Caring for a newborn can be a source of both joy and stress for a new caregiver. Here are five ways to balance a new baby with daily life.
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When you become a mom, your life drastically changes and it can be overwhelming. You will have to sacrifice self-care, leisure activities, work, and even education to prioritize caring for a newborn.
5 Ways to Balance A New Baby With Daily Life:
- Increase skin-to-skin contact. Physical contact between caregiver and child promotes physical and mental development for baby, and elicits good feelings for the caregiver.
- Wear baby when safe. Wearing a baby in a carrier or wrap promotes physical development including head control and understanding of the world around them. It also gives caregivers the opportunity to participate in occupations such as household chores, tending to older children, and leisure such as walks.
- Connect with others. Join a parent group, playgroup, moms’ club, dads’ club, parenting support group, stroller exercise group, etc. for support. Many local libraries hold free weekly events for young children, which offer structured play for both parent and child, and informal networking for caregivers.
- Set realistic expectations. Caregiving is not all giggles, hugs, and “I Love Yous” all the time. Some days, the dog is barking, the baby is crying, the toddler is having a meltdown, the sink is full of dishes, and the laundry seems never-ending. Sometimes, juggling work demands or little sleep and continuing to breastfeed can seem impossible. Understanding that most parents feel this way and are going through these changes can help.
- Accept help. Understand that accepting help with daily activities is not admitting defeat. Assistance from others can offer time to participate in self-care and health-promoting leisure routines. “Taking care of yourself as a caregiver translates to the mental wellness of the child,” says Carroll. “Allowing others to care for your child so you can take a shower, go for a run, or read a book can be beneficial to both caregiver and child.”
In addition to these tips, AOTA has recorded a podcast for parents. To learn more about how occupational therapy practitioners work with children and their families. For more information about National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, visit SAMHSA.
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