It’s amazing how something so small can cause changes that are so big. Adjusting to being a new parent isn’t a small task. Though some may adjust easier than others, the adjustment is a big one for every parent. Loving something so fiercely will affect how much you worry about it.
The attention of both parents will shift, which can be more difficult than you expect. Sleeping patterns wont be the same for a while, which can make all of the other areas of life just a little bit harder. Breastfeeding creates a whole new adjustment schedule. And, just when you’ve adjusted to life with a newborn, your life will then adjust to your infant, and then to your toddler. With each new milestone, your life will adjust again.
You Will Question Everything
As a new parent, you’ll need to adjust to your new state of being in which you question everything. One of the strange things you’ll learn as a parent is that you become wary of every cough, every new person, and each decision you make. Basically, you’ll need to adjust to the fact that you won’t be 100 percent confident about much anymore. This part won’t last forever as you become more at ease with parenthood, but that timeframe is different for everyone. You’ll not only find yourself questioning your baby’s well-being at every turn, but you’ll also begin to question your abilities as a parent. Just remember not to make too many comparisons between you and other parents, and don’t rely on what your expectations were for parenthood.
There Will Be a Shift of Attention in Your Home
Naturally, the attention in your home will adjust along with everything else. If Saturday nights used to be date nights; dinners were spent talking about your day with your spouse; and mornings were spent taking a run with the dog, those things might change for a while. Saturdays might just be a night in; dinners might be eating when you have a minute; and mornings might be spent breastfeeding instead of going on a run.
Babies require a lot of attention, so you’ll have to sacrifice some of your attention for the baby. For both spouses, that can be a challenge. When your lives go from two to three, adjustments have to be made. This may cause resentment or jealousy, but that’s normal. Be sure to communicate and be patient through this period of transition.
Sleep Won’t Be the Same for a While
Sleep, precious sleep. Some parents can experience a 6 month sleep deficit in the first 2 years of their child’s life. There are a whole lot of things that happen to the body when it’s deprived of sleep. The immune system is weaker, you can feel irritable, and it may be hard to concentrate. In order to try to make up for the sleep deficit, sleep schedules probably won’t be the same for a while. Parents can get by with a series of power naps through the day, a practice that can be really beneficial to reduce stress and increase energy.
For a while, you will get really good at managing without sleep and bartering for sleep with your significant other. Though the advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps” is up there with one of the most common things you’ll hear as a new parent, that’s not always a possibility. But when it is, take advantage of it. Though you’ll get good at coping without sleep, it’s still really difficult.
Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy for Everyone
Many moms opt to try breastfeeding, and there’s really no way to know how you’ll do until you do it. For some mothers breastfeeding comes relatively naturally. For others, it’s a bit of a struggle. Unfortunately, some mothers can’t breastfeed at all. Even for moms who are able to breastfeed naturally, there’s an adjustment period to schedule your life around yet another aspect of motherhood. It’s a big adjustment to learn how to breastfeed, work through any issues you have, and get your baby on a schedule. For the time being, much of your plans will surround your breastfeeding schedule as well as your baby’s need in general. It can be difficult during this time if you do breastfeed while your spouse can’t help with that aspect of the baby’s needs.
The breastfeeding adjustment period is something that is a struggle for many first-time parents. You can seek support through online means, talking with mothers in your community, or by talking to the mothers you have close relationships with. Just know that your experience with breastfeeding, no matter what it is, is something many other mothers work through as well.
The Adjustments Will Continue Throughout Parenthood
Adjusting to life as a new parent is an ongoing process. The truth is that many things in your life will change, and they probably won’t ever go back to the way they were. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and with more experience comes more ways for you to learn how to adapt and work your life around your parenthood. Some mothers find that the initial time period after having a child can be overwhelming, but as you adjust you’ll be able to juggle a few different aspects of your life, not just the motherhood aspect. Though parenthood will probably be the overarching umbrella over the other areas of your life, you’ll slowly learn how to share time with your career, spouse, friends, and family.
Just know the adjustment period doesn’t stop with your newborn. Soon you’ll adjust to life with your toddler. Before you know it, you’ll be adjusting to life with your teenager. It’s Ok to deal with some of that time as a new parent taking care of yourself while adjusting to your new normal.
Becoming a new parent is a big shift in every aspect. The adjustment period is technically an ongoing process, but there are areas with more pain points than others. The very beginning can be difficult. You’ll question everything, your attention will shift, you’ll lose sleep, and you’ll focus plenty of your attention on breastfeeding. However, it gets easier with time. Soon your life as a parent will become your new normal. Though things will be constantly adjusting, you’ll feel more comfortable with parenthood being the new center of your life.