look after the infant, while you take a nap. Some experts even recommend that both partners do not sleep in the same room so that only one partner is affected by the nocturnal waking episodes or that the child is kept in the nursery so that one parent can cater to the child when they wake up at all odd hours of the night. However, it is important to alternate the responsibilities so that both partners get some sleep and a certain sense of balance is maintained. Unfortunately, sharing of nightly responsibilities is not an option for single parents. In this case, the single parent should sleep at the same time as the baby. Whatever you work out with your partner, the point is that sleep is important for you when you have a new baby no matter how busy or difficult your schedule.
2. Take some time out for yourself: Looking after a baby is a full-time job, but this does not mean that you completely give up on yourself and focus all your energy on the baby. Babies sleep. Babies are social. Ask your partner to help. If a grandparent comes to visit, let them take care of the baby while you take a well-deserved break. Go out. Have a cup of coffee. Have a quick chat with a friend. Go for a swim. Read a book. Watch a comedy show. The point is: do something that you love to do, even if it is for a short period. Learn to relax and do things that you enjoy. It is possible even if you are a new parent. Take a break when your family comes around and is willing to look after the baby; take this opportunity to rejuvenate your mind and body.
3. Ask for help: When people offer to help, do not refuse. There are many chores in the home that need to be done when you have a baby. If you have family or close friends who offer help, accept it. If you need help and nobody is offering, ask for it. If no family or friend is around to help, pay someone for the services you need. Whatever you do, don’t take on more than you can handle. You will only make things worse for yourself and your baby.
4. Resume your social life: We understand that a new baby can affect your social life. That is completely normal, but this does not mean that you can never go out again. Your baby should be your top priority, no doubt, but every once in a while, if you get an opportunity to go out for a little bit, meet up with friends, hang out with your colleagues, don’t hesitate to do so. You can always ask your partner to take care of your baby while you’re out. Or you can get a babysitter once in a while. Nobody is asking you to be overly social but interacting with friends, family, and colleagues once in a while does not make you a bad parent. Go spend time with your family or friends. You can always call home to check up on the baby. Socialization will help ease the stress and make your mood stable; in fact, the break will re-energize you and make you feel wanted and special.
5. Do not forget your partner: Whenever a new baby comes, one partner usually feels neglected. If this feeling lingers, relationships can fall apart. That is why it is important to love your baby but also love each other. Spend time together, be intimate and do the things that you did together before even after the baby. Do not let the baby divide you and make you bitter. Remaining close to your partner will help make the bond grow stronger and improve your mental health. A good relationship is also essential for your baby.
A new baby is a blessing but dealing with the challenges can sometimes be overwhelming for new parents. Follow these tips, and you will see that you can have a normal and fulfilling life and still ensure your baby is your top priority.