Top Tips that Can Save Your Sanity As A New Parent

Wednesday, May 8, 2024


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When you become a parent, it seems like the world and its dogs have an opinion on how you should parent, what is the best way to parent, and what you should and shouldn't be doing. Amidst all of this noise, you're likely treading water wondering if you're doing the right things, how such seemingly good advice can be so contradictory, and if you're actually going to get a good night's sleep anytime soon.

However, becoming a parent can be one of your life's most rewarding and amazing experiences, even if you don't know what you're doing because, spoiler alert, no one really knows what they're doing. Despite all the childcare experts, the experienced parents, and the moms who look like they have everything under control, no one really understands this game called parenting, and very rarely does any parent think they're doing a good job when they're in the thick of it.

So whether you're in the early throes of newborn life or you're battling your way through a hefty bout of sleep regression, this post can help you see the light, save your sanity as a new parent, and hopefully have some helpful tips to stay in control, shake off that stress, and appreciate that you really are doing an amazing job.

Take A Deep Breath

If you're reading this after a particularly sleepless night, or you're holding a baby who won't nurse or just wants to be held, stop and take a deep breath. Relax those shoulders and close your eyes while you inhale slowly and exhale even slower. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques tell your sympathetic nervous system you're not in danger and everything is ok. If you feel stressed or you've entered fight or flight mode, stopping and taking a deep breath can help you tell your brain you're fine, it gets more oxygen to the brain and will help you think more clearly. 

Accept the Help

You do not need to and should not do everything alone if you have help on hand. Not all new parents, especially single parents, have the luxury of being offered help, and if this is the case, it can make those hard times seem impossible. But if people surrounding you offer help, you need to accept it.

You might not accept it at face value and require the help they give to be tweaked to suit you. If so, don't be afraid of asking for what you need not what they’re offering, and definitely don't be too stubborn to take it. It might be that mom-in-law wants to snuggle up to her new grandbaby, and you might not feel up to visitors; in this case, use this time to sneak off to another room and take a nap, grab a hot drink in peace, or anything else that helps you to unwind and relax. Take the offers of cooked meals, and don't be too house-proud to have people help you clean up if the offer is there. You might not want a lot of help all the time, but parenting a new baby at any age can be challenging and relentless, and from time to time, you will need the help; but do so on your terms so it benefits you and baby, not the person who offers and their agenda.

Get Outside

Being cooped up in your home can make your life seem like it only exists for a baby's needs and you are somehow limited. Getting outside and getting some fresh air can help you to think more clearly, and the sunlight on your face and the gentle breeze can be all you need to help you relax for a minute. Whether you sit in the garden for 10 minutes, take a walk, meet friends, or go on a playdate, make sure you aim to get outside as much as possible, even if you're not going anywhere. This can be the perfect remedy for parents who feel like they're going stir-crazy from being at home.

Trust Your Instincts

Something a lot of new parents say is that they feel they don't have good instincts or they aren't in tune with what their baby needs. This is a common worry many parents have, and it's entirely natural to worry that you won't be an intuitive parent and know what your baby wants or needs.

But you need to trust yourself. The fact that you want to do right by your baby means that you already have that protective instinct, and even if you don't have it all figured out, you want to help your baby, which is amazing in and of itself. So if you feel like you're not a good parent or you can't figure out what your baby wants or needs, remember you are most likely what they need, and if your gut is telling you they need more, then listen to it and don't allow people to tell you're a neurotic first-time parent regardless of the issue.

Babies Get Sick, It's Normal

It's not nice watching your baby get sick, whether they are a week old or 9 months old; you want it to protect them and make the heirs healthy. But the reality is that babies do get sick from time to time; it's natural, and it's part of their bodies learning to adapt to the world and their immune systems being built.

In fact, babies and toddlers and children right the way through their early life will likely be sick more often than not. Whether it's common bugs such as colds, viruses, sickness bugs, or other health conditions, there will be many items when you need acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help you control baby pain and symptoms of discomfort. It can be helpful to gather some hopeful items in a first aid kit to help you in times like this. A Nozebot On The Go can be ideal for congested babies so you can clear their airways and help them breathe a little easier; ice packs and frozen teething toys can be extremely useful for teething, as can cold washcloths for them to bite on. Talk to your doctor and other parents to help you get together a practical and useful baby first aid kit for those times when they're not feeling themselves. But remember, this is normal and you’re doing amazing.

Babies Develop At Different Rates

One massive cause of stress and anxiety for new parents is babies not reaching milestones or competitive parents boasting about how advanced tiger babies are. Remember, most of this is just talk and bravado. While some babies hit milestones ahead of time, some hit them bang on time, and others like to take their sweet time. Babies are not programs that are designed to do certain things at certain times, and developmental guidelines should be used as a guide and in context with your baby.

For example, if you have concerns about a few different things your baby does not appear to be able to do yet despite reaching the recommended age, talking to your doctor can help you ascertain if you need to be worried. But, if your baby has reached all of their milestones and is not walking by 12 months, giving them a little bit longer to find their feet is probably all they need. Do not let others pressure you into thinking something is wrong with your baby for not doing everything on time. Simply continue to enjoy and encourage them, don't get bogged down in what they can't do, and celebrate what they can do.

Self-Care for Parents, Not Just Babies

You matter too; it isn't always all about the baby, despite how it might feel; it's about you and how you feel and how you're coping. Self-care isn't selfish, especially when you are a new parent. It's essential. You need to make sure you're taking the time to do what you need to help you cope with the demands of parenting and ensure that you have everything you need to be able to give to your baby. If you aren't feeling your best, the baby will sense this, and you will essentially pour from an empty cup and we all know what happens here. Nothing comes out no matter how much you want it to.

It can be taking a hot bath while someone watches your baby, sleeping when they sleep, eating nutritious foods, meditating, talking to friends, or even doom scrolling on social media if that helps take your mind off things. But you need to not neglect yourself in the pursuit of being the best parent possible. Because the best parents also take the time to look at what they need and give themselves care and attention too. Even if it's just for 5 minutes, stop, eat the damn candy bar, enjoy your hot food, or just stand in the shower for no reason other than to enjoy being alone as the hot water runs down your body. Do what you need to do, and do not feel guilty about taking this time.

Being a new parent isn’t easy and is likely one of the most stressful things you will do. But these tips are designed to help you remember that you need care and attention as a parent too and despite how it might feel, you are doing a good job, and you can save your sanity while raising your child.

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