Got a new baby? Stressed? Here's help

You longed for your baby to arrive, but weeks of sleepless nights, endless feeds take a toll. We have suggestions…

Got a new baby? Stressed? Here's help

From being a DINK (double income, no kids) couple who could jet off at a whim, you’re now facing a needy, inconsolable baby who just won’t sleep.

Being a new mum is a total shock to the system. Suddenly, you’re handling a crying, colicky baby when you used to go anywhere, do whatever you wanted to. Yet, cabin fever and feelings of loneliness are just two of your concerns.

Here are ways to lessen the stress, so that you’ll feel more calm and ready to tackle the next round of dirty diapers, feedings and rest-deprived days.

1. Find a friend

Join a mum-and-baby group or meet a friend who also has a baby. Sharing experiences is one of the best ways to stay sane.

2. Cut yourself some slack

Everything takes longer and is more complicated with a baby in tow, so don’t worry if you’re not dressed and out of the house, with all the housework done, by 11am. It’s far more damaging to get yourself — and your baby — worked up while rushing around just to achieve a certain goal.

3. Hire help

Hire a confinement lady to help you ease into your new life as a mum. After giving birth, what you need most is to rest and nurse your baby. The nannies at PEM Confinement Nanny Agency are armed with TCM and breastfeeding knowledge and are at hand, 24 hours, to look after both mum and babe. Call 6293-9249 or visit www.pemconfinement.com for more information.

4 Get moving

Take your baby for a walk in the park to get some fresh air, go for a stroll to the town centre, or join a mum-and-baby exercise class — it’ll be good for both of you.

5. RELAX. Really.

Find something that you enjoy and do it every day while your baby naps, such as a 10-minute yoga stretch or simply sitting and breathing deeply for a few minutes.

6. If you are sick, BE SICK and don’t pretend

You need to allow yourself time to recover, especially now that you’re looking after your baby as well as yourself. Do the bare minimum to keep yourself and your little one well cared for. Chores? Dirty floors? All can wait.

7. Get enough rest

It’s easier said than done when your baby wakes you up every few hours in the night, but you can make up for it in the daytime by relaxing while your baby naps — don’t use that time to get the washing or other jobs done. Your husband can help with those.

8. Gather support

You are a Superwoman, but you are also human. Ask for help — your mum, mother-in-law, sister or friends would be more than willing to lend a hand. And if someone you trust offers to take care of your baby for a couple of hours, say yes.

9. Don’t care what others think

So what if Supermum purées fresh spinach every night, or your friend’s tot is walking at 10 months? Never doubt the quality of your love, or that you’re doing the best you can for YOUR child.

10. Have a hobby

So you’ve signed junior up for a baby-signing class, but don’t forget about yourself! You need to learn and grow, too. Having a hobby or other creative outlet can help you relieve stress, lift your spirits, and help you maintain your identity as a person, and not just a parent.

11. Avoid smoking, alcohol, coffee or drugs

They might make you feel better in the short term, but when you’re already sleep-deprived, they’ll make you feel worse.

12. Enjoy “me” time

Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself occasionally to pedicures and haircuts — great quick fixes when you’re feeling in the dumps.

13. Take care of your body

Follow a healthy diet that will stabilise your blood-sugar levels and keep mood swings at bay. Maintain a regular exercise routine: It releases endorphins and tension and lowers cortisol, the stress hormones. It doesn’t have to be marathon training, just a nice walk outdoors with baby could do the trick.

14. Be money smart

Having a baby is expensive. Plan out your finances and learn money management techniques beforehand. That way, you’ll feel more in control of your money situation.

15. Make time for your friends

Not just the baby-mummy ones. Your old friends will remind you of who you used to be, before you became “The Mother”.

16. Listen to your child

Sometimes, he just won’t sleep at the scheduled naptime. Rather than getting stressed about it, relax and let your child take the lead. Maybe he just wants to play for a while or has grown out of that sleeping schedule.

17. All this will pass

While it can be overwhelming dealing with the needs of an infant, you will be amazed by how quickly the phase has passed when it is over. Try to enjoy every moment you have with your baby.

18. Avoid arguments

Babies naturally put a strain on your relationships with your family and friends. Explain how you’re feeling. If your hormones are playing havoc with your moods, say so. You’ll be surprised how helpful others can be when they understand what’s going on. If you still feel like blowing your top, leave the room and have a shower. After that, you’ll be wondering what you were so angry about.

19. Set a date night

While in the whirlwind of caring for your little sweetie, don’t forget your husband. Have a date to reconnect.

20. Accept that your life has changed for good

Your baby takes up all of your time and energy at the moment, and you might be wondering when you’ll get some semblance of your old life back. The answer is, never! You’ve got a different, better life now that you are a mum — and you have a wonderful little addition to your family to love and nurture.

Photos: INGimages

Like us on Facebook and check SmartParents regularly for the latest reads!

Elsewhere on SmartParents.sg...

Baby or work — 5 points to help you decide

Are you feeling blue or is it postnatal depression

4 ways to baby-proof your marriage