This excellent post has been written by Mim, from lovefrommim.com, a lovely blogger! Mim is a married mother of two children, from the UK and now living in Australia. An advocate of hypnobirthing, positive thinking and laughing at herself, she is pretty much making up parenting as she goes along! Mim founded lovefrommim.com in 2013 during her first maternity leave and it is a place for parenting, pregnancy, travel and home ideas and inspiration. Over to Mim…
One of my biggest worries before I had my first child was how on Earth my husband and I would get on when we brought the baby home from the hospital. Neither of us had ever really even baby sat for a child, let alone a baby! Mr M hadn’t even changed a nappy. I’d changed one. The mum quickly redid it! We were a little…scared to say the least.
Would we have everything we needed? And was our little house even baby-friendly? I wasn’t quite sure how to pick up a baby. Would I drop it?!
I’m a planner, so I decided to start researching and get things as organised as I possible could and we slowly started accumulating the things we would need for the baby. Where it would sleep, clothes, blanket, the usual. The birth plan was written up, the house was ready, along came the baby and our new family life began!
We had very little support in the early days so had to find our feet quite quickly so I’ve put together my 5 tips to adapting to life with a newborn baby and I hope they are of help to other first time parents:
Consider all offers of help
We were offered a lot of help from friends in the early days (I had moved overseas and had no nearby family) but we didn’t take very much of it. In hindsight, I think we were too proud and thought we could manage on our own.
I’d do things differently if I had my time again. I would accept all offers of help to bring round prepared meals, help with cleaning, shopping, taking the baby for a walk while I had a nap or caught up on chores/email/phone calls.
I remember one day, being more sleep deprived than I ever had before, begging a friend to come round and take my baby for a walk for an hour so I could get some sleep. Even ten minutes! I think I got those ten and I felt so much better for it, so much more refreshed and ready to go another round!
Develop a team plan
If you’re in a couple, you can spend the first few weeks and months finding out what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are and playing to them in your approach to parenthood.
Perhaps one of you is better at the night shift? Maybe one has a knack for getting the baby to sleep. Or cooking up a quick meal, keeping on top of the chores, giving the other parent a shoulder rub to ease away the day!
Lean on each other, talk to each other about your day, your fears and what each other is doing well or where you need more support. You’re in this together and when sleep deprivation sets in, arguments can start in a flash. Accept that will happen but be quick to apologise, forgive and move on. Support each other as much as you possibly can. You’re a team.
Look into finding a local Parent Groups
As a first time mum, struggling to get any sleep and get organised, it took me weeks before I finally signed up for my local Mums and Babies’ group but my word, it was the best thing I ever did!
There I sat in a circle of equally shattered mums who were questioning theirs and their baby’s every move and wondering how much they were doing wrong. It was wonderful to be able to meet up weekly and quickly realise that we all had the same issues, the same worries and fears but we were all doing OK. We were getting through it, our babies were thriving and happy.
Soon the doubts faded away and we became the closest of friends, experiencing the same wonders of early parenthood together.
Ask at your hospital or your Health Visitor to see what groups are available to you locally. If you don’t bond with the first group you find, keep looking. There will be local parents to you who will be looking for the same support and friendship you are and those friendships can last a life time.
Listen to advice but trust your gut instinct
Wherever you turn as a new parent, someone will be coming at you with advice – welcomed or not.
I’d always recommend listening to the advice of the people you trust, you can learn so much and try things that have worked for other parents and then find your own groove.
At the end of the day though, you are the baby’s parent and you know what is best for them, so don’t be afraid to trust your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to tell others when their advice might not be needed. What worked for their baby might work for yours but it might not – they’re all different.
Be kind to yourself
Finally, give yourself a break. Parenthood is a tough gig – possibly the toughest you will ever have to face.
If your baby is well fed, gets some sleep and you’re on top of changing nappies, you’re on to a very good start and the rest will follow.
If you are getting ANY sleep and food – even better!
Do you have any tips to adapting to life with a newborn bay for new parents?
Anything you would have done differently?