Becoming a parent is the most life-changing experience imaginable, so it is only natural that making the change from being ‘you’ to being ‘mum’ is going to take a lot of getting used to. During your pregnancy, you may have read all of the parenting and baby books that you could get your hands on, but nothing quite prepares you for the reality of life as a parent. From the moment that you hold your baby in your arms for the very first time, your focus shifts and suddenly nothing else really matters.
While antenatal classes can help prepare you for taking care of your baby and what to expect in terms of sleepless nights and feeds, they can’t prepare you for the tonne of hormones that hit you and the way that this massive change in your life leaves you feeling.
Becoming a parent is both the most wonderful job in the world and the toughest, and bringing your new baby home is just the start of your incredible journey as a new parent. These tips will hopefully provide you with some reassuring advice as you adapt to life as a new mum:
Ease the Pressure
One of the most ironic things about being a new parent is that you are awake pretty much 24/7, yet still there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done! If you’re finding yourself stressed out over the things that you feel you ‘should’ be doing, then stop! Be kind to yourself, you can’t do everything, and you don’t have to. Allow your family and friends to help you and your partner out and don’t feel bad about it; you would do the same for them.
It is important to remember to be kind to yourself and show yourself the care that you would show to other people in the same situation.
If you feel that your mental health is suffering, then make sure that you open up to people around you that you can trust and speak to a medical professional, such as your midwife, health visitor or GP about your concerns. Talking about how you are feeling is the first step towards getting the help you need to get better.
Get Out and About
Babies aren’t known for their excellent conversation skills, so getting out and about and meeting other local parents is a great way to maintain some form of adult conversation during the day. Getting to know other parents in your area is brilliant for making new friends, and chatting to people with children of a similar age to yours.
Look out for baby groups in your area, or for baby rhyme time sessions at your local library, these are both perfect opportunities not only for you to make new friends, but for your little one too.
If you prefer more structured activities, you may want to sign your baby up for classes such as baby swimming lessons or music sessions, which enable you to have fun together while your baby learns new skills in a stimulating environment.
Getting active doesn’t mean that you have to start training to run the London Marathon, gentle exercise such as walking is excellent for getting you out and about in the fresh air with your baby and boosting your mood too.
If you are looking for Post natal exercise classes so that you are doing activities specifically for new mums, you will find a great selection of courses to choose from. These also have the added bonus of enabling you to meet other new mums from your area.
Don’t forget that how soon you are able to exercise after having a baby is dependent on the type of birth that you had, and you should wait until a doctor says that you are safe to exercise, this is something that you can confirm with your GP at your six-week check.
Take Care of Yourself
Since having your little one, you have probably found that you are your last priority. However, if you are going to take care of someone else, you need to make sure that you are properly looked after too.
Whether it’s taking the time to have a relaxing soak in the bath while someone else takes care of the baby or even taking a nap when you feel that you should be doing the laundry, little things can make a big difference. Making time for basic self-care and your own needs will make you feel a lot better and much more able to cope with whatever parenthood throws at you.
Don’t Forget Yourself
As your baby grows, don’t forget to begin to reconnect with yourself and spend a little time doing the things that you love. Many people, understandably, completely lose touch with themselves after having children. Amongst all the hustle and bustle of life as a parent, it is easy to see why this can happen, probably with you even noticing that it has.
Taking time to do things that you have always loved is an ideal way to feel more like you again. Whether you love to read, paint, or bake, taking the opportunity to do it is pretty much guaranteed to make you feel better.
Go with the Flow
As you begin to get out and about more and meet other parents, you may find yourself comparing yourself to others and questioning your parenting skills. Comparing yourself to other mums isn’t a good habit to get into as everyone is entirely different, as are their children. Each person parents their child differently, just as children all behave differently in different situations; this doesn’t mean anyone is doing things the right or wrong way. Don’t pressurise yourself to act in accordance with other people’s ideals or what you think a parent is supposed to be like. Every family is different, every parent is different, every child is different, so simply enjoy the journey, do your best, and everything else should fall into place.