Have you recently become a first-time parent or had an addition to your family?
When we had our first child, I thought that transition from being married to having a child was quite intense! While I wanted to be a mother more than anything, the challenges that came with our beautiful bundle caught me a little off guard! Can you relate?
I figured it would not be that big of a deal. After all, I am the youngest of six kids and helped with my nieces and nephews from the day they were born! Plus, my husband and I were both educated and had good jobs and were in a stable situation! We were ready! Ha! Ha!
I remember that drive home from the hospital and my husband was driving very slowly and I wondered what he was doing! I could see the focus in his eyes as he made sure no one came too close to our car! Maybe you can remember what those first few days were like!
I loved holding my son for hours and having him sleep in my arms or on my chest. I have to say, there is not much better feeling than that! Unfortunately, It was not long after we brought him home before I felt overwhelmed and was full of questions.
This roller coaster of emotions is quite normal and I have learned it is a part of doing something we have never done before! But that uncertainty that comes with a new baby can be tough to work through. As a first-time parent just accepting and acknowledging your feelings will go a long way to help you in the years to come. Here are some tips to help with the transition:
- Have meals ready in the freezer so that you don’t have to take time to prep food.
- Keep healthy food available – fruits, vegetables, nuts
- Drink water – tons of it! Especially if you are breastfeeding – it will help with your supply. At least half of your body weight!
- Ask for help – cleaning, meal prep, grocery store run or even caring for the baby
- Talk with your spouse. Share this new role as parents. Don’t feel like everything has to be done your way.
- If you have multiple levels of your home, consider making a changing station on the main floor.
- If this is your second or third child, consider keeping the routine normal for the first child as they will be in transition as well.
- Try to carve out some special time with the oldest child each day.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. I know you have heard it before, but… really do it!
- Take time for outdoors or reading a book or talking with a friend.
- Let go of expectations of how you thought parenting was going to be. Your level of control has just diminished significantly!
- Find ways to deal with having more stuff and everything taking longer than you think it should!
- Practice mindfulness – be present with your baby. Put down your phone and just enjoy every stage they are in!
You may find that you cry more, get annoyed easily, or feel anxious or are extra sensitive. Those feelings are quite normal postpartum blues. However, about one or two out of every ten postpartum women have emotional symptoms that are much stronger than postpartum blues. These symptoms can start in the first few days or anytime in the first year. If you feel depressed for more than two weeks, you may have postpartum depression and I encourage you to seek support. Please be aware that Dads can also experience postpartum depression and may need external support.
The transition to parenthood is an amazing adventure that will change your life forever! Enjoy the ride by taking time to breathe, laugh and being present with your child.
They say the days are long, but the years go quickly, and they sure do!