Let’s face it – becoming a new parent can be a scary (but rewarding) life event. Many parents-to-be have to accept that giving birth to a new baby is a life-changing experience. Fortunately, there are so many things to look forward to when it comes to raising a child. There are many general survival tips new parents should know before entering into the major shift in their lives. Here are some rules of thumb to help you stay afloat after your new arrival enters the world:
Trust Your Instincts
Many parents spend so much trying to focus on the right thing to do when it comes to caring for a new baby that they don’t realize trusting their instincts is the way to go. While parenting books offer valuable information on how to care for a new baby, parents should also let their gut instincts guide them into doing what’s most helpful for raising their child. For example, if your newborn seems to not be eating as much and you feel like something might be up, don’t wait. Trust your first instinct that something might be wrong and get to the bottom of it! Don’t let those feelings overwhelm you too much, though. It’s easy to be a worry-wart and be extremely overprotective. Remember to try and relax!
Lean on Other New Parents for Support
There are thousands of people who become new parents every day and most likely are in your same situation of being terrified of parenting “wrong”. There is no right or wrong way to parenting; it’s all about how you choose to raise your child. Try joining mommy-and-me classes to meet other mothers that are just like you. Often discussing your journey with other mothers will help you realize you’re not in this alone. Having people around who are in the same boat as you can ease your stress. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to support your transition into becoming a new parent.
Schedule Some “Me Time”
It’s so important to pencil in some “me time” for you and your spouse each day to just relax and unwind. This can be especially useful when you put your baby down for naps. Engage in relaxing meditation practices, read your favorite book, watch your favorite television show, or anything else you enjoy doing that takes your mind off the stresses that come along with being a new parent. Cook meals with your spouse or better yet – hire a sitter and go out for a date night. Most new parents find it next to impossible to leave their new baby with a sitter so quickly, so make sure you are comfortable with this. You may want to enlist the help of a relative to make you feel more comfortable while you’re out so you’re not constantly checking in and wondering if everything is okay.
Integrate Humor into Your Daily Routine
Humor can be such a powerful tool when you feel overwhelmed. Try to integrate humor into your daily routines with your child to bring some more positive energy into your daily life. Reading a funny book with them, watching cartoons, or simply enjoying a laugh will help you embrace your new arrival. Make jokes with your spouse about changing diapers, etc.
Seek Support from Friends and Family
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are plenty of relatives, friends, and neighbors who will be happy to help you if you need it. Whether you need to step out to run errands or just need to get out of the house and enjoy some time alone, rely on these people to lend you a helping hand when they can. Don’t be afraid to ask your support system to do little favors for you like bringing over a meal so you don’t have to cook or grabbing a few groceries for you. Just be sure to repay them or properly show your gratitude with thank you gifts to show your appreciation.
Becoming a new parent isn’t easy, but you will learn so much about not only your child, but yourself and your partner as well. Just be prepared for the unexpected, don’t sweat the small stuff, trust your instincts and remember to SMILE. Giving birth is a wonderful thing and it’s a journey that will be unforgettable. After your first child, you’ll be much more prepared for your second, third, or even fourth child and will know what to expect. Congratulations on becoming a new parent!