Congratulations! You have just been promoted and blessed with a new title as ‘Parent’. Being a parent comes with abundance of joys but the truth be told, there are many frustrating moments too! Getting through the initial stage can be hard and you wonder if you will ever get through it. Get some precious tips on how you can survive your new role as a parent.
Be frank with others about what’s okay/not okay around the baby
Let’s say your baby has eczema on her face, but well-meaning relatives keep touching her cheeks (all that chubs is pretty irresistible). Inside you’re screaming, “DON’T TOUCH HER SKIN! YOU’LL MAKE IT WORSE!” but outwardly, you just wince. Speak up about what’s okay/not okay around the baby. Nobody has more right to do it than you, the parent. Be nice but straightforward.
Tell visitors if you want them to wash or sanitize their hands first. They’ll understand. And all sorts of people – including ones you don’t really know – will ask to hold your baby. Say yes if you’re okay with it, but don’t feel bad about declining politely with something like, “She seems very comfortable/tired/fussy right now. I’d prefer not to move her.”
Sleep when the baby sleeps
When the baby naps, you’re overjoyed to finally have some time to yourself. You can take a bath! And watch your favourite K-drama! And surf online! It’s funny how these ordinary things can excite you now that you hardly have the time to do them. But you need to be selective about how you spend this free time. Because what you’re really sacrificing is the golden chance to catch up on sleep.
If you have hour-old, dried spit-up in your hair, it makes sense to choose to shower while your baby snoozes. But Facebooking and Instagramming? Not worth missing some precious shut-eye.
If you’re breastfeeding, consult a lactation nurse
Request a lactation expert as soon as possible after delivery. Even if you’ve heard about or read up on breastfeeding, the real experience
can be vastly different from what you expect.
A lactation nurse can come to your bedside, watch how you’re doing, and advise you on getting the right latch. If you have any other issues (nipple pain, engorgement, low milk supply, etc.), she can help. The bottom line? Your baby needs to eat, and you need to feed him. A lactation consultant can help you do that.
Don’t put your marriage on the backburner
You and your spouse can be so preoccupied with the new addition to your family that there’s no time or energy for date nights and bonding time. Having a baby can challenge your marriage in various ways. When it was just the two of you, you were able to focus more on each other. And you never argued about things like whose turn it is to change the diaper or the best way to soothe your colicky baby.
Romance may be low on your list of priorities when you’re both exhausted, sleep deprived, and low on patience. But your role in the family isn’t just “parent.” It’s also “husband/wife.” So step it up and schedule a date-night-in if you have to. Talk about your highs and lows. It’s about feeling connected with the love of your life.
Go gentle on yourself. Let the little things slide
You used to show up early for every appointment. Now you’re late all the time. You always seem to forget to pack something in the diaper bag – an extra bib, the pacifier clip, the baby’s hat.
Listen, you’re doing fine. Being five minutes late isn’t that big of a deal. And your baby will survive without an extra bib, or whatever else you have unintentionally forgotten. You’re still figuring things out, and even if you never feel like you have it altogether, it’s all going to be okay. Stop letting the guilt eat at you, and enjoy being a mum.
By Jenny Tai