It is not selfish but necessary for you to be able to navigate the challenges of parenthood and keep your self-identity and mental health intact. It is easy to begin to neglect our own needs whilst meeting the needs of your baby. It starts with skipping your morning coffee or shower because the feed is due.
Daily self-care can be as simple as eating well, getting enough hydration and allowing yourself time to listen to some music instead of doing the washing up right now.
Taking a nap in the afternoon may sound luxurious, however it will allow you some extra fuel in the tank and patience to help you navigate what can be the most challenging time of the day with a baby… the dreaded bedtime routine.
Daily practices of yoga, meditation or exercise are essential for you to keep in touch with what your body needs whilst practicing calm and centred mindfulness. When faced with the chaos of having a newborn, it helps to be able to start the day with the least amount of stress possible.
Is there a chance that prior to bringing your baby home you may have been working fulltime? Often when this is the case, we have been putting off things like going to the physio, chiropractor or dentist because we have been too busy.
Use this time at home with your baby to tick off the list of appointments you may have been putting off and use this time to look after yourself as well as your new baby!
MAINTAINING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER.
Going from a couple to parents can be a challenging transition. If you already have a healthy communication style established, that is half the battle.
Conversations about how you would like to raise your child before they are born are helpful to gauge if you are on the same page as your partner.
Being able to holistically support your partner and have their back, creates a trusting relationship where vulnerability and authenticity can thrive.
The more you understand yourself, what you need from your partner and what you are comfortable to give in return, the more open you can be to support each other in times of stress.
They say, "it takes a village to raise a child”. This is absolutely correct! Raising a child, keeping sane and maintaining a relationship is exhausting to say the least. Having a support network of family, friends and neighbours gives you as a couple an opportunity to regroup and reconnect. It is ok to crave time just with your partner, this is healthy. A strong relationship ultimately creates a strong family.
Tough times and tough conversations are inevitable when creating a family. Dealing with these times calls for courage, vulnerability, respect and love. But I promise, by working through the tough times together, you will become closer, learn more about each other and ultimately find a depth of love you could never imagine existed.
MINDFUL PARENTING. (Preparation decreases stress and practice increases confidence)
Getting to know your baby will be a process. As each day passes, you will become more familiar with their temperament, personality and individual needs.
You will begin to notice immediately that your baby will display early cues to give you an idea of what they need.
For example: putting their hand to their mouth can be a sign of wanting a bottle. Likewise making fists, frowning and yawning are tired signs that they need to be put to bed for a rest.
As they grow into a toddler, you will go through periods where you feel in sync or out of sync with what your child needs.
Often these times occur around periods of developmental milestones. Their world has been temporarily turned upside down as they prepare to crawl, walk or toilet train.
Children experience floods of emotion which can overwhelm them to a point of meltdown which we interpret as “tantrums”. Supporting your child as they take on new challenges which are frustrating them lets them know they are important and that you deeply care about them even when they are acting in a challenging way.
Rachael also runs Dads Hive for new dads in the LGBTIQA+ community. The DADS HIVE Program was created in response to a need in our LGBTIQA+ community for individualised support to couples and individuals who have chosen to become parents through adoption, using a surrogate or opting to co-parent, to provide them with an opportunity to become well-informed and confident parents!