Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience. Even before you welcome a bundle of joy into your life, you have to make some significant changes to your family and daily routine. While this is a rewarding and joyful experience, it can also get a tad overwhelming, especially if you are a new parent. This is where we can help. In this article, we’ll take you through 5 ways to reduce stress as a new parent and prepare you for the rollercoaster ride of parenthood!
- Have a parenting plan
Having a routine and plan in place even before your baby arrives is a smart way to schedule your day. Sit down with your partner, caregiver, or family, and plan out what a typical day with the baby would look like.
Who feeds and changes the baby more often? Who wakes up when the baby cries at night? Who goes on grocery runs and folds the laundry? Would you need a formula subscription once the baby arrives? What kind of formula would you prefer?
Having a parenting plan in place gives you a sense of stability when things feel overwhelming. While the schedule can be flexible to allow some leeway when the baby arrives, it helps to have a routine so that you don’t have to spend energy making plans when you’re already tired.
- Spend quality time
A baby needs a lot of time, energy, and love. However, parents need some TLC too!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, make sure to spend some quality time with yourself and your loved ones to avoid the baby blues. Ask your significant other or family to watch the baby for a few hours so you can get some uninterrupted sleep or a hot shower. Meanwhile, schedule short date evenings/nights with your partner so you can have some time as a couple.
Rotate shifts with your S/O so each of you can spend time with your friends and family, at least for a few hours every week. Getting out of the house, even if it is to a nearby park, helps you take care of your mental health so that you can be there for the baby.
- Reach out to people
Welcoming a baby into your home can feel unfamiliar and stressful. Remember that it is okay to reach out and seek support from your family, friends, and neighbours. Be it babysitting, making a few meals, helping out with laundry or grocery runs, or doing yard work, ask if your loved ones can help you for a few weeks while you recover and take care of yourself and your baby.
In addition, having the emotional and moral support of your loved ones can do wonders for your mental health and help you handle the new emotions of parenthood.
- Have visiting rules
While it is great to have family and friends around to help you take care of your baby and home, having them around all the time can also get overwhelming. Even if they are well-intentioned, it can be difficult to host uninvited guests, especially with a new baby around.
Have visiting rules in place and communicate them kindly and firmly to your family and friends. Request them to give you some notice before they come, and establish boundaries around how long they can stay in your home. Be firm about not letting sick or immune-compromised people around your little one.
- Reevaluate your priorities
The first year as a parent is always a challenge, as you have to change your entire life to revolve around your child. During this time, rethink your priorities and adapt to the changing times.
It might be sensible to put your family life ahead of your career and other priorities, particularly for the first few months. Raising an infant is a two-parent job, and it would help to support your spouse through it.
Even the best-laid plans can go wrong, so it is important to think on your feet and creatively adapt to new changes. Remember to be flexible with your schedule and prioritise tasks. Wherever possible, outsource tasks that do not directly impact your family or your mental health.
For instance, if you’re already not a fan of mowing the lawn but do it anyway, outsource it to a friend or neighbour for the first few weeks so you can take that time to be with your baby or take care of yourself.
When you’re a new parent, remember to take it easy on yourself and be kind. There is no denying that this is a significant change, so remember that there is always help available. Good luck with your new journey!