TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME PARENTS

Helpful tips to help stay sane as a new parent,  nurture your relationship as well as your new baby.


First-time parenthood is a miracle, but it can put strain on your relationship. Here’s our five-step first-time parenting plan.

DRAW UP A COUPLE PLAN
Sit down together and draw up an ‘action plan’. Agree on how you will deal with issues like bossy or intrusive visitors as well as how you’ll each be able to take ‘metime’. Also work out a balanced schedule for night-duty shifts.

BREAK FROM INTENSE INTERESTS
Running the Soweto Marathon or taking part in a huge cycle race should probably wait six months to a year. You’ll want to channel all your energy towards a solid routine for the baby, work and restorative downtime together.

SCHEDULE DATE NIGHTS
Often when you welcome a child into your lives, your relationship takes a back seat. One way to stay connected to your partner is to ensure that you make time for each other. Schedule a night out or other outing without the baby to keep your spark alive. Try for once a week from the six-week mark, by leaving the baby with a trusted friend, relative or housekeeper, and getting out there for a dinner, picnic, walk or browse in the shops, in which the focus can shift solidly to your relationship.

LET BABY TEACH YOU
Having a child in the picture puts a new spin on your life and career. One or both parents might benefit from taking a step down on the career ladder, in the first year at least, to give yourselves more time at home.

It might be a lower-paying position but while baby is really small you don’t need the stress of a demanding high-paid job that requires frequent travel and long hours. No matter how ambitious you were before baby arrived, his or her health and happiness will take priority. Go with it and enjoy the (probably short-lived) mind shift.

OUTSOURCE, WHERE POSSIBLE
Invest in reasonably priced services that free up your time for more important things such as sleep and couple time!

Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, gardening and laundry can all be outsourced, making life easier for both of you and giving baby the benefit of more relaxed parents. If you don’t have the spare cash to pay for these services, but a friend or relative offers to help out, take them up on the offer. You can repay them in kind when baby is a little older.

“NO MATTER HOW AMBITIOUS YOU WERE BEFORE BABY ARRIVED, HIS OR HER HEALTH AND HAPPINESS WILL TAKE PRIORITY.”

ADVICE FROM THE PRO
Parenting is difficult, but particularly if you have a colicky baby. Registered counselor Frances Ward suggests ways for new parents to cope with colic.

Our son has spent most of the first three months of his life screaming. It’s putting a strain on our marriage, as most nights involve broken sleep and pacing up and down for one or both of us. Please help!

Frances advises: Remembering that this will pass can be useful. Being able to take shifts with your partner, nanny and/or others can give parents a much-needed break. Even half an hour of time out can ground you. While all babies require their caregivers’ full attention, your own mental health is vital. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, so that you and your baby can make it through each day in such a way that there will be many wonderful moments of togetherness and fun, in between the colicky outbursts. Deep breaths.


By Vanessa Rogers

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TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME PARENTS TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME PARENTS Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on March 06, 2018 Rating: 5

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