So, you’ve recently had a baby. Congratulations!
You know when you started a new role at work, people understood that it would take you a little while to settle in, and there would be someone whom you could ask for help – a support person.
Mmmm not sure that always happens with Parenthood!
So, what can you do to make the first few weeks, or months much smoother so that you have a happy baby and Mum!
- Firstly, take any help that is offered, whether it is cooking meals, doing the washing, house cleaning or helping with shopping. This is a wonderful blessing and will allow you a little time to rest…. which is the second thing….
- Sleep or rest whenever you can. It’s normal for newborns to wake several times during the night for a feed, which means you get disrupted sleep. To reduce the chances of you feeling like a zombie for weeks, take a nap during the day when the baby does. Don’t just rest in front of the TV, actually lie down on the bed and sleep. Yes, there may be things you ‘need’ to do, but maybe every second day is catch up on sleep day. It can be done – especially if you are fortunate enough to have family or friends who can help out with household tasks.
- Take the time to learn about your new baby. As a first time parent it can be very daunting to be responsible for this little human, and to try and interpret their needs. The more you watch and listen to your baby the more you will start to feel confident in your parenting role. Remember too that when you were learning to drive a car, it took a fair bit of practice before it actually felt comfortable and you felt somewhat confident! If you don’t feel connected or are finding it difficult, seek help through your doctor or baby health nurse. Some situations can be readily helped with just a bit of professional advice. The Dunstan Baby Language can be a great way to help you interpret the sounds that your newborn makes for hunger, wind and tiredness. I’ve written about this previously – http://theparentingcafe.com.au/dunstan-baby-language/
- Listen to all the advice you are given, from your Mum, your mother-in-law, the neighbor, Dr Phil on TV etc, as many of these people have great ideas which could work for you and bub. But ultimately it is you who decide what is best for your baby.
- Have a shower every day. It’s not about the hygiene but having a few minutes to shower and get dressed make you feel so much more able to manage because you are refreshed.
- When you are in a cooking mode, cook double quantities of meals which can be frozen eg bolognaise sauce or a chicken casserole. These can then be easily defrosted and heated on an evening when you are too tired to cook.
- Make sure you eat! Sounds obvious, but often we get so engrossed in the care of the baby and think: ‘I’ll eat when I’ve hung out the washing’, but then you get distracted and do another job. Making sure you are well fed and hydrated will make the day much better. This is especially so if you are breast feeding.
- If the baby’s Dad is in your life, then let them help too. Often as new Mums we can be like a protective lioness, and won’t let Dads help – often thinking they can’t do it as well as you. In fact, Dads can learn to do everything as well as you apart from breast feeding! So let them help and learn just as you are. It’s important too for the baby to get used to both parents and their individual way of doing things.
- And finally, if you are struggling, ask for help! Most people are willing to help if you just ask – tell them what you would like help with, and let them nurture you this way.
Happy New Parenting!