To cope with the demands of a newborn baby you need to be in a good physical and mental state. Rest for new parents is therefore essential. It is ok to sit or lie down and rest/sleep. You are NOT being selfish; make rest time a priority in your day. Relax and enjoy this time together.
Tiredness is one of the most common problems that new parents face. Fatigue can have a huge impact on your relationship with both your baby and your partner. It can also increase your anxiety levels and therefore your judgment can be impeded. All of these things can have long-term consequences and can lead to health complications like depression.
Increasingly these days there is no longer the level or access to extended family support as there once was. Consequently the burden falls increasingly on parents.
Accordingly, co-parenting is an important facet of today’s living and can make parenting a more enjoyable experience.
Strategies for Survival
The following are suggestions given by other mothers, and myself, to help in the preparation for your new baby
Before the baby arrives
• Have a good childcare reference book available
• Have basic clothing and nursery set up well in advance
• Cook and freeze some meals
• Ensure your pantry is well stocked, things like long life milk will mean you never run out
• Think of ways you can minimize housework
• Consider a nappy wash service (if not using disposable)
• Speak openly about your thoughts and feelings
• Rest as much as possible
• Don’t be afraid to limit visitors. (Staff can help you with this) Visitors can be very tiring and if possible try to coordinate family and friends so there are not too many people at once
• Room in with your baby to get to know them and learn their communication
• You, your partner and your baby are the number 1 priority
• Rest while feeding your baby
• Take the phone off the hook or use an answering machine while feeding or sleeping
• A baby carrier is often good for an unsettled baby
• Practice relaxation techniques
• Seek help if needed, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed
• If people offer to help, gladly accept – you can always return the favour later
• Avoid planning busy days
• Be kind to yourself; having adequate rest, nutritious meals, enjoy fresh air and have time out
• Keep a diary or journal
• It is ok to say no to visitors
• Keep communication channels open with your partner; don’t shut him out
You are bound to get a lot of advice, sometimes it can appear conflicting.
Just remember to believe in yourself and follow your heart and instincts when making decisions.
• Start preparing your family pet/s now, before baby is born
• Change your dogs sleeping habits now if appropriate
• Invest in dog obedience to avoid dog jumping for example
• Train your pets to stay out of the baby’s room while you are not in there to avoid them knocking over furniture for example
• Before your baby comes home from hospital, dad could take home some unwashed baby clothes to allow dog to get used to baby’s smell/
Remember, your pets can become jealous and good preparation is ideal in allowing all members of your family to get along.
It can be really scary for some couples when they first bring their baby home. I always advise new parents to take on board all the advice/information people give you and then make your decision based on what feels right. If it doesn’t “sit” well with you then it probably isn’t right for your new family at that time. Most of all enjoy your baby, as everyone tells you, they do grow so fast.