“Have a baby,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. If you’re anything like most parents (or all), you were probably sold on the idea of parenthood by friends and family who made it look like a breeze. But let’s just face it; it is never easy!
Whether it is the vaccination trips where you cry more than the baby, the late-night feedings, or the never-ending laundry cycle – it can all be pretty overwhelming at times. So how do you make it through those first few months (or years) without losing your mind? Here are a few tips:
We don’t know where you want us to begin. But let’s start right from when you learn you’re going to be a parent. It is, hands down, one of the most amazing feelings in the world, but it also comes with a lot of anxiety and worry. The best you can do is start reading up on everything baby-related.
From sleep training to what kind of stroller to buy, there is a lot to learn, and the internet is a great resource. But don’t get too bogged down in the details.
You’d also want to learn a little more about what to expect from the delivery room, how to take care of a newborn, and the potential birth injuries. If you’re looking for resources online, visit childbirthinjuries.com for more information. Not all rainbows and butterflies, but being prepared will help you feel more in control when everything is happening so fast.
Set realistic expectations
New parents make a grave mistake by setting unrealistic expectations for themselves and their new baby. Maybe you read a parenting book that said your baby should be sleeping through the night by eight weeks old, or you saw a post on social media about a mom who was back to her pre-baby body just six weeks after giving birth.
The problem with these unrealistic expectations is they set you up for disappointment and can make you feel like you’re failing as a parent when things don’t go according to plan. So instead of putting all this pressure on yourself, take a step back and remember that every baby is different. And so is your body!
Some babies sleep through the night at eight weeks, while others like playing jujutsu with their wrapping sheets till morning. And that’s okay! And as for that pre-baby body? All in time, mommy!
Acknowledge your partner’s feelings
You’re not in this alone! It takes two to make a baby, right? Most couples complain of drifting apart after having a baby, which is normal. It is hard to find time to nurture your relationship when you’re busy taking care of a little human.
Plus, the quarrel of equal division of labor can put a strain on any relationship. So, it is essential to have patience and understand your partner is going through the same thing as you are. They are also trying to figure out this whole parenting gig, and sometimes they need a break too! Just find the sweet balance, and things will start falling into place. And if you’re annoyed at the snoring while you have a little munchkin attached to your boob, try this simple breathing trick:
- Place a hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
- Inhale via your nose for a count of four, ensuring your stomach rises more than your chest.
- Exhale via your mouth for a count of eight.
- Repeat this four times, and you’ll be snoring in no time.
Join a parenting group
Trust us; it’s raining parents out there. Many other couples are in the same boat as you, so why not join a parenting group? It is an awesome way to make friends, find support, and learn from others who have been through it all before.
You can join an online group or look for one in your local area. Meeting other parents can help you feel less isolated and more connected. And who knows, maybe you’ll even make lifelong friends over discussing how to shape your baby’s eyebrows!
Also, if you’re going through the post-partum blues, know you’re not alone. Many mothers feel this way after giving birth, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. You can openly talk about it with other members of your parenting group and get the support you need.
Maintain a schedule
The one thing that takes the cake for most new parents is the lack of sleep. It seems like they wake up crying or want to be held as soon as you put your baby down for a nap. And then when you finally get them to sleep through the night, you’re up at the crack of dawn because they need to be fed.
It’s a never-ending cycle, but there are ways to make it more manageable. What you can do is, maintain a schedule. Try to put your baby down for naps at the same time every day and to bed at the same time every night. It will help their little bodies get into a routine, and hopefully, they’ll start sleeping for longer periods. As for your sleep, sleep when the baby sleeps. Later, you can sleep when they go to college.
Now that you’re knee-deep in diapers and burp cloths, it’s easy to forget why you wanted to be a parent. Yes, it’s exhausting, and yes, there are moments you want to pull your hair out. Still, parenthood is also one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
So, cherish the good moments, and learn from the bad. And most importantly, don’t forget to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!