So you’re a new parent. Congratulations! The first six weeks of parenthood can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Here are some tips to help you survive (and thrive) during this amazing time.
1. Stock up on essentials before the baby arrives
The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. There are a lot of things to think about and prepare for. One way to help reduce stress is to make sure you have all the essentials stocked up before the baby arrives. This way, you can relax and enjoy the new arrival knowing that you have everything you need on hand.
Some essential items to stock up on include nappies, wipes, formula or breast milk, blankets, clothes, and food. By taking care of the essentials in advance, you can make the transition to life with a new baby that much smoother.
2. Ask friends and family for help
Parenting is one of the hardest, most rewarding jobs in the world. The first six weeks are especially challenging, as you and your partner get to know your new baby and adjust to this major life change.
One way to survive the first six weeks of parenthood is by asking friends and family for help and accepting help when it is offered. Friends and family can help with things like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and child care.
It can be difficult to accept help, but try to remember that people want to help you because they care about you and want to support you. Parenting is a team effort, and there’s no shame in asking for a little assistance.
3. Take care of yourself -both mentally and physically
If you’re a new parent, you’re probably sleep-deprived and feeling like you’re constantly running on empty. It’s important to take care of yourself during this time, both mentally and physically. Get enough sleep when you can, eat healthy meals, and take breaks when you need them. This will help you to avoid exhaustion and be able to better cope with the demands of parenting.
Try to find some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. This can be used for anything that helps you relax and recharge, such as reading, taking a bath, or going for a walk.
Personally, I found that taking a bath did quite a bit to lift my mood and make me feel normal again. I added in some Epsom salt with lavender and soaked for as long as I could before I needed to nurse again or change another diaper.
Believe me, taking care of yourself is essential for surviving the first few weeks of parenthood.
4. Continue taking your supplements and drinking plenty of water
Vitamins and minerals are essential for both you and your baby, and water helps to keep your energy levels up and reduce stress. Hormones can play havoc with your emotions in the early days, so it’s important to stay hydrated and take care of yourself.
My midwife encouraged me to take a good vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and an iron supplement. I was also encouraged to continue to take my prenatal. Of course, I’m not a doctor so make sure to ask your care provider for their professional advice!
5. Stock up on meals beforehand
The last thing you want to worry about as a new parent is having to get up and cook meals. You need to rest as much as possible during those first six weeks. And while ordering out is super easy, it can also get a bit expensive.
One way to help is to stock up on freezer meals before the baby arrives. You can easily do this by cooking double batches of breakfasts and dinners leading up to the arrival of your baby. Or, if you want to make an event out of it, invite over a few girlfriends and spend the day cooking and stocking up your freezer with delicious meals!
Pro tip: Only prepare what you KNOW you’re going to like. I made several freezer meals that I had never had before and hoped I would enjoy when the time came to eat them. Well, I was wrong and I wasted quite a bit of food, time, and freezer space.
6. Baby stations everywhere
Listen mama, although your nursery is super cute and will definitely get used, you are not going to want to walk to that room every time your baby has a dirty diaper. Save yourself some trouble by putting baby stations all over the house.
To make a baby station, find a few baskets/boxes/bags and fill them with diapers, wipes, burp cloths, and a few onesies! it’s super easy and you’ll be super grateful for it when the time comes!
7. Try out a baby carrier
Baby carriers allow you to keep your baby close while still leaving your hands free to take care of other things. There are a variety of carriers on the market, so you can find one that suits your needs and your baby’s comfort level.
If you’re not sure where to start, ask a friend or family member who has already tried out a carrier for their advice.
8. Rest as much as possible
Though it may sometimes feel impossible, you have to make sure you get some rest in those first six weeks with your baby. Lack of sleep can impact your milk supply, mood, and overall health.
I know you’ve probably heard it before, but try your hardest to nap when baby naps. You can also call a friend or family member to watch the baby for a few hours while you take a much-needed nap.
9. Get dad to help
The first six weeks of parenthood are often the most challenging. There are so many new things to learn and so little sleep to be had. Fortunately, there is one way to make it through this tough period: teamwork.
When both parents are involved in caring for the baby, it can help to lighten the load and make the experience more enjoyable.
Of course, getting dad to help can sometimes be a challenge in itself. He may be exhausted from work or feel like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is new at this parenting thing.
With a little patience and some trial and error, you and your partner will soon find your rhythm as a team. And before you know it, those long nights will start to feel a little bit shorter.
10. Take lots and lots of pictures and videos
The first six weeks can feel like a blur, which is a great reason to take lots and lots of pictures and videos. It can be tough going at first, but memories are one of the things that will get you through the tough times. And, when you look back on those memories, they will be all the sweeter for having been hard-won.
So, go ahead and document everything. The good, the bad, and the exhaustion. In years to come, you’ll be glad you did.
Congratulations on your new baby, mama. Remember, everything is a season. This time can be intimidating and exhausting, but it will not last forever. I encourage you to snuggle your sweet baby as much as possible and savor that newborn smell. Believe it or not, you’re going to miss this someday.
Have any other helpful tips that I left out, mamas? Please leave them in the comments below!