The first week of parenting is probably the toughest experience you will ever face. This is not because of how hard it is to care for your baby. If this is your first child, it may be a transition, but it is not inherently difficult and comes naturally – it is the most natural thing in the world. You have a beautiful baby that only requires love and food. What makes the first week tough is the pressure we place on ourselves.
We are anxious creatures and when you realize this perfect child is entirely in your care, it can be the thing that pushes parents over the edge. The enormity of the task at hand can give rise to postpartum depression and anxiety not to mention the physiological changes a new mom will experience. Obviously, the advantages of parenthood outweigh the challenges, but it would be wrong to say that it is without its challenges.
Rest assured there are ways to cope. Keeping your baby safe in the first few weeks can be one way to keep anxiety at bay. Something parents have anxiety in regards to is how to transport their baby from the hospital to their home. Obviously, it is ideal to already own a car seat. Your baby must be positioned rear facing in their car seat when they are a newborn. The best convertible car seat is perfect for this. You should never buy a used car seat – you can read why not here. Choosing the best convertible car seat can increase the amount of time your child spends rear facing – the safest way to have them positioned.
Do not worry too much about the type of stroller you will use in the first week. You will likely be too tired to get out and should spend time resting and nurturing your baby. One thing you will notice is that newborn babies are incredibly vulnerable and it is just not possible to put them into a stroller that is not completely secure.
Appropriate clothing can also help keep your baby safe. Do not underestimate your baby’s ability to injure themself (or you) – their nails can be like claws! Make sure you have plenty of diapers (if you are planning on using disposables ones) and powder to ensure your baby avoids a rash. Their skin is extra sensitive during this time, and so precaution is needed to keep them comfortable.
It is important to note that your body will be going through a lot of changes during this stage. It is normal to feel up and down. Read this mums story of how she surived the first week. Although it can be hard in practice, you should not feel bad for struggling or asking for help. Everyone will handle the experience of parenthood differently and having a support network will help greatly. The same goes for dads – they can often be forgotten. A new dad may be experiencing anxiety in regards to caring for their child. It is important to encourage them to talk about their concerns so that they can be addressed and worked through.
If you have the flexibility to take time off work, then it is recommended that you do this. Take as much time as you need. Not only will be it beneficial to your own mental health, but this is a crucial time in the life of your baby and milestones will occur quickly. It can be devastating to miss out on watching your child grow and an amazing experience when you witness them.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. During this time, you will need as much support as you can get. Do not deny visits from friends and family that want to meet the baby and see how you are doing. Although it can be tempting to spend time in bed, it is best not to lock yourself away. Locking yourself away from the world can give rise to symptoms of postpartum depression. By surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family, you can make this one of the most amazing bonding experiences of your life and can look forward to a bright and exciting future with your child.