Ask for and accept help.
The physical and emotional demands of caring for a newborn are intense. Compound those demands with functioning on too little sleep and after a week you may forget why you wanted to become a parent. Simple things like preparing a meal can seem daunting, so if someone offers to bring you food, say yes! Set your new family up for success by organizing help before you go in to the hospital and accepting help when you come home.
Find a pediatrician you like.
Choose a pediatrician who offers practical advice, knows how to listen, and gives you peace of mind. Your pediatrician should ease your fears of calling with too many questions, especially in the first 30 days. Interview several so that you find a pediatrician whose philosophy and approach mesh with yours.
Incorporate time-saving products and services into your daily routine, when you can.
Without a doubt, parenting is one of the richest and most satisfying roles we play. It is also filled with repetitive, routine tasks that can zap our best energy. There has been an explosion of modern conveniences designed to save you time and sanity. Take advantage of them.
Keep your expectations flexible and don’t worry when things don’t go as planned.
Life as you knew it gets turned upside down when you become a parent. Learn to be forgiving and flexible about what matters. Develop good enough standards for things you simply won’t have the time or energy for during that first month and possibly longer.
This may sound obvious, but take care of yourself.
My best advice can be found in the pages of the airline passenger safety manual. The flight attendant says, “Parents, put your oxygen masks on first and then help your child.” She does not say, “Help your child first and then pass out from lack of oxygen.” This is an important life lesson: give yourself enough so that you have enough to give your child. Eat right, rest, relax, laugh, stay connected to people who support you. Do whatever you need to feel whole so that you can love your child wholeheartedly.
Advice on Making Change Easier
Define short and long term outcomes
What do you want? What would represent success in a month? In three months? In a year? When you reach your 30-day goal, how do you want to mark it? Do you want to celebrate each milestone along the way?
Surround yourself with support from others
What kind of support do you need? In person? On the phone? Online? Do you need support everyday or every week? Also, are there people who will not support your efforts? Will you involve them or would it be best not to?
Manage your thoughts and feelings
Identify emotional and thought triggers that have led to self-defeating behavior in the past. Have a response planned for each that will help you stay on course. Replace discouraging self messages with empowering beliefs and self talk: “I can do it. I’m worth doing it.”
Prepare yourself for change
Determine what tools you will need to succeed. Review your past successes and identify the key strategies that worked. Plan how to incorporate them in the change you want to make now.
What motivates you?
Identify what it will take to stay motivated in healthy, constructive ways. For example, if feeling better about your health is a motivating force, remind yourself that every positive step you take brings you closer to a healthier you!
Paula Statman, M.S.S.W. is an internationally respected educator, speaker and award-winning author. Her practical, positive approach to raising safe and strong children has benefited hundreds of thousands of parents. Paula is a repeat guest on Oprah and the Today Show, has appeared on more than 200 radio and television programs, and is featured in publications such as Parents, Child, Redbook, and USA Today.com. The founder and director KidWISE Institute, Paula lives in Oakland, California with her husband and daughter. For more information visit kidwisecorner.com.
Featured on Oprah and the Today Show and selected by a Book of the Month Club, this award-winning, updated edition (formerly titled "On the Safe Side"), is the definitive book on teaching personal safety and other necessary skills for today's world. ...