You may have many different emotions after your baby is born. You may feel joy, wonder and happiness while also feeling overwhelmed, worried or exhausted. These are all normal feelings after the birth of a baby. Caring for a baby is often demanding and can leave little time for rest and other things.
The birth of a baby brings both joy and challenges to the lives of parents.
A new baby means many changes for parents. It can take several months to get comfortable with your new role as a parent. Ask family and friends to help out with things such as meal preparation and housework when you need it.
Keys to Parenting Together
Caring for a newborn takes a lot of time and effort. Sometimes parents have difficulty finding time for each other.
If you have a partner, your relationship may change after your baby is born. This may be especially true if this is your first baby when you move from being a couple to becoming a family.
Parenting is an important job for all involved, regardless of your family situation. You may be married, living common-law, living apart, or raising your child as a single parent. You may be biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, or family members helping out. Everyone plays a key role in being a parent for this child and sometimes learning how to parent together can take some time.
- Accept your differences
- Different people will parent in different ways, and this can often be okay. Parents come together with different personalities, cultural backgrounds, childhood experiences and styles of raising children. No one is perfect, all parents make mistakes sometimes, and no two families are alike.
- Talking about time
- Time management becomes a new challenge when you become parents. Time management is something you need to sit down and discuss together. You may need to negotiate new routines and expectations for one another, such as housework, child care, and free time. Find ways to support one another and share the load.
- Support each other
- We all have our bad moments. When you notice your partner is in need of a break, offer to step in so they can walk away for a moment. Also learn to recognize signs of physical or mental health concerns, such as postpartum depression. Children learn by watching how their parents treat one another as well as how they treat others.
- Share the experience
- Parenting and raising children is a job you share. You are “co-workers” in this new position. Experience the ups and downs, the joys and the frustrations together. Know that you are not alone and that everyone runs into challenges from time to time.
- Spend time with the people you care about
- Start to think about how you will nurture your relationships once the baby is born. Consider all the relationships in your life: your partner, your parents, your family and your friends.
- Cope with stress or anger
- Struggles with time, money, unwanted advice and relationships often come up. Slow down, take a few deep breaths and step away if you are able to. Look for ways to calm yourself down before you feel out of control. Talking to others can be helpful and know that it is okay to ask for help and support.
Take time to take care for yourself so that you are best able to take care of your baby.
It is important to take care of your own needs as well as your newborn’s needs. You will feel better if you:
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Get enough sleep.
- Accept that sometimes not all your tasks will get done.
- Share your child’s care with your partner and/or other support people.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Be physically active.
- Get out for visits with people you care about.
- Do personal hobbies that you enjoy.