How to survive the first days of parenthood

Coping with parenthood: Communicate

A vital part of being a mum or dad, single or otherwise, is communicating with family, friends or your partner. There is so much to come to terms with once your baby has arrived, so communicating will help address your needs and halve any concerns you may have. Are you feeling hormonal? Do you want a specific food? Would you love a foot rub? Whatever it is, just talk it through.

Coping with parenthood: Rest

While you may feel like you can’t take your eyes off your new baby for one split second, it is important, especially as a new mum, to rest. Your body has gone through so much in the past few days, and if you’re to be of any use to your new baby you must shower, sleep and then start again. Your partner or a family member can hold or watch your baby while you doze off for an hour or so – you don’t need to be available every second.

Coping with parenthood: One thing at a time

Friends wanting to visit, baby gifts left, right and centre, and a mountain of dishes to return home to. Now you’re a parent, you might think you’re supermum or superdad, but you’re still human! Adrenaline and the overwhelming feeling of pride, happiness and adoration for your newborn can result in parents thinking they’re invincible. But before you start doing your one man band impression, stop and prioritise tasks. What’s most important? What can wait until later? This will help prevent new-parent-meltdown later on.

Coping with parenthood: Accept help

Your own parents are here for you at this time. Chances are they are just as thrilled about being grandparents as you are being a parent, so let them get involved and do their bit to help you. Trying to do everything yourself, including bottle feeding, nappy changing and cleaning your baby’s belly button, will not achieve you ‘best parent of the year award’, it will only result in baby-burnout. So say ‘yes’ to help before the offer is withdrawn – you’re not a failure if you don’t do every task yourself.

Coping with parenthood: Have alone time

As much as it is important to accept the help of others, it is also vital to have some one-on-one time with your newborn. Bonding, whether you’re a mummy or a daddy, is important in the first 24 hour period. So have some quiet moments just the two or three of you, just cuddling and being quiet and together. These moments are precious and you should cherish them – it will seem like the blink of an eye before your ‘baby’ is rejecting this ‘alone time!’

Coping with parenthood: Don’t expect too much of yourself

Don’t expect that you will be a perfect parent straight away. Especially if you’re a first-time parent you have so much to learn, so it’s impossible to know it all at once – no matter how many baby books you’ve read or prenatal classes you’ve endured. With experience comes confidence and ability, so you’ll soon have the hang of it. If your baby doesn’t feed, don’t sweat. If you can’t make the nappy super neat like on the packaging, it’s no big deal.

Coping with parenthood: Enjoy the moment

Parenthood can seem like a whirlwind at the best of times – the other times just being a total blur! But, the first 24 hour period of a child’s life is so precious and every millisecond should be cherished. Don’t waste or spoil this time with arguments, doubts and worry. Live in the now and focus all of your attention on this beautiful thing you have created. Take lots of photographs, write down any little moments you want to remember and bask in the joy of bringing life into the world.

Coping with parenthood: Deal with baby blues

It is very common to experience mood changes and irritability after you have given birth, which is commonly referred to as the baby blues. Remember though, these feelings should dwindle after a few weeks, but if they persist then it could be a sign of postnatal depression meaning you should speak to a doctor. To cope with the baby blues caused by hormonal changes, try to rest as much as possible, treat yourself to things you enjoy such as bubble baths, express your feelings with others, and spend time bonding with your baby.

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