It doesn’t matter how organised and capable you are, when your new baby comes along life changes in the blink of an eye. The sense of responsibility is often overwhelming. You are no longer in charge of your life: a small person wields all the power and their needs take precedence. It’s not surprising that many new parents get completely stressed out.
Talk About It
Don’t bottle up your feelings – talk to your partner, family and friends. People might not be aware you are feeling stressed if you are normally the type of person who copes with anything. Admitting to stress doesn’t make you a bad mother. Everyone has bad days, so be honest with those around you and share the burden.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation is one of the hardest aspects of becoming a new parent. Some babies sleep well very quickly and their lucky parents are able to get a good night’s sleep within a couple of months of the birth. Other babies don’t sleep through for a year or more, often waking up multiple times a night.
It is perfectly normal to feel stressed if you are getting less than four hours sleep a night, much of it broken. The best way to cope with stress related sleep deprivation is to try and nap whenever you get the opportunity. Sleep when baby sleeps. The housework can wait. The more catch-up naps you can grab here and there, the better you will cope with the everyday slog of being a new parent.
Go for a Walk
Exercise is good for you once you have recovered from the birth. Renewing your gym membership might not be sensible just yet, but making time to go for a brisk walk every day is a great idea. Dress baby for the weather conditions and take him for a walk in his pram. The fresh air will do both of you the world of good and if he is a crier, he might actually quieten down and go to sleep for a couple of hours, thus giving you a nice break.
Taking care of a new baby is a 24/7 job, but as with any demanding job, you need a break from time to time. Let your partner shoulder some of the burden, or ask a friend or relative to babysit for a couple of hours. Use this time to chill out: read a book, watch a DVD, or play online bingo. Whatever lets your mind and body relax is good for you and good for baby.
Most new mums suffer from a degree of stress. It is perfectly normal and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. However, whilst a bit of stress is OK, once stress starts affecting your life in a negative way, it is a good idea to talk to your health visitor or GP. Stress can often lead to depression and an inability to cope, which is dangerous for you and the baby, so ask for help.
*This is a collaborative post*