Preparing to be new parents

The biggest decision in our life is to be a parent. It is a miracle decision because you provide the life continuity. During this impressive process, new parents need to prepare their self for huge changes in their life.

According to contemporary studies about parenting process, in this lesson you will learn useful tips how to adjusting to parenthood successfully.

The birth of a baby will bring about many changes in the lives of new parents. Many of these changes are ones that new parents are more than willing to make. Many will be easy to adjust to. However, the lives of new parents often changes in ways that neither new parents anticipated. In this lesson are some tips for new parents should expect and prepare for after their children born.

Pregnancy on the other hand, is the first step of changes for new parents. It is a amazing process but for some new mothers can be stressful period filled with anxiety, changes of humor, emotional, physical changes because all the hormones in woman body change their drops. During this time the relationships with key people such as partners, family and friends are also altered. According with thoughts of dr. Sofia Rallis can emphases that as a result, it is common for expectant and new parents to experience a complex array of thoughts and feelings, in response to these changes including a sense of loss for their ‘old’ self or life. A significant number of parents find that pregnancy and parenthood is more challenging than they expected and requires a considerable level of adjustment. They may feel disappointment or shame because they are not coping as well as they thought they would, or guilt because they feel frustrated and resentful. It is important that parents recognize and acknowledge both the joyous and distressing emotions that can be experienced as they adjust to their ‘new’ life; and to be mindful of when additional support may be needed to help manage the more difficult emotions.

Some of the most common challenges experienced by new parents include:

  • Recovering from birth while also caring for a newborn (and possibly other children)– recovering from birth while also meeting the demands of a newborn can be particularly challenging. Recovery may also be affected by a caesarean or complicated delivery, if the birth experience was traumatic, or if you were dissatisfied with the quality of care you received.
  • Feeding difficulties – for some women breastfeeding comes ‘easily’ and may be a relatively straight forward process. However, for a significant number of women breastfeeding can be difficult to establish for various reasons, and may be a rather different experience than what you expected or hoped for. Painful conditions such as difficulties with latching-on, cracked nipples and mastitis may be experienced throughout the breastfeeding period adding to the physical and emotional distress. Some women may not be able to establish breastfeeding, which can also be a source of stress if there was a strong desire to do so.
  • Lack of sleep– every new parent experiences a degree of fatigue and lack of sleep. This can impact on your mood, energy, motivation, patience and ability to think clearly and make decisions. The exhaustion experienced as a result of prolonged lack of sleep can also make it difficult to adapt to what is usually a very demanding infant feeding and settling schedule.
  • Feeling overly emotional– most new parents will have some days or periods where they are feeling ‘more emotional’ than usual. This is often exacerbated by lack of sleep and/or a sense of being overwhelmed or ‘not in control’ of things.
  • Coping with an unsettled baby – every baby brings with it its own unique temperament, with some being more unsettled than others. This can place additional demands on your patience, coping resources and may affect your feelings towards your baby.
  • Bonding with your baby and understanding your baby’s cues– there are lots of reasons why it may take longer than you expected to develop a strong connection with your baby. It is important to remember that the parent-infant bond can take time to establish and it is not always ‘love at first sight’. Most parents need some time to ‘get to know’ their baby. This will often include getting to know their temperament, their likes and dislikes, and how they communicate their needs to others. Babies don’t come with a manual (as nice as that would be sometimes!) so it is not uncommon for new parents to feel unsure or confused about what their baby needs/wants and how to best respond. Effective parenting involves learning a new set of skills; just like any other skill in life time and practice is one of the few things that helps it get easier.
  • Body image disturbances– pregnancy and birth are associated with many physical changes. It can take time to adjust to the way you look and feel, particularly as you recover from the birth experience. This may impact on your self-esteem and body image, particularly if you are finding it difficult to find time to focus on your own health and fitness.
  • Managing priorities – it can seem like an impossible task trying to find time for all the household tasks, while also meeting the needs of your baby, other children you may have, as well as your own. You may need to accept that you need to ‘let go’ of some things for a while and instead priorities the most important tasks/demands each day.
  • Managing the expectations and advice from others – it is almost a certainty that endless advice will come your way as you try to navigate through the early days of parenthood. This can leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused and at times you may question yourself and your decisions. As hard as it might be, trust yourself and your instinct, even when you’re feeling unsure about how to handle a situation. Remember that you are the expert on your baby and that sometimes the only way to work out what works best is by trial and error.
  • Changes to your sense of self– new parents often struggle with the changes to their personal identity. This is often due to a number of factors such as ‘losing’ your work role and status, even if only for a short period of time, loss of your social life as you knew it as well as a loss of independence and sense of freedom.
  • Changes in the relationship with your partner– the partner/couple relationship changes considerably as you go through the process of adjusting from being partners to parents. Common areas of tension often include different ideas on how to care for the baby; managing familial expectations, division of labour and changes in attitude and needs towards physical intimacy.
  • Changes in family dynamics – changes in the family dynamics, both immediate and extended, are extremely common. Where present, new parents often have to navigate through a change in the dynamic in the relationship with their own parents, as the ‘child’ has now become the ‘parent’. You may hold different beliefs about parenting approaches, health beliefs, and priorities in general. You may spend more or less time with family, depending on your circumstances, with each situation posing different challenges. It may take some time to get a good sense of where and how everyone fits into the ‘new’ picture.

