Becoming a parent for the first time is a journey that no one is really prepared for. Sure, you can get all of the advice from your parents, family members who’ve become parents themselves, and friends who’ve recently entered this new chapter.
However, the reality is that everyone’s experience is going to be different, particularly as a first-time parent.
Often enough, it’s all about navigating through the journey and hoping for the best. With that being said, here are some top tips for new parents who are currently looking after a newborn or will be in due course.
Plan and prepare for change
First and foremost, plan and prepare for change. This change is definitely going to be something that is going to impact your life forever. After all, babies aren’t just for Christmas – they’re for life!
You’ll forever worry about them and your lifestyle is likely to change. A lot of women who have a baby for the first time will often find themselves talking about how they lose themselves.
While this might seem scary, you’re gaining a new part of you that has become a parent. Despite the old life being left behind, your new life is going to be just as exciting.
With that being said, make sure you’re planning ahead and preparing for that inevitable change. Acknowledge that you’re stepping into the unknown and that the journey won’t be easy. Often at times, that can give you more peace of mind as a result.
Do your research
If you’ve not done it already, then it’s important to do your research. Understanding what to expect when you’re expecting is certainly something that can be helpful when it comes to parenting for the first time.
There’s plenty of information online like this guide to Caring For Your 1 Month Old Baby | Mustela USA. The more you are able to digest online and in the form of how-to books, the better prepared you’ll feel.
However, don’t let these be guides that you live by as a parent. Your experience and the baby you have may be completely different from what you research or read in preparation for the birth.
Acknowledge your sleep will be affected
It’s probably one of the most talked about areas of having a baby for the first time and it’s the lack of sleep you’re likely to get. Of course, this experience may be different for everyone, with some managing the sleep deprivation a little better than others.
However, it’s important that regardless of your own personal experience, you acknowledge that your sleep will be affected. For example, you’re not going to get the opportunity of a lie-in on a Saturday or Sunday morning for a while.
Of course, if you’re living with your partner, you may be able to work around the sleep patterns to ensure you’re both getting equal amounts of sleep.
Talking about your feelings with those you trust
When it comes to talking about your feelings, make sure you’ve got a support network around you of people that you can talk to. Whether that’s people online, those you meet through in-person antenatal classes, or friends/family who live close to you.
Talking about your feelings is important because it can be helpful to discuss what you’re feeling and whether those feelings need to be explored more. One of the challenges that comes with being a parent for the first time is something called post-natal depression. While it doesn’t affect everyone, it can affect many new mums and dads who become parents for the first time.
Make sure you have people around you that you can talk to and don’t be afraid of seeking professional help as and when it’s needed.
Treat your newborn as a team project between you and your partner
While your first child or any child for that matter, isn’t a project, they should be handled like a project when it comes to communicating with your partner.
If you’re fortunate to be with your partner and you’re doing this journey together, then it’s worthwhile managing your time as a team rather than individually.
Tag teaming and having a 50/50 responsibility is going to help your partner take the time they need off when they need it. For example, if one of you has done the night shift, then the other partner can start off the early morning shift of feeding, changing diapers, and entertaining.
Take it one day at a time
Becoming a parent for the first time is challenging and it’s something that you’re not going to nail down straight away. With that being said, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to handling a newborn.
Try to take it one day at a time and focus on you and your baby right now, rather than what you need to be doing one or two months down the line. The time with a newborn goes very quickly and before you know it, they’ll be crawling on the floor, trying to stand up.
Limit your exposure to social media
Limiting your exposure to social media is wise, especially when it comes to digesting information about parenthood. It’s easy to get swept up in social media when all you’re doing is feeding, changing, and getting your baby to sleep.
For any of those on maternity leave, it can be very easy to allow yourself to become hooked on social media when you should be reveling in the moments with your newborn. Try to switch off from social media where you can.
Don’t try to compare your journey with others
Finally, be careful when it comes to comparing your journey to others. Every journey is going to be different and just because you didn’t have it one way, doesn’t mean someone else will have it that way. At the same time, remember that you’re doing this for the first time and you’re doing a good job, regardless of what you feel and expect is the right way to parent.
Becoming a parent to a newborn, particularly for the first time is challenging but something that can get easier with time.