Finding Time for Your Needs: Tips for New Parents
New parents often feel that they must sacrifice everything for their child; they have been preparing for months to take care of the baby, to nurture and help him grow to be healthy and strong, and once he arrives, it’s extremely difficult to cope with the juxtaposition of their old life with the new. Knowing that your life will change and then actually living through the change are two very different things, and often, new moms and dads are often surprised by how hard the transition is. This can lead to depression, stress, anxiety, and a lack of coping skills, all of which can contribute to a new parent’s inability to sleep or enjoy their time with the new baby. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help yourself ease into this new phase in your life. Practicing self-care is extremely important during this time, as it will help you feel more like yourself during a period when you need to be at your best. Getting enough sleep and taking time for yourself may sound like a dream, but any parent can do it.
Get Some Help
It’s imperative to keep in mind that no one can do everything by themselves. Even if you have a spouse or partner to help with the baby, it can be overwhelming at times to keep up with your normal routine while also caring for a newborn. This is why it’s imperative to ask for help, and sometimes that means hiring someone to do the job. For example, if cleaning the house is too much for you to take on, consider bringing someone in to assist. Not having to worry about those chores will help you focus more on your child, and it can be very affordable; most homeowners spend between $100 and $200 for routine house cleanings.
Sleep When He Sleeps You may have read this tip before, and you may also think that it’s just too hard to pass up those quiet hours when you want to clean the house, sit with a good book, or catch up on your Netflix queue. However, when you’re sleep deprived (and just about all parents are), it’s important to get some rest whenever you can. Even if you just lay down and rest for a little while, you’ll be doing your body and mind a world of good.
Create a Routine One thing that can really throw a new parent off is a lack of consistency. Every baby is different, and some have a hard time getting a routine down when it comes to sleeping and eating, This is normal, but it can sure throw your schedule out of whack and leave you feeling exhausted and cranky. Getting your little one on a routine can be tricky, but with a little perseverance, you can help him get on track. Keep in mind that restless sleepers often enjoy the sensation of motion while they sleep, so strap him into the stroller and go for a walk. The fresh air and movement will help tire him out for a good nap (and it will do you some good, too).
Eat! Many new parents find that they are thinner than ever during the first few months that their child is home, and while breastfeeding moms burn a lot of calories, there’s another explanation: they simply forget to eat! During the first few weeks that your child is home, you’re all getting used to each other and trying to find a schedule that will allow you to rest your exhausted body and mind, so it’s no wonder you let a few meals go. Also, some parents get caught up in trying to remember everything they have to do that they save dinner for last — then realize they’re too tired to eat. Make time for yourself! Sit down with a meal, even if it’s just soup and a grilled cheese, and don’t do anything else during that time. You’ll thank yourself later.
Finding time for self-care as a new parent can be extremely difficult, and many moms and dads find they feel guilty or selfish for doing so. Don’t let those feelings fool you! You deserve to take care of yourself; otherwise, how will you be the best parent you can be?
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