Becoming a parent for the first time is no small feat. Introducing a new life into the world and being responsible for making sure that its well nurtured and protected is a huge responsibility. It can be a lot to imagine taking on before it happens, however, once your baby is born, you’ll find that you magically slip into the role quite naturally.
There is no instruction book out there that can entirely prepare you for the experience you will have as a parent. It can vary so much from family to family, and ultimately is your individual journey to experience. And while there is no way to completely skip the learning curve that comes along with being a parent for the first time, there are a few tips that can help ease the newness of it all.
When it comes to making your experience as a new parent a little easier, here are some of the best tips to get you started.
A new baby comes out with a sleeping schedule completely different from an adult. They have erratic spurts of sleeping between 2-4 hours during the first few weeks of their life. This can be exhausting since your body is accustomed to sleeping one long stretch rather than multiple naps throughout a 24 hour period.
It is in the best interest of everyone in your new family for the parents to take turns waking up with the baby. This way both of you will have an opportunity to recharge your battery rather than burning yourself out.
New dads may feel a little left out if the mother is breastfeeding, however pumping milk and participating in bottle feedings at night may be a great way to be able to contribute.
A common practice for parents with babies is co-sleeping. This can not only be a beautiful experience which connects the parents with their baby, but it can actually lead to the baby sleeping for longer periods.
When babies feel the nearness of their parents they are often less likely to wake up more and cry less.
Co-sleeping is also much easier in terms of breastfeeding. A mother can simply lay on her side and breastfeed the baby while resting, rather than having to get up and go to the baby’s nursery and breastfeed sitting upright.
This Too Shall Pass
It’s important to remember that nothing lasts forever during the developmental stages of your baby’s life. You may start to agonize that you’ll never sleep again, or have a chance to take a shower longer than 5 minutes again, however, in the big picture this small chapter will seem like a distant memory.
Your baby will evolve and change all the time. Don’t despair if things are challenging at first. There will come a day when they are much more independent and sleep through the night.