You’ve brought your bundle of joy home. Now what?
I remember coming home from the hospital with our son and wondering how did they let us leave, I have no idea of how to look after this fragile little creature. It's a wonderful challenge, it will have it highs and low but there are definitely some things that will make life a little bit easier for you. I’ve collected some simple tips for new parents trying to manage this exciting—and exhausting—change in their lives.
1 Give yourself a break.
You may have Pinterest boards and books full of great ideas, but adapting to having a newborn in the home can be overwhelming. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if you’re not keeping up with your meal prep or doing laundry every day like you planned? You don’t have to be Supermom. Cut yourself a little slack and focus on taking care of this new life you’ve brought into the world.
2 Sleep when you can.
You may have heard the suggestion to “nap when the baby does.” That’s definitely true. Your nights won’t go uninterrupted for a while, so take advantage of rest whenever you can get it. Consider taking turns with your partner—one of you can sleep in while the other gets up with the baby.
3 Ask for help.
Don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own. If you have family or friends nearby who can offer assistance, ask them. Chances are, they’d love to help.
4 Talk to other first-time parents.
You may feel like you’re the only new parents struggling, but there are plenty of other people going through the same thing. Reach out to other new parents, whether through friends or even a local support group. Facebook has some groups local to your area to connect you with parents nearby or for local service recommendation or general groups for that anonymous information inquiry. You can find sympathy and understanding, plus talking to people outside the house can be helpful.
5 Breastfeeding can be hard.
Sometimes breastfeeding doesn't come naturally, I know from personal experience. Definitely seek help if you want to breastfeed but are having trouble. I'd recommend contacting a Certified Lactation Consultant (a certified lactation counselor will have had less training)
6 Try and relax.
Babies, like animals, really do pick up on the energy around them. So if you get anxious and worried, the baby will pick on that energy and will be harder to settle. So take a few deep breaths, like you would if you were meditating, and slowly and calmly look at issue in front of you. Reassure yourself that you will find an answer whether it be calling the doctor's office, checking in with your parents or best friend for advice or by doing research on Google. You're a smart educated person, you've faced bigger challenges than this and there will be a way to find help or a solution out there. In the meantime your baby might be crying a little longer than you'd like, not sleeping enough, not (fill in the blank) enough. But remember, if they are breathing, crying or making noise, they are still alive and you will find a solution.