3 common mistakes new parents make. And here’s how to fix them!

As a new parent, it is SO exciting to have your baby finally in your arms. You want to show them to the world! And you might through Facebook or Instagram, you can’t believe you made this person! This is your beautiful production and finally, he or she is here!

Common Pitfalls New Parents Face After Birth

The most common pitfalls I’ve seen in my years of caring for families immediately after the birth are:

  1. Not taking space from the outside world
  2. Forgetting your partner’s needs
  3. Starting off (albeit unknowingly) with a sleep deficit

Each of these common pitfalls are interconnected. They all feed off of and support the other. When one goes, the others will surely slide. But if you nurture rather than neglect all three areas,  you will come out feeling AMAZING! Ready to conquer the world with your relationship intact, your breastfeeding intact and even with your perineum intact. Seriously, sleep and rest help you heal! Another reason why, after childbirth, you will want to keep your sleep bank from hitting the minus.

3 Ways To Fix The Common Pitfalls

TAKE SPACE FOR YOUR TRIAD

If you are having friends and family over constantly to see your baby this can keep you awake during the day when your baby is sleeping. As well, all the attention can be over stimulating your baby when all he or she needs is cuddles with you. The unintended results of these visitors…a sleepless night because your baby will be extra fussy from the overstimulation of the day, resulting in not enough rest for you, the tired new parents.

REMEMBER YOUR PARTNER’S NEEDS

Forgetting your partner’s needs is a common pitfall that’s often ignored. Trust me, you don’t want to ignore this. In fact, it should be a priority.

Yes, you’ve just birthed a whole human. Yes, you’re feeding a whole human (if you’re breastfeeding, but even if you’re not… the baby is likely with and ON YOU all the time). But please don’t make your needs more important than your partners.

Treating your partner like shit is OUT.

The “new cool” is to have your partner’s needs met as much as yours. And the reason is simple:

If your partner’s needs are met, they’ll be ecstatic to help you with yours. Win-Win.

Your partner has needs, do you believe it? But how can you meet them?

Most partners of new mom’s feel like their needs are not allowed to be met. That the new mom, who has just birthed a whole human-being and needs all the care and attention, gets to be the ONLY one to be cared for. This is an idea that has been reinforced by our society and media and movies. There’s enough love and care to go around for both new parents to have their needs met. There is an abundance of love and care, not a lack that has to be divvied up meaning that birth-mom trumps all else.

Ideally this is practiced before the baby comes but it is not always possible and can absolutely work and be mutually beneficial no matter when you start to support each other’s needs.

If you establish a good balance of asking for your own needs to be met (a glass of water whenever you breastfeed, a 30 minute shower when the baby is nice and full of food, etc etc) then when your partner asks for their needs (a shower too, a full night sleep, a few hours out of the house) you won’t be resentful.

Ask your partner casually tonight what their needs are or will be around the time of the birth. If they can’t answer you right now, you can let them know that you are eager to hear what they are so that you can be supportive of having them be met.

Resentment can come easily from not having your own needs met and then having demands from someone else get in the way. We women are especially vulnerable to overstretching, not asking, and then feeling resentful.

Check in with yourself. Practice this even before baby comes if you can.

Lastly and MOST IMPORTANTLY, seriously..………….

SLEEP

ZZZzz’s. Snooze. Nap. Hit the sack. STAY IN THE SACK. Shut-eye.

Everything you do in the first week of life should be centred around sleep. Where you camp out will be a factor. Where you plan for your baby to sleep will be a factor. Co-sleeping is a great option if you’re breastfeeding, and has recently been supported as being safe by the American Pediatric Society, when certain criteria are met.

Sleep has a direct link on your risk of postpartum depression and is directly linked to alleviating postpartum mood issues. Sleep is what you should focus on. It is your number 1 friend before anything else. 

For new parents, there will be few long stretches of sleep, except when you let your partner sleep all or most of the night so that they’re more rested and helpful during the day when you need it.

The best way to get your sleep in is to sleep IMMEDIATELY when your baby is also sleeping. You could be woken up again in 45 minutes. Or you may luck out and get a couple of sleep cycles in, helping you feel the most restful. One sleep cycle is 90 minutes. There are many variations of what length your baby will sleep and it’ll depend on the baby’s feeding needs. New research on sleep has shown that you can get enough sleep in small chunks of time and long stretches are not the only way to feel rested. Yay! Nature is awesome…this is why parents who sleep when their infants sleep can be as rested and cope very well with the demands of a new baby.

Sleep with your baby 90% of the time and when you are the most tired, usually through the night and in the morning. Then, once a day let your baby sleep while you have some awake time. It’ll be a treat to look forward to. You can shower and maybe even have a meal at the table with your partner!

With much love,

Barbara

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