Having a baby is a life-changing experience in many ways. And although it is a joyful time, it can also be an extremely stressful time. Here are 10 ways to handle the stress of a new baby.
Take Care of Yourself
Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and get fresh air every day. Do something for yourself every day, even if it’s something as simple as relaxing over a cup of tea for a few minutes or chatting with your best friend.
Establish Visiting Rules
Friends and relatives will most certainly want to visit your newborn. Rather than let them drop in whenever they are in the neighborhood, let them know which days and hours work best and how much time you have for a visit. When really close friends visit, use the time to get some much needed rest while they care for the baby.
Rotate Night Duty
Instead of rotating shifts during the night, rotate the nights of the work. That way one parent is always getting a good night’s sleep rather than both of you being sleep deprived every day of the week.
Resist the urge to compare your baby to anyone else’s. Each child grows and learns at a different rate and in different ways.
Maintain an Exercise Routine
You might need to think outside the box, but it’s important to maintain your physical fitness. Plus exercise can boost your energy level. Try taking walks with your baby or invest in a jogging stroller. Many gyms and community centers offer Mommy and Me swim or yoga classes or offer childcare while you work out. Alternately, you can spread workouts throughout the day, doing 10 minutes of a workout three times a day.
Make sure you allocate plenty of time each day for nursing sessions, putting your baby down for a nap, feeding and easing crying spells. Keep scheduled activities to a minimum. When you leave the house head out, give yourself extra time to pack your baby’s supplies and change his or her diaper.
Nurture Other Relationships
Certainly your newborn needs a lot of your love, attention, and time but you also need to make sure your relationships with others do not suffer. If you have other children, set aside one-on-one time with each of them. Schedule date nights at least every other week with your partner—and talk about things other than the baby. Take the time to meet a friend for lunch or a movie.
Take Up Offers for Help
When friends and relatives offer to help, let them do it. Ask them to help you with laundry, run a few errands or make a meal—whatever you need most at the moment.
Let it Go, Guilt-free
If someting isn’t critical for your family’s health, welfare or safety, most likely you can let it go if you need to. Chores like dishes and laundry don’t need to be done every day. Let non-critical things slide when you need a nap or your partner needs your attention.
Join a Mother’s Group
Not only will joining the group give you a much-needed break during the week, it can be a source of good ideas and new friendships. You can find a group through your pediatrician or hospital.