5 coping skills every new parent needs to know
You’ve read a few books, and you’ve set up your nursery. You’ve vowed to still make time to be a loving couple and you’re feeling quietly confident that this newborn baby business is going to be a breeze… then the baby arrives.
Suddenly your day feels like it is over in a haze of exhaustion, your nights are probably the longest you’ve ever known, and you may wonder how such a tiny creature can cause such a disruption.
Welcome to parenthood! To help you get this crazy caper under control, take a look at these tips to help you cope.
Whether you’re super strict, or relaxed about it, your baby will naturally fall into their own cycle.
Mum of three, and From the Left Field’s child and family psychologist, Dr Sasha Lynn understands how structure can help to alleviate stress.
“Routine is so useful for us, and for our children,” she says. “We all thrive on consistency and predictability. If we have a basic routine in place, that has room to be modified as need be, then we know what's coming up, we can identify what our baby is needing at that time, and babies feel secure.”
I hear you, this may seem like a contradiction because newborns can also be very unpredictable, but learning to be flexible can help.
“Development is so rapid during this period that a lot of change is going to happen in a short space of time. We need to be able to roll with that,’ say Dr Lynn.
“They will also hit milestones in different sequences and in different ways. There's no set schedule with a newborn. By giving yourself the space to be flexible, it places a lot less stress on you when bub decides to change things up.”
The house looks like a hurricane has hit it, and you can’t remember if you brushed your teeth this morning. You got caught by surprise by a ‘poonami’ at the shopping centre and your baby screamed until you got home in a frazzled mess.
There is so much about parenting that we cannot control or learn from a book. So it’s best to just surrender to the fact that you won’t be a pro from the first day, and you won’t feel like you’re mastering it 100% of the time. And remember no parent is!
What you need to remember is you’re doing your best and although the days may be running into each other, this time will not last forever.
Ask for help
A study done by Nurofen For Children in 2013 revealed that 65% of women found the first 12 months of her baby’s life chaotic, tiring and stressful.
Women often feel pressure to be Wonder Woman but the art of asking for help is something that everyone needs to master, at this stage, and at every stage of parenting…or even life.
Whether it’s as simple as a neighbor cuddling your baby for 15 minutes while you take a shower, or a friend dropping a meal around, learning to ask for help can be a savior.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, depressed or anxious, speak to your partner and your GP. There is help available but you must reach out. The earlier you reach out, the sooner you can get help and support if you need it.
Create a community
Back to top ⌃
Mother’s groups, online communities and play groups are all good ways to find a community. Finding your tribe can help you keep your sanity because you will have other people at the same stage as you to chat to about the trials and triumphs.
As a new parent try to take some time out for you, and most of all try to keep your sense of humour. They say the days are long but the years go fast, and before you know it your baby will be a teen and you’ll yearn for these simple days of cuddles and bedlam.