Introducing a newborn into your household comes with a load of logistical challenges and a lot of advice for new parents.
It is important new parents consider what may work for them before the baby arrives so they are not quite as overwhelmed after birth.
“Having a child can be challenging, which is why it is important to think through different scenarios and how you are going to handle it before your baby arrives,” said Dr. Jodi Puent, pediatrician with Marshfield Children’s.
Consider a tag-team parenting approach
Talk to your spouse or partner about ways to balance parenting responsibilities so you both get much needed sleep.
When a parent is breastfeeding, for example, it can be hard for the partner to feel like they can help, but when they retrieve the baby for feeding, change the diaper, and put the baby back in the crib after feeding, the breastfeeding parent may feel a lighter load on their shoulders.
“Plan trading off duties so you both get a break, even in the earliest days,” Dr. Puent said. “If you’re a single parent, don’t hesitate to take up offers of help from friends or family; let them do your dishes, prep a meal, or hang out with your baby long enough to take a long shower and run to the grocery store.”
Introduce your baby to the world
While it may offer comfort, it can also feel isolating watching the days on the calendar pass by when you’re caring for your little one at home. When your doctor and pediatrician say it’s safe, take your new baby out on the town.
“Consider spending short bursts of time at a coffee shop, enjoying a lunch date with friends, window shopping at the mall, or strolling through a park,” Dr. Puent said.
Showing off your new little one can be an enjoyable experience for all. Try babywearing to keep your hands free and your new baby happy and close while you’re out and about.
Schedule time with your partner
Things that were easy, default activities before you had kids become exponentially harder as your family expands. Talk to babysitters or family and find time to go on a date with your partner.
“Making it a point to nurture your relationship is one of the best things you can do for your new baby – and for your relationship,” Dr. Puent said.
In the very early newborn days, that might just mean setting aside time for a movie at home or a take-out dinner once you get the baby to sleep. As time passes, make it a legitimate date.
Break down housework
Getting household chores done with a new baby can feel like climbing Mount Everest during an avalanche. Try setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and do one task – anything! – that needs to be done around the house until the timer goes off.
“You might be surprised at how much you can get done in a short amount of time,” Dr. Puent said.
This way, you’ll be able to spend time with your baby and get some rest (or sleep!) with fewer to-dos weighing you down.
If you are looking for more advice for newborn parents, request an appointment with our doctors and women’s health team to help you prepare for your newborn.