Believe it or not, there is a lot involved in caring for a new baby. I just recently had my second child, my first is almost 5, so this has been quite a transition for me. I didn’t realize how quickly I had forgotten how much there is to do with a newborn. The day I brought him home from the hospital, I got a quick reminder…and this time, it’s a little more intensive with another child at home.
It’s funny how when we’re expecting, we focus on all the little things. For instance, getting the nursery set up “just right” and picking out all of the baby’s first dresses, suits and other pieces of clothing seems to be extremely important when the baby is in the womb. And, let’s not forget those trips to the baby store where we pick out all of the things we can’t live without for the baby. The funny thing is that once the little one arrives, most of the things we planned on are not going to happen…and all of the items that we just had to have in order to be ready for the little one are not nearly as important as they once were. If you are expecting a little one or have just had a baby, then you may find the tips below helpful. I know I did…with both babies!
• Sleep when the baby sleeps. It doesn’t matter how much (or little) sleep you are used to, once the baby gets here, you’re going to get less of it and you’ll be tired. During the time you are able to stay home with the baby, make sure you sleep when your little one does, if at all possible. This will make the late night feedings easier to handle. Just remember that if you don’t get enough sleep, it’s easier to get frustrated when the baby is up at 3 a.m. and doesn’t want to go to bed. It’s also easier to suffer from postpartum depression when you’re running on only a few hours of sleep every day. Sleep is important – so get it!
• Don’t worry about spoiling your newborn. Some parents worry about spoiling their newborn by holding them too much or tending to them the minute they begin to cry. Don’t worry about this when you’ve got a “brand new” baby. The most important thing is that you are able to keep yourself sane and your baby taken care of. If this means that you have to spend 20 minutes rocking your baby after feeding to get him to sleep, that’s okay. You’ll have plenty of time to correct bad habits, and honestly, when a baby is this young – these “bad habits” really aren’t that bad, especially if they help you remain calm and collected.
• Ask for help. Finally, taking care of a new baby is a tough task. Maybe you are a single parent or your spouse has a demanding job and isn’t home much. Or, maybe you’re just struggling with all of the new responsibilities and the crazy emotions that occur after having a baby. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, if you feel overwhelmed – don’t wait to ask for help. Most friends and family members want to help out, but don’t know how. Maybe all you need help with is preparing meals…ask your friends and family members if they would be willing to make a meal for you. Or, maybe you just need a couple hours of to yourself. Ask a trusted friend or family member if they would be willing to watch the little one for a couple hours. The bottom line is that you understand that we all need help sometimes. With a new baby it’s important that you ask for help when you need it. Both your and the baby’s well-being depends on it.