You’ve just arrived home from the hospital. You had trouble strapping Junior into the brand-new, state-of-the-art car seat your mother insisted was the best, and you feel like you’ve just been hit by a semi. Your insides hurt in places you didn’t know existed, and your head might explode if your partner asks if you feel okay one more time. Where are the moments of serenity when Junior is supposed to be sleeping? When do you get some shut-eye yourself?
Here are some tips for staying sane during those first trying weeks of parenthood:
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you can’t immediately drop back to your pre-baby weight, it’s because your body needs time to adjust. The key is to allow yourself time to get back on your feet. Your number one priority is taking care of baby, and the only way to do this is to take care of yourself. In those few-and-far-between moments of peace, you often have to decide between eating and sleeping. Eat nutritious foods that will give you energy, or take time to meditate in silence. Taking care of yourself will provide you with a healthy mindset to take on tomorrow.
Sleep in shifts. Sleep deprivation will lead you to borderline insanity. You’ve heard every new parent complain of never being able to sleep, and now it’s your turn to live through it. You can tackle the issue of lack of sleep by tag-teaming with your partner, and splitting the responsibility of waking up with the baby. If you’re a single parent, try to sleep wherever the baby is to maximize personal sleep.
Don’t refuse help. It’s in a lot of parents’ natures to feel incompetent if they have to ask others for help. They fear this makes them bad parents, or unprepared to cope with a baby. The phrase “it takes a village” didn’t come out of thin air – allow yourself to accept help when it’s offered. The people who love you truly want to make your life easier, not rub it in your face that you can’t do it alone. Allow your sister to come do the dishes. Accept hot meals cooked by your coworkers. Let mom rock the baby while you snatch a quick nap. These are the things that can keep you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in moments when help isn’t available.
The best tip of all is to consistently remind yourself you’ve just received the greatest gift of all – parenthood.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment for your newborn, contact Pediatric Associates of Franklin at 615-790-3200.