- 10 mins
Tips and Tricks for New Caregivers
Congratulations! You’ve made it this far and now have a beautiful new addition to the family. How are you finding your first steps into parenthood? I don’t know what challenges you have faced or are still wrestling with: fertility issues, postnatal depression, breastfeeding demands, identity changes, poor mental health, balancing a career and a child, or something else. Or perhaps you have embraced all the layers of the parenting journey and things feel pretty good.
The last thing I want to do is make assumptions about how you are receiving this profoundly personal experience or offer unwelcome advice. I can only remember how my life felt capsized in those first few weeks and possibly months. A blurry mass of utter upheaval and unrest took over my depleted mind and body whilst dualistically feeling the most intensely profound love for another living being. It was a rollercoaster.
Now my children are eight and ten, it is now an experience I can now look back on with an odd sense of homesickness. Even though I couldn’t work out who or what I was becoming, the role of taking care of something so precious felt basic … and well bare, is the way I really want to put it. It just was. They are this tiny for the shortest time. In the blink of an eye. So read on for perhaps ‘less’ advice … and ‘more’ an offering of ideas to help you traverse this enormous life change.
Tips and Tricks for New Caregivers
Ask for help
It’s great to connect with other parents during this tender time. Our lovely Facebook Group Dreamy Bedtimes is a wonderful place to start as is perhaps an NCT workshop. Asking trusted friends or family to make you some food or take the baby out for a walk while you have a shower are great tips. Try to avoid letting too many people come over to ‘see’ the baby as then you may feel pressure for everything to be a certain way. Instead say ‘we would love some help while we are taking time to find our feet’. If you are struggling with your mental health please reach out to a suitably qualified professional as it’s essential to share how you feel. That goes for both moms and dads. First-time father anxiety can go unnoticed so dads need to open up too.
Find micro-moments of rest
I’ve used the term ‘micro’ specifically because they really will be small. Relishing a few moments while the baby is napping (probably on you) to take some nice long slow belly breaths can work wonders for activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This can help you to feel calmer and centered. Notice how your tummy expands as you breathe in and falls back when you breathe out. Notice too how the breath is cooler in the in-breath and warmer in the out-breath. Your baby will love the slow rise and fall of your breathing too. You could even pop on some Moshi Guitar to soothe both yourself and the baby.
Lower your expectations
In this culture of doing, you will simply have to be ok with doing less. Finding a rhythm that works for you and your family is the most important aspect. How other new parents are doing things may work out marvelously for them but not so much for you. You will need to push yourself less. If you were the birthing parent, it is crucial to let your body rest as much as possible. You may be experiencing hormonal fluctuations, post-birthing complications, feeding challenges, or sleep deprivation so taking time to heal is important.
Celebrate the tiny wins
This leads me into celebrating the small moments of satisfaction and how this can feel like self-care. Getting through the day, having a lovely feed, managing to put the dishwasher on, enjoying a warm drink, making it out of the house – all things which would have been super easy before. Observe them. While you’re there, praise yourself too. You really are awesome for doing this. Really.
We deeply honor your parenting journey and wish you many moments of joy. Follow @moshisleep if you like and let us know how you get on.