Becoming a parent for the first time is a really wonderful thing, but it really does change life as you know it forever. It has been described as both terrific and terrifying all at the same time… and for anyone that has already had children will know, that is most certainly true. Becoming a parent is one of those things that you can read about and hear about, but you never quite know about it until the time comes and you experience it.
So if that sounds like you, and you are in the early stages of parenthood, then having some tips to survive can be just what you need. Learning to soothe a baby that has just arrived can take time; you have to get to know each other. And what does that cry mean? Does it mean that need to be changed or fed again? It is all new, but it does get simpler and easier with time. With that in mind, here are some ways to help you to cope with those early newborn days, so that you can enjoy them with your baby, and not feel too stressed, isolated, or tired.
One of the first things to think about, which can really help new parents, is thinking of those first weeks and months as the ‘fourth’ trimester. And it can be tricky to get your head round it. But once you do, it makes everything make more sense. But what it is all about is replicating experiences that your baby would have been having in the womb. They have been used to that for so long, so it helps them ease into life outside if it is done gently. Which is why white noise, similar to what they would have heard over nine months can be helpful, as well as the motion of rocking, what they would have felt as you walked around. Learning to do things like this isn’t rocket science, but it can make all of the difference to your baby, especially when it comes to soothing them in those early days.
After the visits from the health visitor, you can pretty much be left alone. And while the peace can be nice, it is important to make sure that you get help if you feel that you need it. If you’re finding breastfeeding a struggle, then there are specialists you can speak to that will help you. If you are feeling a little low, then it can be a very normal feeling as your hormones are all over the place. But it is important to speak to someone if those low feelings stick around. Your doctor or even a friend to listen could be just what you need. The same goes for needing to take a nap; ask a friend or family member to help you out with the baby so that you can sleep.
You also don’t want to be going through any extra stress in your life in those early stages. But in some circumstances, having the baby can bring with it some challenges such as custody if you and the baby’s other parent are separated. So in cases like that, leave it up to family law solicitors to deal with, rather than you doing it alone. Although it costs, it can be simpler than you having to deal with it on top of being exhausted and caring for a newborn.
Take Time To Heal
In those early days, recreating the womb can naturally help you to rest and not do too many things that are active, especially if you are having the baby in a sling to be close to you. But regardless, you need to take the time to heal your body. It has just done something pretty amazing and grown a human! That process took nine months, so you better believe that you need more than a day or so to heal. You will be bleeding, could experience night sweats as your body gets rid of excess fluid, as well as being sore, or recovering from major surgery if you had a c-section. Not to mention how you’ll be feeling emotionally.
So don’t put too much pressure on yourself in those early weeks, and don’t expect too much. If you are still in maternity clothes, don’t worry about it, your body needs time to get back to normal. If you’re not doing as much housework, that is fine too. Your priority is the new tiny human living in your home.
When you’re tired or feeling emotional, one of the last things on your mind can be eating well. But it really does make a difference when you make an effort to do so. Don’t reach for the takeaways each night (though occasionally is needed, right)? Instead, opt for simple and healthy meals that won’t take long to prepare. Reduce the sugar that you eat and it can help with your energy levels too. You may feel like you need more energy as you’ll be so tired. But choose natural energy boosts like nuts or fruit instead. Sugar will give you a spike of energy but often leave you feeling worse than before afterwards. Eating well can boost your mood too, and help you to shift any pregnancy pounds that you want to lose.
You should be taking to time to heal at least for the first six weeks, rather than exercising. So eating well can give you a natural boost that you might need.
All in all, the newborn days can be challenging as you adjust to life, recover, and survive on little sleep. So no matter how prepared you think you might be, it is OK to feel like you need some help. Just make sure that you get the help that you do need. The parenting thing may not come instantly or instinctively. But it will come. So take time to just enjoy those early newborn days, and get used to your new normal; it really is a magical journey.
This is a collaborative post.