Shortcuts to coping with the demands of the arrival of a new baby
Exciting as it is, we can all feel out of our depth with the arrival of a new baby and becoming a parent for the very first time.
You may have read the theory, watched videos, chatted with family and friends but if you haven’t spent much time around babies, tiny infants can overwhelm you and provide you with a reality check.
Being able to cope with the demands of a new baby means parents need lots of sleep, rest and need to eat properly. Remember, as new parents you will always benefit from the practical tips, insights and the little pearls of wisdom other parents who have already been there.
Feeding, sleeping patterns, and bathing a newborn can have their challenges. It’s important that a baby gets the right amount of sleep for its development. A newborn baby needs to sleep about four hours at a time before it wakes and needs changing, feeding, then putting back down to sleep.
Ten Tips to Help You Cope
Always take care of yourself first, as babies need you to be healthy and able to take proper care of them.
Before a new baby arrives, prepare meals in advance for busy times. When making meals, cook for two nights instead of the one or freeze for another time. Rearrange your normal daily routine eg, cook your main meal in the morning instead of at night, as well as other chores.
The correct amount of sleep for yourself is paramount to your baby’s health and development.
If it’s the only child, you should sleep when they sleep as your rest is also important.
If you have other children to cope with, you should also sleep when they sleep.
Don’t be a martyr and try to do everything as you did before, recognize that a new baby can be stressful.
Allow time for your partner and other children.
Be aware of your baby’s safety at all times. Don’t leave your baby where they may fall or hurt themselves or be unsupervised by others, or with animals.
Avoid loud noises around your baby as a baby needs a reasonable amount of quietness.
Never be afraid to ask for assistance from your health worker as they have the training, knowledge and experience to answer your concerns or questions in all areas of infancy and young children, even if it’s for reassurance.
As new parents or bringing another baby into the home your approach should be that of inclusiveness. Model good communication skills, where parents demonstrate love and support, closely listening to and understanding each child’s needs.
Another baby arrives
Prepare older children for the expected arrival of a new baby, helping them to understand the new dynamics it will bring to the family. Show them some pictures of themselves when they were little. Read stories about new babies, how they grow, cry, and need special looking after. Children need to feel that they also can assist by watching, helping to bath them and hold them when they are asleep. Even though children don’t fully understand how the family dynamics will change, they need to know that they too, have an important role to play by being involved and this makes them feel important. Reassure your children that you will need lots of help from them. Explain beforehand that the new baby will need lots of sleep, feeding and the changing of their nappies. Other children need lots of love and cuddles from their parents which demonstrates that they too are as important as the new baby.
As new parents we need to be prepared for the many challenges and situations that a newborn baby will present as normal everyday routines are disrupted.