If you and your spouse are currently expecting your first born, congratulations! It must surely be a joyous and exciting period for you and your family.
Becoming a parent is a monumental moment in anyone’s life and the imminent arrival of the baby would definitely mean profound changes in you and your spouse’s current lifestyle. As the excitement gradually subsides, one may start to feel overwhelmed as the enormity of the task starts to dawn on you.
Challenges faced by new parents
Interrupted or the lack of sleep will be the most obvious and to many, the most difficult change to your life once the baby arrives. A baby’s schedule most certainly pays no heed to the clock but to his or her own needs, be it getting fed, getting changed or just to be comforted, which could be anytime as diverse as 8pm or 4am. Work out a schedule in which you and your partner take turns to care for the little one will certainly reduce the strain.
Take a nap whenever your baby is sleeping also, to catch up on your sleep and to restore your energy. This is especially essential for mothers as mothers who nap regularly are also those who have healthy postpartum. Take the opportunity also, as an additional bonus, to bond with your child as you snuggle up with your baby. One thing to take note of is that baby should be placed on a firm, tight-fitting mattress, in a crib that meets current safety standards. Soft beddings should be avoided so as to prevent the bedding from creasing and covering the baby’s face when he or she turns while sleeping.
Nursing your baby
Another important aspect for mothers, is of course, nursing. Everyone knows that breast milk is best. However, it may not be as easy or natural to most first time mothers and it may in fact, be painful. Experiment with different positions until you find the most comfortable one for you and get a breast feeding pillow to get even better support while you hold the baby. Another common problem which first time mothers face is to get the baby to latch onto the nipple correctly.
Otherwise, mothers may also consider expressing their milk and storing it so that the baby may get feed when the mother has to return to work or is otherwise not around.
Fathering a newborn
Aside from expressing milk, fathers too, can expect to get their hands full with the newborn. It is important that you are around to help out with several manual tasks which your wife should avoid as her body is recovering from the child birth. Learn to bathe the baby or how to comfort the baby when it is crying not only gives your wife some much needed respite, but also creates opportunities to bond with your child.
Dealing with relatives
However, just when you think that you could not be busy enough, friends and relatives will definitely be out in full force to visit and to take a look at the new addition to the family. While it may be difficult to turn them away, usual hospitality rules may not apply. Do allow them to see the baby, whether the baby is asleep or not, but discourage them to hold the baby or to pass the baby around. Anyone who is nursing a cold or a flu is of course, not allowed to be in the same room as the child.
Keeping the romance alive
When a new member of the family is introduced, the focus switches from each other to the child. The change can be a stressful one and can take a toll on your relationship, making it difficult for you to connect with each other in positive ways. Therefore it is important to work on your marital relationship and continue to build fondness and admiration for each other. Research from the Gottman Institute tells us that the strength of a couple’s relationship can directly affect a child’s cognitive and social abilities. While the mother takes on the main role of caring for the child, fathers can sometimes be unsure of how to help support their spouse. Coupled with the sudden increase in the number of extended family members offering to help out; a father could easily be left out of the caregiving process, leaving him to feel the only way he can contribute is financially.
As a result the wife may feel isolated from the husband and believe that he does not want to be involved.
Parenting is a skill which takes a life time to master. What is covered in this article is but just the tip of the ice berg to get you started, with many other aspects of parenthood yet to be discussed, all deserving of being detailed research journals by themselves. While the responsibilities coming your way may seem daunting, it is nevertheless very much achievable. Amidst all the chaos and business, it is important to remember that your baby will not remain a baby forever, and before you know it, your kid would have grown up. Do cherish the most of this time with your new born as you and your child begin this journey of a lifetime together.