After months of waiting and preparation, you’re finally home with a new addition to your family! This is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be so overwhelming, especially if this is your first child.
Well, we’re here to help. We’ve put together some basic tips for new parents to help you manage this wonderful change in your lives!
1. Cut yourself some slack.
If you’re like most first-time parents, you’ve done your research. You’ve read the books and blogs, filled a Pinterest board with parenting ideas, and asked your parents for their advice. But getting used to a newborn baby in your home is often something else entirely.
The most important thing you can do as a new parent is to give yourself a break. You’re not going to do everything perfectly. You’re still learning! Most parents will tell you they’re still learning by the third or fourth kid as well. Parenthood is a crazy, exhausting adventure, and you will definitely make mistakes or not have time to do all the fun activities you’d planned to do with your child. That’s okay! Just focus on loving and taking care of this precious little baby you’ve brought into the world.
2. Catch snoozing time whenever you can.
How many parent friends have told you to “sleep when the baby does”? Probably a lot! You’re definitely going to miss those nights of uninterrupted sleep that you took for granted pre-baby. Take a nap when you can get one, and consider taking turns with your partner so you can both get some decent sleep every once in a while.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
So often, we take pride in doing things on our own and feel that seeking help from others—even friends and family—is a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth! The saying is “It takes a village to raise a child” for a reason. If you have family members nearby who are willing to help, take advantage! Your parents or siblings may not offer because they don’t want to infringe on your time with baby, but if you need help, ask. Chances are, they’d love to be a bigger part of your little one’s life!
4. Chat with other new parents.
Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you may think you’re the only new parents having a hard time, but there are many other people struggling just like you. Adapting your life to take care of a baby is a challenge! Talk to other new parents, whether friends, family members, or neighbors. They’ll be most likely to understand your concerns, plus it’ll give you much-needed time to talk to other adults.
5. Set boundaries.
Since this is your first child, your family and friends will be understandably excited. They’ll want to come visit, see the baby, and chat with you. What they may not realize is how exhausted and overwhelmed you are—and how much you may crave moments of quiet, instead of constant conversation.
If you’re not feeling up to hosting company, just say so. Your life has undergone a huge change, and you need time to get used to it. Don’t be afraid to tell potential visitors that now just isn’t a good time for you.
6. Get some fresh air.
Spending time at home with your new child is wonderful, but most new parents definitely need some time out of the house. You may not be able to go far, but even a walk around the block can ease stress and lift your spirits. As an added bonus, exposure to natural light is also good for your little one, as it can help infants develop regular sleep patterns.
7. Don’t make it a competition.
When it comes to taking care of a newborn, it can be so helpful to have a partner to take turns with. But don’t start keeping score! Just try to be understanding of each other’s needs and limits, and help out however and whenever you can.
8. Trust your instincts.
Every parent and every child are unique, and you have to decide what’s best for your family. It can be easy to second-guess every move you make as a new parent, but try to trust your gut and do what you feel is best for the care of your little one. Plus, the more you learn, the better you’ll feel. You may even want to do this all again someday!