The Challenges Faced by New Parents
You’ve brought your little bundle of joy into the world, and now truly understand the real meaning of unconditional love. However, that doesn’t mean that those first few weeks or months can’t be extremely testing and stressful. Being a parent is far from easy, it is a huge learning experience and acclimatising takes time.
Fortunately, there are ways to regain your peace of mind as well as ease your concerns about your baby and new-found parenthood. Whilst challenges differ from parent to parent, we take a look at some of the most common challenges faced, as well as ways in which they can be solved.
Sleep deprivation is something most of us are likely to associate newborn babies with. Most new parents expect a lack of sleep prior to the baby’s birth, however, the reality can still be a huge shock once the baby is born. Unfortunately, it is not always something you can anticipate or prepare for fully until the baby has arrived.
Prolonged sleep loss is especially hard whilst trying to cope with the daily trials and tribulations of looking after a baby. It can lead to mood imbalances, impatience, and depression.
What Can Help?
Whilst we don’t pretend to have the magic cure or remedy to get babies to nod off, there are different ways in which you could try to improve the situation.
- The full-time carer of the baby should aim to take full advantage of getting some sleep when the baby is sleeping, as opposed to doing other activities
- Create a bedtime routine, putting your baby to bed at a fairly consistent time every night means that your baby is likely to have trouble with staying asleep
- If your baby has difficulty falling asleep, try a warm bath or massage, or if under the age of 6 months wearing a sling as you walk around the house can help with snoozing
Unsurprisingly, endless nights of little sleep, and the daily task of caring for a newborn baby can prove trying for relationships between parents. Fatigue leads to lower tolerances and grumpiness, and that can then lead to arguments about who is doing what, or if someone is doing more than their fair share of nappy changing, household chores and getting up in the middle of the night. It is an extremely common problem faced by new parents, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult.
What Can Help?
- It is important to remember that becoming a new parent tests the foundations even for the strongest of relationships. Try to remember to gain perspective on the situation
- Write a collective to-do list which will help you to be able to divide responsibilities more evenly, and stick to it as much as you possibly can
- Organise time for just the two of you, so that you can unwind a little. Ask the grandparents or find a babysitter for the evening here and there, so you get to recuperate and have a bit of a break
Getting Back to Work After a Baby
A dilemma faced by new parents, and often faced by new mums who tend to take longer leave to care for a newborn, is the problem related to returning to work. Some mothers face no-option about it, as they need the income to support their family, but they can feel guilt or feel not ready to go back. Whilst others who do have the choice can face the difficulty of deciding whether to become a stay-at-home mother or go back to work.
What can you do to help ease the situation though?
- Speak to your partner about it, or arrange to meet up and chat with other new mums who may well be struggling with the very same problem too. It might help clarify things and give you a bit of peace of mind.
- It’s worth asking your employer if there is the option of going part-time or having a more flexible work schedule if you are still feeling unsure about what to do.
- Give yourself a one-year limit: think what will work for this next year, and remember it isn’t the end of the world if you change your mind at the end of it. You will find whatever decision you make less overwhelming if you think of it in terms of the next year, rather than forever!