For most people, receiving the news that they will become parents is simultaneously joyful and terrifying. You’re used to taking care of yourself and ensuring all of your needs are met – but throwing a new human into the mix can feel overwhelming. Add to that ton of questions like will you breastfeed or formula feed? Make your own natural baby lotion or use conventional creams? There’s a lot to consider, and it can undoubtedly feel stressful, but there are ways to handle stress as a new parent if you’ve got the right toolkit in place. Let’s look at some ways to roll with punches as you navigate life with a newborn.
Enjoy The Pregnancy
First things first, enjoy the time of pregnancy – it’s a great introduction to how being a parent to a newborn will be. Many of the early pregnancy symptoms, from morning sickness to fatigue, get you accustomed to the fatigue you will feel when waking up multiple times a night with your new baby. Many mothers think that pregnancy fatigue is worse than your fatigue due to sleepless nights. So, embrace the time of pregnancy for what it is and let it prepare you. Spend time bonding with your baby and learn mindfulness practices that will help you once the baby arrives.
Luck Favors The Prepared
Dealing with stress is a lot easier when you’re prepared for what’s to come. Of course, you want to make sure you have a safe place for your baby to sleep, baby clothes, and diapers – but there are other things you can do to ease stress. Declutter the stuff from your life that makes you feel overwhelmed or stressed out. If you’re already dealing with taking care of too much laundry, too many gadgets, or anything else, get rid of those items so that you can spend more attention on the baby and those other stressors are eliminated.
When you become pregnant, you likely already know that you need to eat a healthier diet than you previously were. You’re probably adding essential prenatal vitamins to your routine too. By taking control of your healthy eating habits during pregnancy, you are more likely to continue them when the baby is here. The food we eat has a direct impact on not only our physical health but also our mental health. Nutrition affects the entire body and mind. So, eat foods that boost your mental well-being and give you the energy to roll with the ebbs and flows of new parenting.
Savor Your Sleep
You’ve likely heard the sound meaning advice “sleep when the baby sleeps,” and while this is true, take care of your sleep schedules while pregnant too. It may become harder to get more restful sleep, especially during your third trimester where the baby is constantly moving, and you’re feeling large and in charge – but creating a calming nighttime routine can help with this. Once the baby arrives, you should indeed sleep when the baby sleeps. Sure, your house may not be as spotless as it once was, but if you have the budget consider hiring a housekeeper to come once or twice a week to lighten the load. Stress is always easier to overcome when you’re well-rested.
Lean On Your Village
Like the adage mentioned above, you’ve likely also heard the phrase “It takes a village.” This is 100% true. Whether you’re starting down parenthood single or with a partner, you still need a village to rely on and help you and your new baby. The great news is that babies are adorable, and you’ve likely got plenty of people in your life that are more than happy to come over and tend to your baby while you take naps, exercise, or indulge in hobbies you once loved. You don’t have to lose your identity or try to do it all – that is impossible and will lead to a quick burnout. Identifying your village before the baby arrives and communicating with them what you’d like to help with is a great way to plan.
Becoming a parent for the first time will be scary in ways you could have never imagined, but it will also be the most loving, selfless, and exciting ride of your life. Prepare to experience true love as you could never have imagined – and congratulations!