Having an adorable stranger take over your life may make you feel like that’s all you’ve been waiting for. But, as you progress into the first couple of months, you’ll realize there’s more to parenting than the cutesy little fingers wrapped around yours.
You’re looking at days of sleeplessness and recovery. Postpartum depression becomes a stark reality. Your needs come last, or so it feels. Add to that the challenge of trying to find time for your relationship with your spouse and keep up with your work. Too much to handle, right?
But all this is worth it when your little one finally falls asleep in your arms. And you’ll find ways to stay strong and cope with the hard times.
So, while emotions are running high, we’ve got you a quick guide on setting yourself up for a happy and healthy postpartum period.
- Observe Your Child for Signs of Distress
Children can be rather fussy after birth. They may experience crying jags or display symptoms of colic. Therefore, you must always keep an eye out for distress. It becomes all the more important if your child has sustained birth injuries during delivery.
Conditions like Cerebral Palsy and congenital heart defects may need more attention and care.
Two things you can do to ensure your child’s well-being are:
- Educate yourself on the condition. Resources like www.childbirthinjuries.com are a great starting point if you want to learn about conditions varying from newborn jaundice to Cerebral Palsy.
- Closely monitor your child’s condition and consult your doctor immediately if you notice anything unusual.
- Analyze Your Priorities
Even if your family believes you have superpowers, you only have two hands. So, you can only get so much done.
With a newborn in the house, taking stock of your priorities is essential. It means identifying what to focus on and what can wait until later. It includes daily chores like cooking, cleaning, and, more importantly, spending quality time with your partner.
To make this process easier, create a schedule outlining how you’ll spend your time each day and week. Since your baby needs the most attention in the first few months, you must focus on feeding time and diaper changes.
- Batch Cook When Pregnant
Your post-birth bone-weary self will applaud you for how efficient and active you were during pregnancy. It’ll mean a well-stocked freezer filled with healthy meals for when you’re too tired to cook.
To do this, start by doing a little meal prep before your baby arrives. You can:
- Shred the cheese and cut the veggies
- Cook big batches of foods that you can freeze and reheat later. Some great options are stews, soups, and casseroles.
- Blend the essentials like garlic and spinach, which you can use in multiple recipes. Tomato puree and chilli paste also work great for this.
You can supplement your pantry with healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. These will be handy when you’re in a rush or don’t feel like cooking.
- Prioritise Sleep
You’re doing a million things all at once, so it’s possible to get swept up in the newness of parenthood. But one thing you shouldn’t skimp on is sleep.
Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue and lethargy, making it more challenging to care for your baby and yourself.
To prioritise sleep, set a regular bedtime for yourself and stick to it as much as possible. It might be challenging to adjust the baby’s schedule to your own, but it’ll pay in the long run.
If you can’t sleep well at night, try to nap during the day. Even just a 20-minute power nap can make a big difference. Maybe you can have your spouse or partner take an afternoon off to mind the baby while you catch some Zs.
- Make Lists a Part of Life
‘Mommy brain’ is no joke. During pregnancy, your brain’s grey area decreases by 25%. It makes it hard for you to retain information for longer. Plus, you’re usually running on little to no sleep, and your attention is constantly being pulled in multiple directions. It can all be a little overwhelming.
To help manage the chaos, make lists a part of your daily life. It can include to-do lists, meal-planning lists, or even a packing list for your upcoming trip. It’ll help you feel more organized. Not to mention no more blunders with running out of diapers and forgetting to pick up your prescription.
- Meditate When you Can
Allowing your mind to relax and unwind is essential to managing stress. In addition, it can help you cope with sleeplessness, hormonal changes, and the emotional rollercoaster that is parenthood.
The best time to meditate is when you feel overwhelmed or anxious about something. Sit somewhere quiet and focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out, relaxing your body as you inhale. Visualize your stress and anxiety floating away with each exhale. Repeat the process until you feel more at ease.
Other mind relaxation techniques include listening to calming music or taking a warm bath. Whatever works for you, make sure you take time out of your day to reconnect with yourself.
- Meet Other Parents
As a new parent, you can use all the support you can get. One great way to find support is to meet other parents in your community. Join a local mommy-and-baby group or a parenting class and make new friends who understand your struggles and joys of parenthood. It can be an excellent source of advice and information on everything from breastfeeding to sleep training.
An underappreciated benefit is that your child will learn social skills and develop a strong sense of community from spending time with other kids. Play dates and group activities will allow your child to make new friends and explore their surroundings.
Remember that parenting is a learning process. There’s no single rulebook or formula for raising a healthy and happy child. But with the right strategies, you can adjust to life with your new baby and ace parenthood.
However, as a parent, remember to take care of yourself. Unless you’re well rested and stress-free, you won’t be able to provide your child with the care and attention they need. So leash the mom guilt, prioritize your sleep and well-being, and make time for yourself when you can. In doing so, you’ll be able to adjust to life with your new baby. Good luck!