One minute you are living a child-free life that doesn’t revolve around nappies, breastfeeding, and sleep-wake cycles, the next you are thrown into what feels like an alternative universe and have a tiny human depending on you for everything. Becoming a parent is a shock to the system, despite the fact that you have nine months to prepare for the challenge when the day finally comes and you become a parent, you are not prepared for the shock that comes with being handed a newborn baby.
That being said, there are a few things that you can do – steps that you can take – that can help to ensure that those first few weeks and months of parenthood are more manageable. It will never be easy becoming a parent for the first time, but if you take note of the tips below and implement the ones that you find helpful, you can make the process of raising a newborn that little bit easier and slightly less stressful.
For everything that you need to know, read on.
Put a parental plan in place
It is a wise move to make to discuss how you will parent beforehand, rather than attempting to do so after your little one is born. By taking the time to research different parenting methods and discuss them with your partner beforehand, you can make sure that when it comes to how you will raise your baby, that you are both on the same page about things and know what is what.
This is important because when it comes to parenthood, you and your partner need to present a united front, you can’t be going against each other with different parenting styles. You need to take the time to consider things like whether you are going to let your baby cry it out or whether you are going to comfort them whenever they cry and whether you want to co-sleep with them or not. There is a lot that you need to consider, so taking the time to talk things through beforehand and put a parental plan in place, could be a good idea.
Don’t be afraid to accept help. A lot of new parents think that accepting help is a sign of weakness, but the truth is that isn’t the case. Raising a child is hard work, especially those first few early weeks and months, which is why there is no shame in accepting help. Whether your mom offers to come and stay for a week or two and help out with your new addition, housework, and cooking, or your mother in law offers to cook you a month’s worth of food, take advantage of any help that you can get. Asking for help is not admitting defeat, it is simply accepting that you can’t do everything by yourself, which when you become a mother, you can’t do.
Parenthood means being a lot more flexible that you used to be. The chances are that when it comes to doing anything with a baby in tow, you are often going to end up being late or having to cancel plans, and for the first year or so, that is okay. You need to understand that with parenthood, flexibility becomes more important than ever. You can’t control everything that happens when you have a baby to think about, which is why you need to learn to relax and lead a more flexible life. Babies are life-changing, they change absolutely everything about your life, which is why, for many parents, it can take some time to adjust to the challenges that parenthood poses. As a parent, you need to learn to think on your feet, so that whatever your new addition throws your way, you are equipped to cope with. Don’t be afraid to make changes to how you lead your life, as with parenthood comes many changes that as a parent you have to just go with.
Get to know your baby
The fact is that every baby is different, which means that as a parent it is vital that you get to know your baby and learn everything that you can about them. One of the best ways to get to know your baby is to keep a log of their eating, sleeping and nappy habits, so that eventually, over time, you are able to see a pattern and establish a routine. It isn’t always easy getting into a routine when you have a little one to think about, but if you take the time to learn all about your baby’s habits, you can make getting into a routine that little bit easier. Life as a parent can sometimes feel overwhelming, but if you take the time to get yourself and your little one into a routine, you will begin to feel less stressed out and will be able to enjoy your time with your little one more.
Invest in useful gadgets
Parenthood is not an easy task, that’s the truth of the matter. However, just because parenthood is not always easy, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t steps that you can take to help make being a parent that little bit easier. There are various gadgets that you can, and should, invest in that can help to make the process of raising a baby easier and less stressful. Often, one of the most stressful parts of raising a newborn is keeping them entertained and preventing them from crying, which is what gadgets like jungle gyms, baby swings, and play mats are for. Sensory toys can also be great for babies, as they can help to keep them occupied while soothing them and preventing crying fits. For times when your baby just won’t stop crying and refuses to settle, it’s important to know what to do. Sometimes gadgets like the mamaRoo infant seat can be all it takes to stop a crying fit in its tracks – click here to read an in-depth review on the mamaRoo infant car seat – other times it can take a lot more than that. Often, going for a drive can help to soothe and calm a baby, sending them into a state of relaxation and helping them to drift off to sleep. A white noise machine can also help, as can certain types of music. When it comes to preventing crying fits, often it’s a case of trial and error – over time you will get to know what calms your baby and helps to send them off to sleep.
Shuffle your priorities
Before having children, our priorities are always our own. Whereas, once we have a baby, that changes, as we prioritize our baby’s needs, over our own. This can mean making changes to all different parts of your life, from your home life and career to your social life. The fact is that even the neatest person can struggle to keep their home clean and tidy when they have a newborn to care for, and this is something that you just have to cope with. A tidy home might have been a priority before you had a child, but now that you are a parent, things have changed. The same goes for your social life, making sure that you attended every girls’ night out might have been a priority, but now that you have a little one depending on you, your priorities will change. Nights out with your friends suddenly seem unimportant compared to spending time with and taking care of your little one. When you become a parent, everything shifts and your priorities change forever – your child becomes your number one priority and very little else matters.
Make mealtimes easier
By far, one of the hardest parts of being a new parent is finding the time to eat, let alone make food. This is why a lot of new parents live off of takeaways and ready meals for the first few months of parenthood. However, this is not a healthy option, particularly if you are breastfeeding, which is why it’s important to plan for mealtimes in advance. If possible, before your new addition is born, make up various batches of meals, portion them up, and freeze them down, so that when your new addition arrives, all you have to do is microwave these meals. It’s much better to eat healthy, homemade meals than ready meals or takeaways, which is why stocking your freezer in advance is important. Another option is to invest in a slow cooker and live off of slow cooker meals, as these take five minutes to prepare and can be made healthy too. If anyone offers to bring you homemade meals to stock your freezer with, don’t be afraid to say yes – when you have a newborn to cope with, you won’t care what you eat, just as long as it’s food of some sort.
There you have it, everything that you need to know to make those first few weeks and months of parenthood that little bit less stressful, and slightly more manageable. Becoming a parent for the first time will never be easy, but if you take note of the tips and advice above, you can make life that little bit easier for yourself and your partner.