As my baby girl (who’s almost eight!) slept in the recovery room after having her tonsils and adenoids removed, I jumped at the opportunity to just stare at her beautiful face. She was so quiet and still and it has been a very, very long time since I was able to just drink her in. It felt just like when she was an infant and I held her inches from my own cheek to trace her tiny face with my finger. I can’t count the hours I spent just staring at her. I can tell you it wasn’t enough.
As new parents you have so many things to think about. You have all new worries and fears. There is suddenly have someone else to feed and way more laundry to clean. It’s easy sometimes to get caught up in your responsibilities. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned to help keep your eyes on the prize during those hazy days when your baby is so new.
- Take all the time they can to just marvel at your newest family member. Don’t worry about where you should be or what you could be doing or the mounting pile of dirty dishes in the sink. There will be plenty of time for those things later. This time of quiet and stillness and purity will disappear before you know it. Drink it in.
- Accept help. If someone asks what you need, tell them. There should be no pride in new parenting. People want to help and you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ll be eternally grateful for it later.
- Go easy on yourself. This time is magical but it is also overwhelming and terrifying and often those two emotions stand front and center-especially if you are someone who is used to controlling every aspect of your life. I will repeat what my pediatrician told me that saved my life (and possibly my little girl’s too). She said, “there’s nothing you can do in the first three months that is more important than loving that baby. You aren’t setting any behavior precedents in the first three months so don’t worry yet.” What does that mean? Don’t listen to what anyone says about crying babies or sleeping babies or feeding babies. Just love that baby. Pick her up when she cries. Let him sleep on your chest. Get sleep when you can, however you can and don’t worry about anything for the next few months except survival for all.
- And finally, just be still and stare at that sweet face (or faces) as often as you can. It all changes in an instant.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.