The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time, but can also leave new parents wondering if they’re getting it right. Parenting is something most people make up as they go. It feels overwhelming at times, but it helps if you and your partner are on the same team.
Here are some tips for new parents to make those early days more enjoyable.
1) Ask For Help…And Be Specific
Don’t make global negative statements like “I just want you to be a parent” or “I wish you were more involved.” These are vague and discouraging statements. Instead, ask your partner for exactly what you want.
For example, “I would like it if you could give the baby a bath tonight” or “Can you please be on diaper duty tomorrow?”
2) Let Each Other Help
Don’t expect each other to do everything exactly the same way. If what your partner is doing is good enough, leave it at that. Obviously, if there is a safety issue, don’t hesitate to step in and show how to keep the baby safe. Otherwise, practice letting each other handle situations without interference. Besides, you’ll appreciate the break.
3) Ask For Breaks – And Take Them!
Do this as early on as possible. Make it a habit for each of you to regularly get a free hour or two. All new parents need baby breaks. Spend time doing whatever helps you feel like yourself again – the person you were before you were a parent. It is much better to take a break than to feel like you are doing it all on your own – this will breed resentment.
4) Express Your Insecurities
As new parents, it is easy to get intimidated and avoid trying new things with your baby due to anxiety or lack of confidence. If you are feeling overwhelmed, share your experience with your partner. Use your mutual novice status as a bonding opportunity.
5) Share New Knowledge
You’re both new parents, so you’ll be learning as you go and it’s best to share everything you learn. For example, if you have found a great way to swaddle your little one, show your partner how to do it. Maybe they discovered a better way to soothe your crying baby. Pool your knowledge – you are a team.
6) Thank Your Partner
Express appreciation to your partner for being such a great parent. Brag about them to friends and family. Speak well of your partner in front of your baby (even if baby doesn’t understand yet). It helps create a positive atmosphere now, and it’s good practice for later.