Advice for new parents

Trying to survive and take care of yourself is hard enough as is, but there’s something even harder. As any parent will tell you, newborn babies can be a real handful. With that in mind, The Mix has put together some essential advice for new parents. From dealing with sleep deprivation to coping with the inevitable barrage of visitors, we’ve truly got it all.

A young woman is sitting with her baby. She and her partner are new parents. This is a wide-angle image.

Managing your emotions as new parents

Post-birth, your first response is likely to be a hormonal mix of euphoria, shock, exhaustion and panic. Suddenly an actual live human is there, who you have to take care of, which can feel overwhelming.

Deal with it: In many ways, your best bet is to simply let it all wash over you, and make sense of it afterwards. If your partner is present you’ll find they’re going through exactly the same thing. The midwife and other delivery staff will also be supportive and sympathetic. So whatever you’re feeling, from tears of joy to outright terror, don’t be afraid to express it.

Dealing with physical tiredness as new parents

It’s likely that the labour process was intense for all involved, and has left you feeling in need of as much care and attention as the baby – especially for the new mum. The new fathers gift will be to be promoted to the role of newborn babies (if there are multiple) and Mum’s Personal Assistant, and deal with all calls and goodwill visits from friends and family.

Deal with it: Number 1 on the new parents survival kit? Take every opportunity you can to get in some zs. You’re bound to be on an adrenaline rush, but that won’t last forever, and your routine has just been turned upside down. Sleep is the secret weapon in any new parents’ survival kit. Also, don’t forget to keep your energy up with some healthy snacks and just eat a good amount in general. Taking care of yourself is vital for the baby as well cause they can’t exactly look after themselves. 

Surviving changes to your routine

So, you tend to go to bed in the middle of the night and wake up when it suits, with a lie-in on the weekends… not any more. You might have heard that a new baby sleeps a lot. The catch is that they tend not to sleep through the night. So for the first few months, sleep deprivation will become a staple in your household, probably replacing the regular morning skin routine. Suffice to say, you’ll have to adapt to major changes to your  regular routines.

Deal with it: A lot depends on whether you’re feeding on demand or doing timed feedings. If it’s the former then your baby dictates your day, and if it’s the latter you need to live by the clock. Either way, the key is to be consistent. It will be chaotic for a few weeks and you’ll be up in the middle of the night a lot, but things will eventually settle down. You may not get that lie in any more, but you’ll be rewarded in other ways.

Our top tips for dealing with visitors

The appearance of a new baby often makes the house the one and only stop of a welcome tour. All of a sudden, everyone wants to pop in, often unannounced. Who knows you might even get a belated baby shower gift? Either way, the attention can be nice, but it’s often draining as well. 

Deal with it: The first few days after the birth is an important time for you to bond with your baby. It’s important to make this a priority for both parents. So if you’d rather not end up playing host all day then say so. As long as you do it respectfully, people will understand.

Accept help from others when you need it

Along with the visitors often comes offers of help. It could range from taking care of the baby for a while to cooking you meals or cleaning the bombsite formerly known as your flat.

Deal with it: Whatever your situation, be sure not to dismiss offers for some extra help. You might be coping perfectly well, but it’s always worth knowing that you can count on people you trust to lend a hand. The new parents survival kit should defo be filled up with a couple of reserves. Besides, when the novelty of your new life starts to fade, you may find the offers start to dwindle – at a time when you probably need them most.

Living your life as a new parent

It could be days, weeks or months after the baby’s arrival, but at some point you’ll feel as if your life is settling into something resembling a routine. You may even want to consider work or college, when there’s no longer a constant trickle of visitors to see your cute kid.

Deal with it: A piece of advice is to try and get some fresh air everyday. Don’t stay cooped up in the house, devoid of any adult interaction.It’s very easy to do so, with so much of your time devoted to your baby’s welfare, but making friends now is almost as important as it was when you first started school. The NCT is a sure-fire way for you to connect with other new parents and share your experience. Also try to make time for yourself, by recruiting your partner, family or friends to baby sit – even if it’s just for a short time.

Next Steps

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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 24-Oct-2021