When little ones come along, big changes happen. It’s an amazing adventure… but not always an easy ride. So here are our top tips for adjusting to your new situation.
Join a group
Support groups like the NCT play a vital part in those first few weeks and months of parenthood. Having a group of like-minded people who live nearby, and who are going through the same troubles and joys as you, can be both reassuring and liberating. There’s usually tea and cake too, so they are well worth a visit!
Remember those relaxation techniques you learnt in the run up to birth? Well, they still work after birth. So if motherhood is becoming a struggle, take a few minutes for yourself, and spend some time practising those deep breathing exercises and relaxation routines. Yoga and meditation are also great ways to get back to feeling a little more centred, a little calmer… and a little more you.
Get out of the house
When it’s all getting too much, get out of the house. Bundle baby up nice and warm, pop them in a pram or a car seat, and head out for a walk or drive. The movement of driving or walking is known to sooth babies, so a short walk or car journey might be just the trick to calm your little one down. Getting out into the world also helps new mums to feel more connected with the world and reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
Don’t believe the hype
In this world of celebrity mums, parenting books and Instagram reality, new mothers are inundated with images and theories of what makes the perfect new mother. She breast feeds perfectly from day one. Her baby sleeps on expertly ironed sheets in a spotless, hand decorated room. She eats a from-scratch balanced diet. She keeps an eye on those pesky carbs. And she’s back to her pre-baby weight within weeks of leaving the delivery room. Be aware that this image of perfection is just that: an image with little basis in any real mum’s reality. All new mums struggle, we all have sleepless nights, and those midnight moments where the world feels like it’s going to end. It won’t though, so just keep on keeping on, and…
Give it some time
Be aware that these moments of struggle will pass. All babies go through developmental phases. And all parents go through peaks and troughs. One night, your child who flat out refuses to feed, will start feeding again. And the three month old who never sleeps, will soon be the four month old who sleeps through till sunrise. In the meantime…
Take some time
Just because you’re the one who brought the little angel into the world, doesn’t mean you have to be the only person in their world. Take advantage of friends and family when they offer to do a little babysitting. An hour to go for a walk, pop out for coffee, meet friends for lunch or just do the weekly shopping, can help to lift the spirits and bring a little normality back. It also helps your little one build strong emotional attachments to the people who matter most to you.
Finding the right mindset and balance for you is key to enjoying the first weeks and months of your little ones life, so experiment with the techniques above and speak to friends and family about how they coped best. And most of all… remember that for every sleepless night of frayed nerves and countless questions, there’ll be at least one bright happy morning where you’ve never felt so happy or so complete.