You and your spouse have made it through pregnancy, labor and delivery, or maybe you recently adopted a baby. You’ve finally brought your bundle of joy home and your whole life has changed – now what?
Adjusting to new parenthood is a process, so it’s normal if everything isn’t suddenly smooth sailing. Be patient with yourself, your partner and your precious baby because you are all getting accustomed to a new life together!
What to Expect
From birth to age 1, your baby needs to be held, fed and changed. These duties can seem to constantly demand your attention, but each is an opportunity for your little one to develop the brain-wired belief that “I can trust my needs are being met! I am loved and supported!” The more you offer a tender and loving presence during infant development, the more that belief is wired into your baby’s brain.
The balance of developing your new parenting skills, caring for your child and still trying to accomplish daily tasks can often feel overwhelming. However, there are simple ways to help your family adapt to the changes in your rhythm and routine.
Tips for Adjusting to Parenthood
Here are some parenting tips on how to make the adjustment to this new lifestyle go as smoothly as possible:
- Share in the duties: While your baby definitely needs to feel, see, smell and hear his Mama, he can also be nurtured by Daddy, Grandma and other loving adults. This will give Mama a chance to sleep, shower, eat and tend to her own needs.
- Request prepared meals from friends: Friends and neighbors always want to know how they can help. Spread the word that loved ones can prepare and deliver meals so you and your partner have easy access to good, healthy food.
- Set up a sitter: Establish a habit of going out just you and your spouse early on. Maybe you have a social night once each week or even once a month. Leave your baby in the care of a trusted sitter or family member for a couple of hours and have dinner or see a movie. Preserving this one-on-one time together is important for your relationship. Breast-feeding? Nurse just before leaving the house. Tight budget? Trade babysitting duties with a neighbor or invite Grandma over.
- Use baskets and bins: Temporarily discard the desire to perfectly organize your home. Opt for baskets and bins to sort and toss bibs, toys, magazines, mail and other things that tend to turn into clutter. This system will help you know where things are and keep them somewhat out of plain sight while not bogging you down with time-consuming, detailed housekeeping and organization.
- Treasure snuggle time: When it is time for feeding, diaper changing or soothing, be 100 percent present with your baby because these moments of bonding are priceless. Before you know it, he will be running around on the soccer field or packing for college! Use these daily tasks to take advantage of some extra bonding and snuggling time.
Being a new parent is challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. Try to cherish the moments in your new routine! Welcoming your second child? Check out these tips from a dad of two.