Congratulations on becoming new parents! The journey ahead is going to be quite a ride filled with both magical and stressful moments. With that in mind, we have put together a survival guide of tips and tricks to help you cope with the challenges of parenthood. Whether you are a new mom or dad, grandparent, or guardian, this guide will provide some valuable insights on how to deal with sleep deprivation, stress, and other challenges that come with the most important job you will ever have.
- Sleep Deprivation. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest challenges that new parents face. When your baby arrives, your sleep schedule gets completely thrown off balance. There are a few ways to make the most out of this situation. First, try taking power naps throughout the day when your baby is asleep. Second, adjust your sleeping schedule to go to bed earlier so you can get more rest. In the end, the important thing is to try and get as much sleep as possible.
- Stress. There's no denying that being a new parent can be stressful. Here are some things you can do to alleviate those feelings. Take some time for yourself to relax and do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bath, or watching your favorite TV show, make sure you find some time for yourself. Even small snippets of time go a long way. There are some great apps out there with guided (short) meditations that can help you turn your mind off, research has shown even 5 minutes a day of mental relaxation has many benefits. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family members. Having someone to talk to and relate to can help ease your stress levels immensely.
- Baby Blues. It is generally normal for new parents to experience the baby blues. This may involve feelings of sadness, anger, irritability, or anxiety or just feeling generally overwhelmed. It may help to talk to your partner or a trusted friend about how you are feeling. Support groups and chat forums can also be very helpful for new parents who are experiencing the baby blues. If what you’re feeling seems much deeper and darker than being blue and overwhelmed, speak to a mental help professional. Pregnancy really throws a woman’s hormones off balance and it’s normal to feel depressed, but if you identify these feelings, get help before they get out of hand.
- Feeding your Baby. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby, feeding your little one can be difficult. For breastfeeding moms, make sure you have a strong support team such as a lactation consultant, a nursing pillow, and comfy clothing to make the process easier. For bottle-feeding, make sure you have all the supplies you need, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different bottles or nipples to find what works best for your baby. Prepare bottles ready to go ahead of schedule so you’re not fumbling when it’s feeding time.
- Personal Time. One of the biggest adjustments for new parents is learning how to balance your time with your baby and personal time for yourself. It’s important to set aside some alone time to destress and recharge. This can be anything from a date night with your partner, a trip to the gym, or a walk in nature. Remember, taking some time for yourself will not only benefit you physically but mentally too.
- Task Aps. There are great apps and gadgets out there to helps us get organized and keep the household moving while much of your attention is going toward your new baby. We found a handy resourced offered by The Local Moms Network: 6 Task and Time Management Aps for New Moms.
- Meal Prep. Nothing is more stressful than having to figure out and cook meals for the family when you have a new baby to care for. We know how much falls on us moms, so don’t be afraid to ask your partner, friends and family for help but also look into meal prepping for the family. If you can manage to set aside a couple of hours on a Sunday, you can prepare and freeze easy meals for the whole week, removing that daily stress can help you maintain your sanity.
Being a new parent certainly has its challenges, but with these tips and tricks, we hope you can tackle them head-on. From taking power naps and setting aside personal time to talking openly about the baby blues, we hope this survival guide helps you navigate through the challenges of becoming a new parent. Remember, being a parent is a journey filled with ups and downs, but with a little bit of patience, love, and a lot of coffee, you’ve got this!