Parenthood is one of the most life-changing experiences of life. And it’s quite unfortunate or fortunate, depending on whom you ask, that caring for babies does not come with a manual. So, most often than not, new parents play the game of trials and errors. But, with these few pointers, new parents have a higher chance of succeeding at parenthood without burning out.
Few tips to help you cope with the stress of parenthood:
1. Follow your gut
Know this and know peace—There will be lots of conflicting emotions on every topic, and that includes parenting. The best you can do as a new parent is to sift through them, choose those that are vital, and decide on what is best for you and your family.
What really guides a family is the parent’s priority and values rather than what well-meaning relatives or the internet have to offer.
2. Get back to socializing
If you have always been the socializing type, the need to socialize will come from time to time, but having a new baby can be time-consuming, and the thought of going out to socialize is left as is—a thought.
But what you might not be aware of is that having a moderate and responsible social life is good for your mental health. It is also a way to take a break from the full-time job of parenthood.
You can also try socializing with other parents. This will help you have people in common to share things with; especially, parental stories and experiences.
[Read: 6 Ways You Can Succeed as a Single Dad]
3. Bond with your child
Portraying happiness and joy in the presence of your baby is a way to show them love. Smile a lot, share eye contact with them, and communicate with them in different ways.
Enjoy every moment you spend with your baby and also take loads of pictures. This will help you relive those moments as time goes on. Children grow up quite fast; you will look back one day and be glad you had the opportunity to be with them while you were able to.
4. Ignore comparison
Every household has unique ways of doing things that include your extended family members, the next-door neighbor. They will all have contradicting tips on how you can cater to your newborn.
These tips have likely worked for them, but remember, you are not them and how you choose to take care of your family is solely your responsibility in the long run.
You can select which is good for you and ignore the rest, and you may even choose to discard it all. Cut yourself some slack when these tips don’t pan out okay. Because it worked for others doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.
5. Forgive yourself
We all make mistakes, and you are going make many. All and even the so-called experts have never agreed on the best ways to care for newborn babies.
When you think you have it all figured out, you get something new come out of the wood. The earlier you realize that baby needs change all the time, the better for you as a parent.
Give yourself room to learn and adapt; keep getting to know your baby and grow with them daily.
6. Take care of yourself
Having a new baby in the house is usually demanding and can really deplete your energy. The first few months are usually the longest, but it gets better.
New parents spend so much time caring for their newborns that they forget to take care of themselves. They are busy tackling tasks that they forget to eat properly or drink enough water.
Taking time to enjoy a simple and balanced meal may seem insignificant, but a healthy family depends solely on the health of the parents.
And don’t forget to sleep; sleeping helps you cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with caring for a new life. Even if it means having someone you trust to watch over your baby, make sure to get some deep sleep.
Sleep deprivation can bring about a lot of bad emotions and feelings. It heightens the feeling of aloneness, incompetency and causes serious accidents and ailments.
7. Ask and accept help
When you start feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to ask or pay for external help. You need and deserve every help you can get.
New parents are entitled to ask for help and accept the help offered if they feel the need to. For instance, someone might offer to cook you a meal; if you and your partner are okay with the offer, gladly accept.
If someone you trust offers to look after the baby for a while so that you can get a much-needed break, take it. Need someone to help with your laundry, ask for help.
A happy and healthy baby is a testament to how successful you are as a new parent. Here are a few pointers on how to succeed as new parents.
[Read: 6 Ways You Can Succeed as a Single Mom]
8 Ways to be Successful as a New Parent
1. Stimulate baby talk
The gestures and cooing sounds from your baby mean a lot because that is their only form of communication. Parents should pay attention to their baby’s every gesture and have real baby conversations. This form of attention helps their mental and emotional development.
2. Show unconditional love
Children are quite sensitive emotionally. They are very attentive to the kind of emotion we put on them. How you as parents connect with them has a huge impact on their self-esteem. This is why it is important that you do not choose when to love your children.
You have to love them even when they are on their worst behavior. Babies throw tantrums or fuss when they are hungry, tired, or bored. This can get frustrating to a new parent, but this should not make you love them less.
3. Read to your baby
Babies adapt to languages easily, and even though they cannot speak at 3months of age, they can pick out and distinguish sounds used from different languages.
Reading to your baby exposes them to new words and builds their language skills, and it also helps to build their interest in books.
4. Engage a healthy diet
Treat your child to healthy meals all the time because what a child eats to the age of three is very vital to their mental and physical development. Healthy diets like fruits, pasta, fish, grains, and so on can help raise your child’s IQ level in the long run.
5. Try physical activities together
The benefits of physical activities cannot be undervalued at any age, and that includes toddlers.
At 6months, they begin to support their body with their hands and feet, and as they age, they coordinate their movements from crawling to standing and then walking.
Throwing and kicking balls, riding a tricycle, stretching, or playing hide and seek are activities you can do with your kid to keep you both physically healthy, happy, and bonded.
6. Use casual teaching methods
Be it bathe time or laundry folding time; every moment is a great time for teaching and learning. Talk to your baby about what you are doing. Do some counting when sorting laundry or point out colors and separating them for your baby’s easy learning.
Making numerous faces is also a way to help them adapt to different emotional development in the long run.
7. Give them music
Music is a great art that speaks to everyone regardless of their age and background. Singing to your child while you hold them in your hand or make funny dance moves with them watching is very fun and educational for children. Singing lullabies or kiddy rhymes to your baby will guarantee fulfillment and happiness.
8. Avoid taking your anger out on your toddler
Adults get so frustrated about life that a single trigger can have the emotions rushing out like a falling stack of dominoes.
With new babies, the frustration can get heightened. If ever you feel this way, and you see yourself having bad thoughts like screaming, hitting, or saying hurtful words to your baby, reach out to another responsible adult to come to pick your baby ASAP.
Do not be tempted to hit or hurt your innocent child no matter how bad or angry you are at that point; instead, distract yourself with videos of your kids playing, laughing, and generally having fun. That way, you can calm down. If these thoughts keep coming back, it is advisable that you see a specialist.
Becoming a new parent can be extremely challenging, and you will be challenged like nothing ever has before.
If ever you see yourself unable to cope or overwhelmed, do not hesitate to seek out mental health professionals that cater to new parents.
Ignoring the signs may put your child and your mental health in jeopardy, and you might end up being unfit for parenting.
On that note, what are the hardest problems you’ve ever faced as a parent? Please write to this email: email@example.com with your brief responses.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash