You survived pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and are now bringing home your new bundle of joy! Those first few weeks are both tender and exhausting, but then you might be wondering, “What’s our new ‘normal’?” It’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of spit-up stains and emotional meltdowns (from baby and parent), so here are ten tips to help you navigate your first year.
Whether it’s a simple cup of coffee or a Girls’ Night Out, having something to look forward to every week (or even each day) restores a little bit of your sanity and helps you feel ready to tackle whatever comes next.
A little fresh air and sunlight can improve your immune system and uplift your mood. Even if you work full-time, a 10-minute walk on your lunch break can be enough to benefit from the Vitamin-D-boosting rays.
Bring back some routine to your life with meal services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, which deliver recipes and ingredients right to your door. On a budget? Choose one day a week to sit down and plan your meals for the week before heading to the grocery store.
Stop Googling Everything
Most parents find that the more they read on the Internet, the more confused they become. Keep things simple by choosing a trustworthy pediatrician, utilizing respected friends/family members, and bookmarking only a few reliable websites (like Kellymom.com for breastfeeding questions).
Invest in your Physical Health
Try to exercise several times a week. By joining a local gym or simply walking around the neighborhood, you maintain your health and may even meet other parents. Find a sleep routine that works for your family, and be sure to drink lots of water to keep your mind and body feeling great.
Invest in Your Partner
If you have a significant other, do your best to keep from neglecting the relationship. Remind yourselves you are on the same team, share the load, and spend special time together.
Find Your “Tribe”
Your family, your best friends, or a local playgroup- these are the people you can turn to for advice or just a good laugh. It helps you to not feel alone in all of the highs and lows of the first year.
If a trusted friend offers to bring a meal or watch baby for a few minutes so you can shower, let them. Don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional if you find yourself struggling with post-partum depression and/or anxiety.
Be Gracious with Yourself
When it comes to parenting, today’s world is full of many options and plenty of guilt to go along with it. Decide what’s right for your family and accept that you will make mistakes. Learn from them and be open to growth.
You’ve heard it a million times: it goes by fast. Remind yourself that it’s all just a phase. Record memories in a journal, take plenty of pictures and videos, and savor this chaotic, precious time.
The first year of baby’s life can be a rollercoaster. When you make it to that first birthday, you’ll be filled with so much pride, relief, and confidence that you’ll be shouting, “Again! Again! Bring on year two!” You’ve got this!