Becoming a new parent is an exciting journey with lots of things to think about, plan, and do. There’s so much advice for new parents out there about what you’re supposed to do once your bundle of joy comes to this world.
Advice for New Parents: What Nobody Tells You
Learning about how to change a diaper, setting up the nursery, and breastfeeding are just a few things you prepare for once your child is born. Everybody seems to have advice for new parents and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the details. I’ve included advice for new parents in this post to help make your life a little easier once your precious baby arrives.
1. Be flexible
It’s okay to plan things out ahead of time so you know what to expect. However, things don’t always go as planned, so you want to try to be as flexible as possible. This is especially true when you become a mother.
What can help you be more flexible in motherhood?
- Anticipate things may change your day, week, or month.
- Increase positive thoughts and look at change as an opportunity, rather than a setback.
Original thought: “I didn’t know we were going to have thunderstorms today. This is terrible. The weather ruined our outdoor plans today.”
Replace the original thought with: “Today will be perfect to take my baby to the mall, since it’s raining and a lot of stores are having sales.”
2. Ask for help
This is an important piece of advice for new parents, because potential burnout for parents is so high. It is a little funny how I offer this piece of advice, because I’ve always had a hard time asking for help when I felt overwhelmed with my workload. I’ve always felt I needed to do things on my own. However, it has been a work in progress throughout my life and I’ve gradually gotten better with asking for help, especially after my daughter was born.
Parents asking for help is so crucial for so many reasons. You need to rest, take care of yourself, and maintain your sanity. If you’re not well or functioning properly, how can you possibly parent effectively? You might be able to “get away with it” short term, but your health (both physical and mental) will be affected for sure.
There’s a lot of different ways to get help so you’re not doing it all on your own.
- Food/Meal Preparation: Try a meal kit delivery service for the first few weeks or months after your baby is born. Meal delivery kit services deliver ingredients for meals straight to your door so you can skip or take less trips to the grocery store.
- Try to see if trusted family members or friends can help out in the few months. Whether it’s extra hands with laundry, watching the baby while you catch up on sleep, or cleaning, every bit helps.
- If you’re not able to get extra help from family members or friends, you can try hiring professional services. Cleaning services, Task Rabbit, and care.com are all options you can try to get the extra help you need.
*There are affiliate links in this post, which means I get a commission for purchases made, at no extra cost to the buyer.
3. Don’t neglect self-care
When you become a new parent, it’s very easy to get caught up in the non-stop responsibilities and duties of providing care to your baby. However, don’t forget to take time to take care of yourself in the process.
I know this is easier said than done. In the beginning, there might be some days when you skip showers because it just got too busy. You don’t need to do a self-care activity for hours (at least in the beginning). Even 5 minutes of meditation every few hours is better than nothing.
4. Schedule regular date nights
Scheduling regular date nights between you and your spouse/significant other will be important in making sure your relationship doesn’t become “all about the baby and work.” Date nights can be stress relieving and give you and your partner much needed time to connect with each other.
5. Don’t over-commit
If you were the type of person who committed themselves to coordinating all the parties for your friends or managing all the volunteer events for your local non-profit, be prepared to scale back a bit after the baby is born.
It is okay to keep some commitments, but try not to over-schedule yourself, or else you put yourself at risk for burn-out. In the first month, start out slow and if you feel like you can take on more commitments, add them slowly into your schedule.
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6. Manage expectations
A few months before my baby was born, I was determined to work a full-time job after 2 weeks of giving birth. A lot of people looked at me crazy and I really was clueless and not understanding why I couldn’t do it. “Why can’t I work full-time and take care of my baby? It’s do-able, right?
After all, I’m tired now. I can handle being tired afterward” Well, once my baby was born, I thought to myself, “What was I thinking? I am soooooo tired and sleep-deprived that there’s no way I can work a full-time job while taking care of my baby.
One of the reasons it was difficult was because I was extremely sleep-deprived. Once my baby developed a more stable sleeping pattern, I felt good enough to go back to work full-time after 7 months. You might have a lot of expectations on how things are supposed to go after your baby is born.
However, it’s good to manage your expectations after your child’s birth, so you don’t add a lot of unnecessary stress.
7. Communicate more with your spouse
Now that you have more responsibilities, it’s more important than ever to make sure you communicate more with your spouse. Before the baby is born, some parents communicate about expectations and roles in the household. However, communication about these expectations and roles need to continue after the baby is born. Too many unexpected things can happen after the baby comes. For example, as a new mom, you may not have anticipated just how exhausting parenting can be and need extra help just to get through the days. Be sure to communicate this with your spouse, so you both can agree on a new plan.
Congratulations on becoming a new parent!