Even if you feel like you were put on this earth to be a parent, the first time around is guaranteed to be stressful. The responsibility of taking care of a tiny human is no small feat and requires a significant amount of energy, focus, and strength. If you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, we hear you. Experiencing high amounts of stress during the newborn phase is typical and expected. Fortunately, there are some actionable ways to help relieve your stress during this time.
Take Time For Yourself
First and foremost, it is essential that you take time for yourself whenever possible. For single parents, this can be more challenging but certainly not impossible. Reach out to those around you that you know you can trust. Even if it is for only an hour or two at a time, the break will allow you to recharge and take care of yourself as well. Many first-time parents neglect to do this and wind up feeling burnt out and overstimulated. Between the lack of sleep, a considerable amount of crying, and concern over their safety, raising a newborn is just plain hard work. When you prioritize periods of time without any responsibility, you can catch up on some much needed sleep, eat a healthy meal, or even get a workout.
Prioritize High Quality
With so many products coming out with recalls and the fear of using something that could potentially harm your baby, it can feel like a scary and intimidating process to find products you trust. The potential for allergic reactions or skin rashes is high as newborns have extremely sensitive skin. By investing in companies that produce high-quality products like newborn diapers and coconut nourish wipes, you can rest easy knowing that your baby is safe. Leakproof diapers are also helpful as they keep you from having to wash load after load of laundry when frequent leaks occur. The less work and worry you have to deal with, the better.
Relax Your Standards
It can be easy to feel a need for everything to be perfect. From their clothing to their bedding and even their toys, you might feel as though nothing is good enough for your newborn. Although this is coming from a place of love, it ultimately ends up adding even more stress onto your plate. Letting yourself feel anxious about every little thing is not healthy for you or those around you. This heightened level of stress negatively impacts your mental and physical health, with symptoms like high blood pressure, fatigue, and irritability. By relaxing some of your standards, you can focus your energy where you need it most.
When you bring a newborn home, you can expect to host many visitors as family members and friends want to swing by to meet the baby. As well-intentioned as this is, it’s likely to add even more stress to you and your partner. By setting firm boundaries on when and how often visitors can enter your home, you’ll be sure to have enough time to accomplish the things you need to do for yourself as well. An example of this could be setting a one to two hour time limit for those that do come over. This way, they’ll get to spend some time with the baby, and you’ll have your house back in no time.
Focus On Your Partner
Another important way to relieve the stress of first-time parenting is by spending one-on-one time with your partner. Raising a baby in a healthy environment is vital to their ability to thrive in the future. When you spend quality time with your significant other, you foster a healthy relationship to model to your baby as they grow up. Even as infants, babies are perceptive to the moods and language of those around them. If you and your partner lack proper communication, it can negatively impact your newborn. Prioritizing date nights or even just going for a walk with the two of you can be powerful for maintaining a high-functioning relationship.
Join A Parenting Group
There is power in knowing that what you are experiencing is normal and that you are not alone. Parenting support groups are a fabulous way to share stories, get advice, and make friends with other first-time parents. When you inevitably face challenges with your newborn baby, the other parents in the support group can chime in with valuable advice and first-hand experience. Also, connections are beneficial for your mental health and can create laughter and joy, which lowers stress levels as well. Research shows that people that laugh more often have lower stress levels than those who do not. Another added benefit is that you’ll be able to get away from your home for a bit. Many parenting groups meet up in local parks, at coffee shops, or at a leader's home. Getting out of the house and feeling the fresh air can have a huge impact on your stress levels. Having a weekly meet-up to look forward to is a great way to maintain a social life and feel a sense of normalcy as you navigate such a huge life change.
Remember That Time Flies
Try to focus on how short and precious this period of time is, as challenging as that may sound at first. The newborn stage is fleeting, and although the lack of sleep may be getting to you, it is all worth it in the end. The stress levels you are enduring will not last; honestly, they will be over before you know it. If there is one tip that experienced parents seem to share with new parents, it's to soak up every moment. At the end of the day, your baby is loved, and cared for, and you are creating priceless memories with every experience you share with your baby.