Tips For New Parents?
Are tips needed? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this if they weren’t.
I mean, if you can think of anything that trumps becoming a new parent in terms of most life-altering events, let me know?
Is there anyone who doesn’t feel a bit shell shocked the first time round?
Going from being free, able to go here and there whenever you want, living a life of no cares in the world.
To all of a sudden, there’s a baby. And that baby is yours.
A new parent support program wouldn’t be a bad idea, it seems!
I remember the feeling of “Oh my god, we’re parents” so vividly when we walked in our front door with our baby boy two years ago.
We’d stopped for KFC on the way home. I can still recall the tug of my stitches as I kept turning round every 30 seconds to check he was breathing.
It was dark, late at night in January 2019, pissing down with rain, and I can’t tell you how much I wished I’d eaten more carrots as a child so I could see him properly.
Needless to say he was there, in his glorious baby sleep, tucked up in a bundle in his car seat with his little blue snowsuit lined with fur fabric, fur tips flashing from the street lamps as we drove.
We plopped him on the kitchen table as we walked in, super casual. He was here at last! In his home, with mummy and daddy. We were finally together as a family.
And we just sat there, chomping on KFC, staring at our new baby. That’s what’s called a real change. Right there and then.
God knows how long we gazed at him for. I can’t remember who spoke first.
Giving birth and raising, feeding, loving and nurturing children is a massive jumble of things, which nothing can prepare you for. The experience of it is everything.
We’d taken every parent education class under the sun to try and prepare. Read books on how to thrive in the first weeks and excel in the new role of being a parent.
Family life has made me happier than I ever imagined, but there’s also been new challenges, long days and the lack of sleep (it sucks). I won’t lie.
And yet, the commitment I have to my children to be the best mother, to be there for them for the rest of their life regardless of what happens, is obviously a huge thing, which also wreaks havoc on my nervous system!
So in this post, I wish to share some advice that I wish someone had shared with me.
This is sound advice and will help your confidence and self-esteem in the early weeks after having a baby.
The first piece of advice I’ll give to new parents is RELAX. Well and truly.
Sleep deprivation is no joke so sleep when the baby is sleeping.
Forget the housework and chores. Sleep sleep sleep.
Use these early days to bond with your newborn baby. Stay in bed. Watch movies. Cuddle, smell, nuzzle, sleep. And repeat. This is the general rule.
Above all, relax, try your hardest to chill out. It’s OK to tell people not to call round or to ask if they can come another time.
You need space and time to bond with your baby and adjust to the new circumstances.
Family and friends want to meet the new baby, of course, but they will understand to do so once you’re feeling brighter and more settled.
Ask for Help and Take Help Offered
The second piece of advice is to take extra help offered to you. If nothing is offered, ask for it! I know, pride takes over, but help is always available when you allow yourself to receive it.
I was so grateful for the offering of home cooked foods and boxes of chocolate when we were in the newborn phase from family members, neighbours and home visitors.
Their hard work meant I didn’t have to do as much. I enjoyed hot mugs of tea brewed for me, homemade soups, and spent the first week in bed snuggling with our newborn.
The newborn phase goes so quickly. Spend it wisely – cuddling, sleeping, and nourishing yourself and your baby.
Be Your Own Best Friend
The last crucial piece of advice I’ll give you is to be your own cheerleader.
It’s too easy to slip into a low mood in the early days because it’s all very new, you’re bleeding, you feel fat, there’s sleepless nights, constant newborn care, and other challenges unknown to none parents.
Put it all to one side and focus on connecting with your beautiful baby.
Just snuggle up at home. And drink copious amounts of coffee from where it’s offered.
It does change your life, having a baby, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. It has to be because looking after babies and young children is full on.
I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare you for it, and perhaps that’s the crux of it all. How do you prepare to change your life like that?
This must be why everyone who’s been there says “You adapt”. Yes, you do adapt, but it’d be great if you could have some prep beforehand.
Do go to parent education classes if you can, they helped us.
And trust yourself. If you’re unsure of anything, ASK.
You’re got this, by the way. Enjoy it, take it easy, and cuddle, cuddle, cuddle as much as you can (baby, and yourself!)
As always, you’ve got this! Sending a huge hug and congratulations on your new arrival x