Becoming a parent is the most amazing thing that ever happened to you. After reading the books about preparing for your baby, and listening to the advice of your friends, you felt completely ready. You knew there would be challenges, but you were going to manage them easily.
And then, your baby was born, and you realized all the books in the world can’t fully prepare you for the joy you feel. But along with this immeasurable joy comes challenges you never expected. Or at least, you never expected them to be quite so big.
If you are honest, you realize there are many things about being a parent that have surprised you. Sometimes, you wish you had more information on coping. These tips will help you understand that you aren’t alone with your feelings and frustrations, and that there are ways to deal with the unexpected challenges you face as a new parent.
Will I ever sleep again?
Ask any new parent what the biggest challenge is, and he will say, not enough sleep. The funny thing is, it’s not a secret. You know from your friends with children, and from your own parents, that a baby changes your sleep patterns. This is one area where you need to ask for help – from each other, from friends, and from paid staff. Lack of sleep causes stress, and that impacts your baby.
Will I ever have spending money again?
Your bundle of joy costs a bundle of cash. Discretionary income for vacations, house upgrades, even the hair stylist, will often take second priority to the expenses of your child. And you realize it goes way beyond meeting the basic needs. You now have to plan for the baby’s future education, from day care to college. You have to provide for his health care from pre-natal costs onward.
Enlisting the help of a financial planner is a great way to relieve your stress about finances. The planner will assess your situation and determine exactly what you can do with your income. If you tell the advisor you want to keep traveling, he or she will help you maintain this lifestyle choice. If you decide you want your baby to go to an Ivy League school, the advisor will tell you how to make that happen. Once you have a plan in place, you will feel much more prepared for the financial future.
How can I get anything done?
Once your baby arrives, you discover how difficult it is to accomplish even simple tasks. You don’t want to leave her alone, but you also have to get things done. Having a way to safely clean the house, do some work, or just use the bathroom suddenly takes much more planning. One solution, aside from hiring a nanny, is to find activities that will engage your baby’s attention while you do short jobs around the house. A baby play gym will do just that; they feature fun developmental activities that will keep your baby occupied, so while you are Skyping with clients or doing laundry, your baby can safely learn and play.
Finding a website that has a range of baby essentials these days is easy, so you don’t have to worry about searching very long for the best baby play gym for your little one.
Why won’t she eat?
Though it’s the most natural thing in the world, breast feeding is not easy if you’ve never done it before. You’ll need to learn and practice techniques to successfully nurse. The important thing is to stay calm, because it can be unsettling and fatiguing when you feel your baby isn’t getting nutrition. If your baby does not nurse well, there are many resources to help you. A lactation consultant can help you learn different approaches to get your baby eating well. You should also consult your physician in case your baby has issues with neck pain, reflux or some other problem. You can even switch to bottle feeding, in tandem with nursing or on its own, if that’s the best way to give you and your baby peace of mind.
Are my spouse and I ever going to be alone again?
Being alone may be the least of your worries, as navigating your relationship can be difficult with a baby. The miracle you thought would strengthen your bond can actually stress it, as you work out care responsibilities, and your shifting schedules. Be sure to communicate with each other. It’s new territory for both of you, so don’t assume your spouse knows what you need. Set aside time to be alone together, whether it’s a date night, or a walk around the block. The investment in a babysitter is an investment in your relationship.
You don’t have to be discouraged at some of the more challenging aspects of being a parent. There are resources and ways to cope with the challenges. Before you know it, you’ll be building your beautiful new life with your baby.