Five Newborn Parenting Perspective Tips
Aug 14, 2015 08:23AM ● Published by Tyler Hicks
By Leah Spina
Sarah was ecstatic when her new baby girl arrived. The smell of the tiny newborn head. The pea-sized toes. A live doll baby to dress each day.
But she also felt her life crashed. All she did, all day AND all night long, was take care of her new baby. Feed the baby, change the baby’s diaper, rock the baby. Repeat. At the end of the day, she felt like she got nothing done even though she had been working non-stop. “I don’t even know who I am anymore,” she cried to her husband after a long day. “I feel like a rat running on a wheel and I can’t jump off. I love my baby, but it feels like my life has stopped!”
Here are some things to remember during the “diaper blizzard” first few weeks. You can enjoy this season, you just have to keep a good perspective!
1. The newborn season is not permanent. There will be a day when you will no longer feed your baby every three hours. There will be a day when your baby will sleep longer than a four-hour stretch at night. There will be a day when you will no longer lug around a diaper bag and infant car seat everywhere you go. This is a temporary, heavy-caretaking season. Relax and enjoy your new normal!
2. Keep a sense of humor. When your baby has a blow-out diaper and ruins the entire outfit, laugh! When your baby spits up all over your fresh, clean shirt that you just put on, giggle! You can’t change hairy newborn circumstances, but you can always change your attitude. You can either laugh or cry at the new baby chaos. Choose to laugh! It’s good for you and for the baby.
3. Handle sleep deprivation with a grain of salt. One exhausted new mom told herself after the first few sleepless nights, “Just make it to the weekend!” But when the weekend hit, the sleepless nights continued. This was the new normal – ha! Remember both you and your spouse are not yourselves when overtired. Habitual sleep deprivation makes everyone grumpy. Try to not only extend grace to your partner, but also to yourself after a dicey night. Everything seems like a big deal when you are dog tired. Try to avoid talking about big, stressful subjects. When you snap, remind yourself and others that you are overtired and just not yourself. Newborn nights will pass!
4. Remember your partner in the new normal. Even though it feels like your life is the one most affected by the new baby, remember your tired, supportive spouse. They want to love and support you. But it’s hard to do if you snap at them with constant complaining. Work as a team with good communication – i.e. keep expressing the challenges of your new normal instead of expecting them to understand everything you are going through. “Honey, I’m so sorry. It’s not you. I’m just really tired and overwhelmed.”
5. Take a break when you can. Moms caretaking for days and nights on end with no break will snap. You can’t run on empty. Try to slip away, when you can, to rejuvenate yourself. It may look different for each mom. Maybe it’s just a long, uninterrupted shower while your partner is on baby duty. Or try a Target “staycation” – sipping coffee during an hour of uninterrupted shopping. Figure out what helps you regroup so you can return to your baby refreshed.
The early days of parenthood can be delicious if you keep a good parenting perspective. Try to proactively set yourself up for success, but if a day unravels, remember this season is just temporary. Laugh and enjoy your new baby!
Leah Spina is a former journalist of a national newsweekly turned stay-at-home mom to three children, age five and under. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband, David, and is a speaker to mom groups and conferences. Her book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years helps parents to enjoy, not just endure, the little years by changing their parenting perspective. It launches in October and is available for preorder now on Amazon. Visit leahspina.com to subscribe to Leah’s blog, and follow her on Instagram (leahthespina) and Facebook. When Leah is not burning macaroni and cheese, she enjoys singing Italian opera, riding horses and drinking inordinate amounts of Starbucks coffee.