Having a new baby is one of the most joyous and most stressful events of your life. If your family has just welcomed a bundle of joy into your home, you will probably be experiencing a whole host of emotions.
Some of them may be expected, like joy and tenderness, and some might not be, like anguish or resentment.
If you’re a new parent or family member and have been feeling stress since your newborn’s arrival, don’t despair. Most families that welcome a newborn baby go through the same sorts of tensions; you’re not alone.
Here are 10 ways to help deal with the stress of life with a new baby.
Feel All the Feelings
When your new addition arrives at home, you may feel swamped with a slew of feelings, some welcome and some not. It’s important not to beat yourself up about the negative emotions; they happen to many new parents.
Guilt, sadness, resentment, and anger are normal after such a tremendous life change. Cut yourself some slack, and let yourself feel those feelings.
However, many new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which can develop into the more severe postpartum psychosis. This rarely happens, but it’s essential to know the warning signs.
If you feel more than simply overwhelmed by your emotions, experience intense anger or overreactions, or you visualize hurting yourself or your child, talk to a mental health professional.
Many new parents have a hard time bonding with their infant, especially after a challenging birth experience or if there’s trouble breastfeeding or with breastfeeding pain. Let yourself experience the full spectrum of your emotions. Bottling up the ones that make you uncomfortable will only make them stronger.
Make Sure To Get Your Exercise
Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk around the block, try and get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air. If getting out of the house seems too daunting, try an exercise video made specifically for new parents.
It doesn’t have to be too strenuous or athletic. It is important to allow your body time to rest and recover after birth. You want to exercise at an intensity that gets your blood flowing enough so that endorphins are released, and you feel a bit lighter on your feet.
Studies have shown that even a small amount of meditation can be beneficial for reducing stress and symptoms of postpartum depression after the birth of a new infant.
There are some wonderful apps and programs you can use for guided meditation, and they have some starter meditation sessions that are only a few minutes long; perfect for beginners.
Stretch Out With Yoga
Yoga is one of the most effective forms of exercise for someone who is stressed out, especially a new parent. Yoga has grown in popularity over the last few decades, and this popularity has also spawned lots of different types of yoga classes.
Online or face-to-face, look for a yoga class that caters to new mothers or fathers. Check out Yoga International, as they include gentle stretching and breathing exercises that are perfect for new parents.
Learn About Mindful Walking
If you can’t quite bring yourself to zen out with meditation or yoga, you can combine mindfulness and exercise with mindful walking. Many people use mindful walking as a way to center themselves, as they concentrate on matching their breathing to their gait.
If listening to your breathing is too dull, try a podcast to help you escape your day-to-day if only half an hour.
CBD Can Help You Feel Calm
Cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the industrial hemp plant and has been shown to help alleviate muscle aches and pains due to activity, and it can assuage skin issues. It can also help you balance out the stresses of your day-to-day life.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of having a new baby in the house, try some CBD tincture or edibles to help lessen the intensity.
However if you are breastfeeding, consult your physician before adding CBD products into your health and wellness routine.
Eat Quality Food
You’ve probably never felt busier in all your life when you welcome a new infant. When people are busy, their eating habits sometimes decline.
Foods that are high in sugar or super-processed aren’t good for your physical or emotional wellbeing. They can interfere with normal hormone production and exacerbate the intense feelings you’re experiencing.
Eat quality food that is nutritionally dense and plant-based to help you feel more balanced and make you feel better in the long run.
Escape by Watching Movies
The adage goes that you should sleep when the baby sleeps, but that’s not always possible. You want to have some moments to yourself, even if it’s just a few.
You can relax by watching Netflix or other streaming services and escaping into the many offerings these services have.
Ask For Help
This is one of the hardest tips on the list. If you’re so stressed that you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. You can ask for help from a family member or your partner to mind the baby for an hour while you take a break, or to help out with the housework or childcare to alleviate your stress.
If you’re solo parenting, talk to your doctor about resources available to new parents including affordable childcare, counselling, and single parent groups.
Just Keep Breathing
If all these tips don’t work for you, or they’re not up your alley, then remember this one. When the immense responsibility of raising a new human stresses you out, just take one deep breath. After that, take another, and then another.
Sometimes it’s not meditation, exercise, or quality food. Sometimes you simply need to keep doing what you’re doing. Time will pass, and these feelings will shift.
The Last Word
Try and be gentle with yourself. Even if you’re not the new mom, you’re most likely having extreme mood shifts due to sleep deprivation, anticipation, and the reality of having a brand-new human to look after.
There are some things you can do to mitigate these feelings. Eat quality food, try CBD, and ask for help when you need it. A new baby is not just a bundle of joy, they’re also joy, stress, resentment, and love; it’s a package deal.