Adjusting to life with a new baby is not easy. So much has changed - your family, your schedule, your sleep patterns, your priorities... Here's some advice to help you get through it without losing your cool.
Many new parents express frustrations about all the changes they experience.
New moms often say:
- I miss the body I had before pregnancy.
- I've never been so tired in my life.
- I get upset when the baby cries and can't be soothed - the crying seems endless.
- I can't do the same things I did before the baby.
- I was so tired but I felt like I had to host all the visitors who came to meet the baby.
- Everyone has an opinion on how we should care for our child.
Parnters often say:
- I don't have any time for myself. I'm either working or helping take care of the baby.
- I feel inadequate when it comes to comforting my own child.
- I've never been so tired in my life. I just want one full night's rest.
- It seems like we never leave the house.
- I really miss having sex and my partner isn't as interested lately.
All these frustrations are natural. Caring for a new baby can be exhausting and sometimes, overwhelming. But it does get better. The most important thing is to stay calm, even when you're frustrated.
Here are some helpful hints from other new parents:
- Anytime I started to lose my temper I put the baby down somewhere safe and left the room until I calmed down.
- I realized how much I needed my sleep. I asked family members to take the baby out for a walk every day so I had time to nap.
- I'd plan a nap for the late afternoon, often during the baby's nap. That gave me more strength to handle my baby's nighttime needs.
- I talked to my partner about what the baby and I might need. He used to wait until I told him what to do. Now he knows what needs to be done.
- My partner and I talked about our feelings. We became very good at being frank about our needs.
- We planned our time together, just the two of us, at least once a week. Sometimes we'd go for a walk. We would ask a friend or family member to help out by watching the baby.
- We found it helpful to talk to a group of new parents. We met with our prenatal group to swap stories and advice. Realizing that most of them felt the same way we did was reassuring.
- When we found things were getting too difficult with the baby, we talked with the public health nurse. She told us about a parenting group that was really helpful.