Congratulations your baby is here and your life as a parent has begun. Life could be calm or it could be chaos as you get to grips with your new responsibilities.
It can be an intense time of conflicting emotions – pride, love and fulfilment mixed with feeling lost and wondering what an earth you have done and struggling to work out what to do next? Becoming a parent can knock your confidence – you come from a life of solutions and with a baby you are making it up as you go along.
The first few months is a time of getting to know your baby, of learning to trust your instincts, of learning patience and of letting go of some control, along with more exhaustion than you ever thought possible.
The early days can be a time of working out feeding, sleeping and crying – and it can take a while to work out how to soothe your baby as well as what you need.
Try to remember:
- it is ok to ask for help and to call on some support
- sometimes there are no solutions, it’s just about time and riding it out
- your baby is not manipulating you
- this is a steep learning curve but it well get better
- this could be the most exhaustion you have ever felt but it will get better
- you will sometimes feel lost and unsure of your next step – this is normal and it doesn’t make you a bad parent
- it can feel like everything in your life has changed – this is also normal because everything has changed. Give yourself time to adapt to your new life and your new responsibilities
- baby books can have some useful ideas but they don’t have all the answers – if the books are making you stressed, put them away and focus on your baby instead. Watching and getting to know your baby will often provide more solutions than a book will
Mums need other mums
Mums need more support – I see this everyday in my postnatal sessions. When you can talk and share what you are experiencing, you will usually find support and understanding from other mums – someone it that group will be or have been in the same situation as you.
Going along to some groups for mums and babies is vital because the alternative is being on your own with your baby – this can make you feel low and potentially consumed by feelings of inadequacy if you can’t settle your baby, if you feel like you are struggling to cope.
Be with other mums and you will find that you are not on your own.
My weeks are spent supporting mums with young babies and I see the difference that getting out of the house makes – why sit at home on your own when you can get it off your chest, have a cuppa and have a cry if that’s what you need.
In addition to baby groups, there are other things you may need:
- A sling can make all the difference to your life and your sanity – you can do stuff, you can get out the house
- You may want to use or find out more about using real nappies
- Good books – there are some great books on the market that focus more on baby development and how we can meet their needs
- Get online: La Leche League Tyne & Wear, Birth & Baby Formula Feeding Support,
- Think about a postnatal doula for some additional support and practical help