The newborn stage is the hardest for many moms, can be fascinating and filled with new experiences and opportunities to learn about yourself and your little one. But it is also extremely challenging, especially in the first couple of weeks when you return from the hospital with your newborn in tow. Although there is an endless amount of material – such as self-help books, guides on parenting, and a steady stream of advice from friends, family, and well-wishers – the caretakers are the ones who are left to tend to the baby. Most people find that theoretical knowledge about how things ought to be does not necessarily prepare them for the way things pan out.
Some may say that pregnancy is a precursor to this, and they may be right. After all, many people have challenging pregnancies. But with all the advancements in technology and medicine, it does not require that a person go into survival mode until the baby is born. Most parents state that adapting to life with a baby is taxing and tiresome. Being entirely responsible for another being can take a huge toll, especially on the mother. However, there are some things that you must do guilt-free to ensure that you and your baby get through this period. Here are 5 survival tips for the early days of parenthood:
- Lean On Your Support System
Being responsible for a newborn can leave you feeling like you should do everything by yourself all the time to ensure that it is done exactly as you see fit. But this puts an unreasonable amount of pressure and expectations on yourself. In reality, you will need all the help and support you can get from your partner if you are to survive this period.
Many women go through rough pregnancies or have painful tears from childbirth that have to be stitched up. You will require time and rest to heal. And while you do, let your partner bond and take care of your baby. They are there to help you. Let them know how they can be involved. For example, they can bring you food when the baby is sleeping on you, burp the baby after feeding, or change diapers. There are a lot of places for them to step in so you can get some much-needed rest.
- Visitors Can Wait
During this rough adjustment period, you have enough to contend with without a flock of visitors butting in to inspect and comment on everything you do and should or shouldn’t be doing. Take time to take care of yourself. You are constantly hungry and sleepy, and so is your baby. It is okay to ask the eager visitors to wait a few weeks before they come by or keep the visits short. Grandparents can come coo at the baby and help out, but this need not be a long affair. There is no need for you to push yourself into being hospitable when you want to sleep. Take your time to recuperate and find your footing with your baby.
There is a lot of pressure and societal expectations new mothers have to contend with nowadays to “bounce back” from their pregnancy body. This is a cause of much stress and frustration when there are so many factors influencing the way your body looks and feels during this period. Don’t spend your time worrying about “getting your body back.
Your body is concerned with more important matters, like breastfeeding your newborn baby. You will be hungry all the time, and that is perfectly normal. Your survival instincts will kick in and make you eat larger quantities of food or foods you didn’t eat before your pregnancy, and that is okay too. Your body is simply trying to cater to the needs of your little one, such as supplying enough milk. Getting back into shape will happen gradually later on.
- Lean Into The Change
Meeting all the needs of your newborn can be overwhelming and chaotic. It is unlike anything you would have experienced before. As a result, you will find that keeping to your previous schedule will be impossible. It is safe to say that the first couple of weeks and months will see you revamping your daily routine to accommodate your baby. And because they need to be constantly fed and put down for naps, this means a lot of couch time. So it is best not to attempt traveling a lot or doing too much around this time. Instead, settle in and enjoy your little one. After all, they only stay little for so long!
- Disconnect Without Any Guilt
Going into survival mode to figure out your new life with your newborn may take weeks or months. Don’t apologize for taking time off to disconnect from the rest of the world and focusing on yourself and your baby. It is okay if you have not kept in touch with friends and family or done chores all day. You can always hire extra help and figure out your social life later. This is the time to worry only about keeping you and your baby healthy and happy. Use your time and energy on things that require them urgently, and let your partner take care of the rest.
Coming out of survival mode will happen gradually in stages. However, you will dive back in from time to time when your baby is ill or is teething and particularly fussy. This is not a weakness. It is your inner well of strength that enables you to look after your baby and your family.