Adjusting to parenthood: Advice for new parents
There are few things in life that seem to fly by as quickly as the time between finding out you’re expecting and the arrival of your first child. Before you know it, you’ve gone from a relatively responsibility free individual to the parent of a living, breathing bundle of joy.
But, as with any change in life, adjusting to parenthood can be tough. Between settling into your new role, to discovering your little one’s personality and making sure you’re doing everything you can to help them grow, there’s a lot of new territory that comes with being a parent.
At ParentEducate.com, we’re dedicated to making the transition into parenthood (and all the years afterward) a breeze. To do that, we’ve taken some of the information from our research-based parenting courses and turned them into these top pieces of advice for new parents:
Know your body will go through changes.
If you gave birth to your little one, your body likely went through a number of physical changes between pregnancy and birth. And, while you may want it to snap back to the way it was right away, the process will likely take time. In the meantime, appreciate the changes your body is going through as proof of the amazing work you did to create life.
Communicate with your partner about how you feel and start making tiny changes to help you start feeling like yourself again. If you went to the gym regularly, think about easing in with an hour or two each week. Treat yourself to a fresh new haircut or manicure — or even just take time to read a book you’ve always wanted to read. However you decide to care of yourself, setting aside time to celebrate you will have you feeling refreshed and back to your old self.
Chase after those z’s.
Between tears and diapers and feedings, it may feel like you’re never going to sleep through the night again. However, sleep is crucial to make sure you stay healthy, happy and able to care for your little one. If you’re co-parenting, sit down with your partner and talk about your individual needs — and how you can help each other get some much needed sleep. Create a schedule for nighttime incidents and alternate who does afternoon feedings so the other can take a nap. If you’ve got family and friends who are willing to help, take them up on their offer, even if it’s just watching your little one for an hour so you can take a quick catnap.
Make a financial plan.
With a kid comes a drastic change in your family’s finances. When you account for food, diapers, clothing, medical expenses, and other necessary costs, it’s estimated that raising a child can cost over $200,000 over the course of their lifetime. Before panicking about the additional expenses, take time to talk to your partner about what you each hope and expect for the future. Does one of you hope to stay home while the other returns to work? Do you feel you’ll need to hire extra help around the house to watch your child? While talking about these things won’t necessarily solve all of your financial challenges, it will help you get on the same page and help you chart out a plan for the future.
Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re feeling blue.
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 to 1 in 8 mothers and 4% of fathers experience postpartum depression. If you’re feeling anxious, hopeless or withdrawn after the birth of your little one, know that you aren’t alone and your feelings aren’t wrong. While most “Common Baby Blues” cases tend to resolve themselves within three weeks of delivery, it’s important to stay in tune with your emotions and reach out to a doctor if you feel you need help or support. Postpartum Support International is a great resource during this time.
Want to learn more about how you can ease the transition into parenthood? Our courses Adjusting to Parenthood I and II can help! Access both courses for free when you sign up for our seven-day trial here.