25 Ways to Handle the Stress of a New Baby
Bring some calm to the chaos with first-year survivor strategies that work.
Making the Transition continued...
8. Try a Little TLC
"Get hugs from your partner when you can," Karen Deerester, owner of Family Time Coaching & Consulting, says. "Fall into grown-up arms when you're exhausted and overwhelmed. You're entitled to a whole year to rebalance your family around the baby."
9. Leverage the Internet
Online forums provide a sanity check for new parents, but beware of information overload. Parents need to keep in mind that not everything they read is reliable or a good fit for their family.
10. Stay Connected to Your Partner
Shoshana Bennett is a clinical psychologist and author of Postpartum Depression for Dummies. She says dates every other week "like clockwork" can keep a relationship ticking. Mom can slip out of sweats and into silk to aid in the transition. "One ground rule," she says, is "you are only allowed to talk about the baby for the first 10 minutes."
11. Beware the Risks of Comparing
Resist the urge to "compare and despair" when it comes to your baby and anyone else's.
12. Find the Humor
Making sure to laugh is mom Karen Deerester's strategy. "Laugh a lot," she says. "Imagine you are in a sitcom."
Managing Sleep Deprivation
It's not that you want to stay awake. It's just that in a large part of that first year, sleep is a rare commodity.
13. Sleep When Baby Sleeps
Sleeping when the baby sleeps is time-tested advice, and it works. Bennett says, "Sleep is a medical necessity even for new moms." Sleep is also an important way to guard against postpartum depression.
"When one parent is up, the other one should be sleeping," Bennett says. The one on duty can sleep with the baby; the other one in a separate part of the home with a white noise machine and earplugs. Even nursing mothers can protect their brain chemistry from crashing as long as they get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep each night."
14. Don't Be a Super Hero
"It's tempting to try to take on the Super Mom role, insisting on doing everything for the baby from diapering to handling pediatrician's appointments," Singer says. "But you wind up exhausted, which won't help the baby -- or you."