Most of the new parents feel total exhaustion after their baby arrives, but few of them are prepared for just how tired they will really be. They feel exhausted by not only hard work of childbirth, but they may also find that because of their new babies’ schedule, they rarely get to sleep more than a few hours at a time. This is why it is important for both parents to get all of the rest that they can.

Unpredictable emotions are very common during first months often baby arrives.  According to Daniel S Stern (2014) and other parenting studies can estimated that 50% of all new mothers experience some degree of postpartum depression.  It most commonly occurs around the third day after delivery, but it cans strike at any time during the first year. It is commonly believed that dropping levels of estrogen and progesterone trigger the depression that many new mothers feel.

After that, most of you will face with variety of advices from your close family members to friends which will offer you some bit of parenting advice. Some well-meaning friends or family members may even tell you what are you doing “well” and what you are doing “wrong”. The parenting consulting workers suggest you to tune out most of the advice they the relatives will be getting about child care and parenting process. You will learn from the practice.

Of course that in your life will happen major changes in your everyday life routine and in your relationship too. First of all the change from two people to a three person group is a pretty big one. New parents may notice big changes in themselves and in their mates. During this stage, it is very important new parents to know that it is a transitional phase, and things will get easer as they adjust to the role of being parent. Most of you will provide feelings of doubt and ambivalence but these feelings are normal. Parenting is a big responsibility, and many new parents find themselves wondering if they can handle it, and wondering if they made the right decision in having a baby.

The common and important things that you as new parents need to do are:

  • To have lower expectations from yourself and your partner about perfection.
  • To take special care to nurture relationships with partners. If you want to have solid family, you need to have solid marriage.
  • You need to have lower housekeeping standards.
  • Create stimulation environment to interact with your baby. Parents who provide a stimulating environment for their children are letting them know that they are important for their parents.
  • Provide love for your baby. A close relationship with parents or caregivers is necessary for normal development.
  • Interact with your baby. Parents should take every opportunity to talk and sing to their babies.
  • Get to know your baby. Parents should discover what their babies like and dislike. In this way parents can learn what their babies need and want in the form of interaction.
  • Enjoy your baby. Parents should not worry about their babies’ performance but they need just to relax and enjoy the time with their babies.
  • Give your baby space, although it is important that parents pay attention to their infants, they should know when to leave the baby alone because if the parents solve every problem for their children, they won’t learn how to solve problems on their own.
  • Let your baby lead. Parents who let their baby take the lead are letting their babies know that their interests are important.
  • Interact with your baby in right time. Parents should remember that infants have very short attention spans so the best time for parents to stimulate and play with their babies is during active wakefulness for physical activities and during quiet wakefulness for other types of learning.

In the end of this lesson can say that a parent provided experience might influence the infant at a particular time point in a particular way, and the consequence for the infant endures independent of later parenting and of any other contribution of the infant. Theoreticians and researchers have long supposed that the child’s earliest experiences affect the course of later development (Plato, ca. 355 B.C.). This “early experience” model is consonant with a sensitive period interpretation of parenting effects (e.g., Bornstein, 1989b), and data derived from ethology, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and neuropsychology support this model.

Further information:

  • Stern, Daniel N ; Rizzolatti, Giacomo, ISSN: 1749-5016 ;  Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2014, Vol. 9(7), pp.951-960
  • Okagaki, L., & Bingham, G. E. (2006). Parents’ social cognitions and their parenting behaviors. In L. O.
  • Tom Luster (Ed.), Parenting: An ecological perspective (Vol. 2, pp. 3-34). New York: Routledge.
  • Dawson-McClure, S., Calzada, E., Huang, K.-Y., Kamboukos, D., Rhule, D., Kolawole, B., et al.
  • (2015). A population-level approach to promoting healthy child development and school success in lowincome, urban neighborhoods: impact on parenting and child conduct problems. Prevention Science, 16(2), 279-290.
  • Rowe, M. L., Denmark, N., Harden, B. J., & Stapleton, L. M. (2016). The role of parent education and parenting knowledge in children’s language and literacy skills among White, Black, and Latino families. Infant and Child Development.
  • Dichtelmiller, M., Meisels, S. J., Plunkett, J. W., Bozytnski, M. E. A., Claflin, C., & Mangelsdorf, S. C. (1992). The relationship of parental knowledge to the development of extremely low birth weight infants. Journal of Early Intervention, 16(3), 210-220.
  • Bowlby, J. (2008). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic Books.
  • Chung-Park, M. S. (2012). Knowledge, opinions, and practices of infant sleep position among parents. Military medicine, 177(2), 235.

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