Physically and mentally drained you are in the middle of a daydream where your child is center stage in an auditorium accepting his high school diploma. You are imagining he/she will be on their way to college soon, except for one thing—he/she is a newborn. This dream is one you have had over the last couple of weeks since the birth of your baby. The scenario is accurate for many new parents entering the secret,and rewarding club that is parenthood. With a few tips, though, most parents find themselves able to survive this part of being a new parent, which is gratifying, even though exhausting.
The most common complaint among new parents is the lack of sleep. However, many lessen the problem of not getting enough sleep in those first few months by creating a bedtime ritual. If it is possible for a parent to stay home with the child, a ritual that allows one parent to sleep on the child’s schedule will alleviate this problem. When the child sleeps, the parent sleeps and when the child is awake, the parent is awake as well. Also, another tip is to allow the baby to sleep with parents until the child develops a sleeping pattern of their own. Other tips include:
- Placing the baby on his/her back to sleep.
- Breast or bottle-feeding the child until the child falls asleep, but remember avoid tooth decay by not allowing the baby to fall asleep with the bottle in his/her mouth.
- Taking the child for drives in the family car at night can help with newborn restlessness, if all else fails.
Another worry that new parents have is related to the overall safety of the child, worries ranging from illnesses to dangers that lurk in the environment. Illnesses are possible to avoid by breastfeeding the baby as long as possible. Since infants receive the majority of their immunities through breast milk, breastfeeding the child as long as possible is always positive, in addition to having the advantage of bonding with the child. Also, by keeping the child’s nasal cavity clear, new parents reduce the incidence of illness in the infant. As much as possible, new parents also want to keep the environment as clean as possible, which includes making sure any day care facilities are clean. Safety issues related to keeping the child safe from harm include childproofing the home, e.g. covering electrical outlets. Also, new parents can provide a safe sleeping environment by not placing the child on any furniture that might cause the child to slip between the folds and suffocate them, i.e. bean bags, soft bedding, or couches.
Staying organized is an additional way for parents to survive this time when the newborn makes demands on both parents. Organization involves:
- Making sure there is a place for everything in the house, more specifically items related to the baby. The consistent use of compartments and containers will help in locating diapers and cleansing wipes.
- Keeping baby paraphernalia to a minimum. A house filled with numerous items for the baby, i.e. a highchair, a playpen, child swing takes up space. Instead, find furniture that combines two or more tasks. For example, a baby activity gym – see the included activities – has many uses.
- Try not to hoard baby clothes. Unless you plan on having children in the next couple of years holding onto the newborn’s clothes only will create clutter. One suggestion is to donate them to other parents or family members who will have children.
- Share duties. With both men and women working in most households, it is difficult for one parent to shoulder the responsibility of the child. If mother has to work outside the home, plan time to bond with the child a few minutes before and after leaving the child in daycare. Fathers can also chip in by making alone time to spend with child and helping out when the child needs cuddling.
- Do not expect perfection. Parenting is on-the-job-training, so expect the unexpected.
When you, as the new parent, have tried everything and still find yourself frustrated, listen to the counsel of the people around you. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for advice related to your baby’s health. They can definitely give insight on how to cure some of the common maladies that plague newborns. Listen to your mother. She raised you and you are a wonderful person, so any advice she gives you is definitely legitimate. Finally, trust your gut. If something does not feel right, more than likely you are right.