Bringing a new baby into your life is an experience that is as magical as it is stressful. You’ve read the baby books, taken the parenting classes and bought all the essential gear. But now that you’ve brought your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, you feel totally unprepared.
Whether you’re a new mom, dad or grandparent, you’re probably wondering, what do I do now?
Have no fear. We have some advice that should keep you (and the rest of your family) sane in those first few weeks with your new addition.
Tips for Moms
No need to panic. It’s normal for first-time moms to feel anxiety once they leave the safety of the maternity wing. In addition to being exhausted from the delivery, postpartum hormones are surging through your body, kicking up your stress level.
Just because your baby cries doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Crying is how babies tell you they need to be fed or burped, have their diaper changed or be rocked to sleep. In time you will learn your baby’s cues, and motherhood will become second nature.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in those first few weeks, bring in reinforcements. Don’t be afraid to ask a family member or a friend to help you whip up a meal or throw in a load of laundry. When you finally get a quiet moment to yourself, take a bubble bath, indulge in a good book or just close your eyes and catch a few of those much-needed ZZZs.
Tips for Dads
Once relegated to pacing the maternity waiting room, today’s dads are no longer the cigar-smoking bystanders of the Father Knows Best generation. Most men play an important role from the moment the pregnancy test comes back positive, attending prenatal appointments and childbirth classes and coaching their partner during labor and delivery.
While moms may take charge of most of the prebirth nesting, dads can help, too. They can paint the baby’s room, assemble furniture and properly install the car seat. After the baby comes home, the father can change diapers, prepare bottles and help with bathing.
Parenting classes offer instruction on all these practical skills. Taking care of a baby can be exhausting, leaving both Mom and Dad with little time or energy to even think about going out on a date night. But your relationship doesn’t have to suffer during those early months. Cuddling, kissing, nuzzling or a simple touch can help you maintain intimacy with your partner. And make a point to say “I love you” at least once a day.
Tips for Grandparents
You’ve waited so long for the big day! Eager as you are to bond with your new grandchild, you don’t want to become that overbearing in-law.
It’s important to give the new parents time to adjust to the demands of a newborn. Frequent visits can be disruptive and make it difficult for them to develop a routine.
There is no set standard for child-rearing, so be careful about offering advice or opinions unless asked directly. Respect the parents’ wishes and follow their rules. It’s their turn to be the parents. During your visits, ask if you can help by running errands, making a meal or cleaning up. If the new parents look like they could use a rest, offer to take care of the baby while they nap. Make yourself a welcome guest, and you’ll be welcomed over often.
Fit for Motherhood
LifeFit Wellness Center’s perinatal programs include discounted membership, dietary evaluation with a registered nutritionist and discounted personal/buddy training and small-group training. For more information, call 843-522-5635 or email [email protected]