Tips for new parents
5 tips for new parents
Here are five tips to help you through this time of getting oriented to being a parent…
1. Allow yourself to be served.
In my freezer right now, I’ve got a frozen homemade lasgna. I was making dinner the other night and doubled the recipe so I’d have extra to freeze. When someone in my world needs it, I’ll pull it out, bake it, add a salad and loaf of bread and take a yummy dinner to them. Yes, there are people who still do this kind of thing!
When anyone asks what you need, don’t hesitate for a minute. Set aside your awkwardness and let others serve you. You deserve it, you have a new baby.
Make a list of possibilities – a run to the pharmacy, groceries, snacks to munch on, coffee from Starbucks, sit with baby while you shower… whatever YOU need.
And because you now understand how heavenly it is to have someone offer a practical hand, you can do the same for others. Pay it forward!
2. Give yourself grace
My husband, Kent, and I have been married for nearly 30 years. In the first months of our marriage, I got pregnant while on steroids for kidney disease. I had the double whammy of natural hormones of pregnancy plus a really high dose of a medication that made me giddy happy one minute, teary and depressed the next. And all the worry and fear of that potentially lethal combination and whether the baby would be safe. Those were some tough days. Not gonna lie, poor Kent had no idea what he’d signed up for. All was well in the end, we had a healthy baby and my kidneys bounced back strong. But I struggled with the guilt of being so unstable for my newborn daughter.
When you have a new baby, whether biologically or otherwise, emotions are all over the place. You’ve never been a mom before so the feelings are new, foreign and can be overwhelming. Know that all will level out with time and you’ll find your emotional balance.
Be loving and kind to yourself, say positive things in your inner thoughts, get plenty of rest, nutritious food and don’t forget your self-care.
3. Relish in the awe of your newborn
There’s something about a newborn baby that has a stilling effect on us. When you smell their sweet smell and touch the softest skin you’ve ever touched, there are truly no words. Relish the quiet moments of wonder. To witness a person’s first hours of life is thought-provoking and deeply emotional. Take your time, hold your baby close and breathe in the peace.
You’ll also probably see this quieting effect on visitors as they meet your brand new baby. There’s almost a hush in the air as they take in their first looks.
4. Knowledge is understanding
Learn all you can. No doubt you’ve been given information from the pediatrician. Read it all and most importantly, ask your trusted friends and relatives what their biggest ah-ha moment was when they first became a parent.
The best thing I learned as a brand new mom was this. “Just when you think you can’t stand another minute – your child will change. They start sleeping more, stop throwing as many tantrums and all those other things that are hard to put up with after a while. Just hold on, it will pass.”
Learn from others. Learn from research-based sources. Sift through the opinions and focus on accurate child development resources. Here’s a couple of great sites for solid information about child development: Zero to Three and Pathways Check them out!
5. Understand you are going through a major mindset shift
It’s no small task, becoming a parent. Although you’ve known it was coming, you may have been thinking about it all your life (like me, all I ever wanted to be when I was little was a mom), when it happens, parenthood takes some adjustment.
Before you have your baby, you’re in what’s called the ‘image making’ stage of parenting. This is when you think about all the ways that you’ll BE as a parent. Perhaps you want to emulate your own parents, maybe you want to do the exact opposite. Image-making is like a rehearsal, as you prepare for a changing sense of self and changing relationships with your partner and your own parents.
Your growth as a parent is an interactive process with the development of your baby influencing your development as the parent. From the very beginning you influence each other. You begin the relationship, alongside the process of conceptualizing of what you believe it will be like. Then the baby comes and reality sets in.
The preconceived notion you have about being a parent may be different from reality. A mindshift begins the moment you meet your baby. You enter the ‘nurturing’ stage of parenting, where you have the task of attachment and of reconciling the imagined child with the child that was born. You have moved from image-making to the next stage of parenting,
It takes a while. Time is on your side. Remember tip #2, give yourself grace.
Here at Nurtured Noggins, we’re rooting for you.
You are exactly the person that YOUR baby needs. You two were made for each other. 😍