The R+F Blog

Managing stress in early parenthood

Managing stress in early parenthood

Understanding and dealing with stress as a new parent

Bringing home a newborn baby comes with a whole range of emotions – from excitement and relief, to overwhelming stress as parents try adapt to a new lifestyle. Rest assured, these feelings are common and there’s plenty of ways you can manage this stress. Here’s a few tips:

1. Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself and be aware of your expectations.

The likes of social media, magazines and the experience of friends and family may have pressured you to do things a certain way. You may have had a clear picture of what parenting life would look like for you, and this may or may not be your current reality. While this can be disheartening, remember that your parenting journey is just that – it’s yours!

It’s an experience you’ll never be able to exactly replicate, one that’s entirely your own, and something you should be proud of. From day one, there will be ups and downs, highs and lows and unexpected twists and turns. Stress will come in waves, but so will the burst of joy that comes from raising a child of your own.

Be open to the range of experiences that come with parenting, knowing that some days will be more difficult than others and this is normal. You are not the only one who is struggling with life as a new parent.

2. Surround yourself with a support network

Especially in the postpartum period, your support network is important.

Early parenthood can be lonely, and it’s no wonder. Your previous way of life has dramatically changed, and you’re trying to navigate the responsibility of a newborn. You’re enduring both physical and emotional change, and it can feel like you’re the only one who’s struggling. While it’s okay to feel this way, know that you aren’t alone, and that everyone has good and bad days.

This is why a support network is so important. You may like to build your network with professional support, such as an antenatal group or a healthcare professional, and some lighter relief, such as friends and family on speed dial for when you need a babysitter or a good laugh!

Don’t be afraid of calling on your network when you need it. Ask for help, and know that doing so, you are learning how to be a better parent and enjoy this experience.

The best thing for parents to do is to let it go! A new baby doesn’t care if there is laundry on the floor or dishes in the sink

3. Make time for self care

While finding time to do anything other than take care of your new baby is far easier said than done, it’s also critical for managing the stress of new parenthood. Find some time for a friend or family member to take care of the baby so you can have a moment to yourself.

You may like to take a nap, run a long bath, or even head outside the house. Recharge your batteries and come back refreshed and ready to go. Plus, you’ll be amazed how much good it can do you to turn off parenting brain for even an hour!

4. Create a care plan

Organise a schedule with your partner so it’s clear who is taking care of the baby. It also means you can make sure each parent has scheduled breaks. It might work best to designate time slots, or to alternate getting out of bed.

Clearly communicating responsibilities will prevent a lot of frustration and resentment when it’s 3:00am and everyone is tired!

5. Let go of the ideal

Many new parents feel creeping guilt about all of the tasks they neglect when taking care of a new baby. Managing housework, keeping up with a diet and exercise routine, or maintaining relationships with friends and family suddenly all become more difficult with a newborn.

The best thing for parents to do is to let it go! A new baby doesn’t care if there is laundry on the floor or dishes in the sink, and they certainly don’t care if you haven’t worked out this week. Complete these tasks as is comfortable, functional, and fulfilling for you, but don’t pressure yourself to live up to a standard.

Give yourself the grace to be a little behind on things right now, and focus on what’s important – the health and happiness of your family. The special moments of early parenthood will fly by, so make the most of them.

Join the Rascal Family

We’d love to stay in touch! Receive email updates about Rascal + Friends products, offers, blog articles and events. Unsubscribe anytime.