As fulfilling as raising a family can be, parenting is no walk in the park, especially for first-time parents. Self-care is one thing, but bearing the responsibility for another life can get overwhelming. However, fear not. Your journey will be exciting, with new milestones to achieve at every turn and new avenues to explore.
With the proper guidance, your journey will go smoothly. A little bit of fear, fatigue, self-doubt, and uncertainty are all expected, but regardless of all this, parenting is a remarkable venture.
Over time, parents gain experience and come to learn the dos and don’ts of good parenting, but the first few years can be a rollercoaster ride. It is a good idea to keep in touch with your experienced family members for guidance at every step.
The following tips will also help you out:
1. Expect the first year to be challenging
Having a baby will bring new hurdles; you must reschedule your life around the baby’s needs. You might not be able to hang out with friends as frequently, or it might not be possible to go on a shopping spree anymore. Just be prepared to make these adjustments. You aren’t responsible only for yourself anymore.
Don’t stress yourself out if you can’t get the hang of it immediately. Stress as first-time parents is natural. In addition to an inevitable change in routine, your baby’s health will be another primary concern. Newborns have an insufficiently developed immune system and fall ill frequently.
Keep in contact with your healthcare providers and look for severe symptoms that might indicate birth injury. If such a concern does arise, you can seek help from a Birth Injury Justice Center and seek legal compensation.
2. Look after yourself
Many mothers are inclined to prioritize others’ needs and keep themselves last; it is a natural human tendency, particularly regarding family. However, remember that if you take it too far, you put your own well-being at risk and, ultimately, everyone who depends on you. If you aren’t fit yourself, you can’t care for others effectively.
In fact, taking out time for yourself might benefit your children. Especially when your kids grow older, they don’t need you constantly hovering over them. Give yourself a break and spend some time alone; it will only yield positive results.
3. Be open to all the help you can get
As the famous saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Parents are not expected to be solely responsible for their kids; not alone. Families have played a significant role in raising children, and your situation is no different.
Don’t assume that it is terrible if you have to leave your child with your mother for some time or if you have to call in a babysitter repeatedly. It is okay if you need help; if others are willing to help, don’t close them off.
Research has proven that newborns with strong support from families have a lifespan of enhanced resilience in the face of adversities. Such a support system can help you with advice, emotional support, emergency babysitting, emergency household tasks, grocery, etc.
Reach out to your friends, colleagues, neighbors, teachers, mentors, family, and community. It is also a good idea to talk to a mental health specialist who can guide you through the challenges that come with childbirth.
4. Fix your bedtime routine
When a newborn enters your life, it becomes pretty challenging to figure out a good sleep routine that meets your needs. It is no secret that babies have disturbed sleep schedules; one minute, they might be sound asleep and the next, crying their lungs out. Making a baby adopt a fixed sleep schedule is difficult, but it is not impossible.
Just stick to a routine and don’t deviate; your baby will adopt it very soon, perhaps over the first few months, and their sleep schedule will become more predictable. You will quickly learn that babies and toddlers thrive off a consistent routine.
5. Avoid comparing at all costs
Every child is unique, and every household has a different style; comparison will never yield any benefit. In fact, comparing will only lower your self-esteem, make you second-guess yourself, doubt your abilities, and transfer these feelings to your kid.
Your circumstances are unique, so you must focus on raising your child in the best possible way. Don’t get involved in others’ lives; steer clear of using social media activities to learn how other parents are doing. Compare your child’s progress only with their previous performance; no one else’s.
Never compare your child’s abilities to others. Every kid has their own interests, unique skills, and different personalities, and they develop at their own pace.
6. Nap whenever you can
No amount of sleep is enough when you have a baby to look after. Parents usually only get a good sleep when the baby sleeps. It is practically impossible to sleep when they’re awake. After a tiring day of childcare and work, it sure sounds tempting to binge-watch your favorite show alone. However, you won’t get a better time to sleep.
Avail every opportunity you get to nap. Even the household chores can wait. Sleep must be a priority; with insufficient sleep, you cannot perform to the best of your ability.
7. Spend time outside the house
Staying homebound with a newborn can be pretty stressful for your mental health and make you feel trapped. This holds true for both you and your kid. Outdoor activity and occasional exposure to sunlight will benefit both you and your child.
Infants experience new sensations, sights, sounds, textures, and smells outdoors. This provides an excellent learning opportunity. Going outdoors is also essential, so one gets sufficient vitamin D.
Exposure to sunlight also plays a role in maintaining melatonin levels (a sleep hormone) in the body; a study conducted in 2004 revealed that babies who received sufficient sunlight in the early afternoon slept better at night than those who didn’t.
Parenting is, without a doubt, stressful. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as perfectly as expected. Remember to expect hardship, look after yourself, be receptive to help, have a fixed sleep schedule, nap whenever you can, and spend some time outdoors. Parenting doesn’t have to be as hard as everyone makes it out to be.