Tips for New Moms as They Adjust to Life With a New Baby
Ask most parents, and they’ll tell you that their lives changed drastically after bringing that first bundle of joy home. A newborn brings a tornado of activity and excitement, but also a fair amount of stress and fatigue. We offer some tips for parents of newborns, whether it’s your first baby or whether you are already a parent. Consider these steps when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
How to Adjust to Your Newborn
Step 1: Maintain Self-Care
Taking care of yourself is going to be more important than ever for your physical and mental health. With the responsibilities of caring for a baby, self-care may seem more difficult to achieve. Resist using caffeine as a major food group or a substitute for sleep. Eat a health diet, drink plenty of water and get some fresh air. Try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Try to create a nighttime routine with your partner that allows both of you to rest and care for the baby.
Step 2: Be Flexible With Time
You know the joke that we make plans and God laughs? Often it can feel like your newborn is doing the same thing. No matter how diligently you plan your schedules for feeding, napping and playing, there will be days when your baby has other ideas. Allow yourself plenty of time each day for nursing sessions, naps and crying spells. If you need to leave the house, give yourself enough time to pack your supplies and make that inevitable last-minute diaper change.
Step 3: Expect an Emotional Roller Coaster
Having a baby is a profoundly emotional experience. Obviously, you love your baby and would do anything for him or her. What may come as a surprise, however, are the more negative emotions that come up. You might go from adoring your baby and marveling at the tiny fingers and toes to grieving your loss of independence and worrying about your skills as a parent… all in the space of an hour! Chances are good that you and your partner are both tired and anxious. It’s important to stay connected and talk about what’s bothering you. It could be a new economic strain or difficulty you’re having with the baby.
Step 4: Relax Your Standards
We all want to be the “perfect mom.” You’ve had nine months to study and prepare, to get the baby’s room just perfect, to create an image of yourself as a parent. But reality is never perfect. As you get used to this new addition, you will need to go easy on yourself. Leave those dust bunnies where they are if you need a break. Let those clean clothes stay in the laundry basket or in stacks on the floor until you need them. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.
Step 5: Get Out of the House
We’ve all been feeling a little stir crazy with the addition of coronavirus in our lives. Now imagine that feeling with a fussy newborn. Getting outside is very important to maintaining your mental health. Take your baby for a walk. Arrange playdates or lunches with friends to nurture all of the relationships in your life. If you have a friend or family member who can watch the baby while you do some errands or just get a break, take advantage of that.
Step 6: Ask for Help
Even on a good day, parenting is extremely challenging. If you find yourself depressed and anxious and unable to cope, consult your healthcare provider or a mental health provider. You are not alone. Contact AWH Dallas today if you’d like to make an appointment with your physician.