You’ve carefully thought through your baby registry, and now you’ve assembled all the right equipment. Stroller: check. Car seat: check. Adorable nursery? Check. Diaper bag: packed and ready. You are fully prepared to welcome your baby into your home. But how will you welcome her into your life? More precisely, how will you welcome her into the calm, harmonious family life you intend to create?
It’s an important question. As President of Nested Bean, makers of soothing infant sleepwear, I’ve observed that many new parents underestimate the stressful impact a newborn can have on their sleep, their household, and their jobs over the first few months. And that stress can affect their baby’s sleep cycles, mood and behavior. Babies learn what thy live: if parents are anxious, their baby will be too. So how can you prepare to raise a calm child?
New tools, old rules
There are definitely some essentials you’ll need to create a serene and healthy home for your new baby. But you won’t find all of them in stores.
For example, in many eastern cultures, such as India, where I was raised, the concept of a registry is still quite foreign: planning for a baby means having the gift of many loving hands. There, a new baby’s arrival brings more than just “stuff”.
Your list, your way
This got me thinking: if I could help new parents create a registry to ensure a true sense of calm after their baby’s arrival, what would that registry look like?
The ultimate baby registry
What if we could add these to our registry or make a quick #targetrun for any of them. Imagine that! ‘Honey, can you get me some pats-on-the-back on your way back from work? We used up our last ones and I think I need a refill especially after today’s episode with colic.”
I’d like to tell you a secret; even though you may not be able to pick up these stress-relievers on a #targetrun or on Prime (just yet), you can include more of them in your life:
1. Sleep…sweet uninterrupted sleep. YAAAS!
In an 8-hour period, a new mom wakes up 2 to 3 times for 30 mins or more each time, to feed and change the baby. This fragmented way of sleeping for an extended period of time can have a severe impact on your mood and calm state of mind. Understanding the Basics of Newborn Sleep gives new parents the knowledge of how their baby’s sleep will change over the first few weeks and months and prepares them with tips to help the baby develop the right sleep habits. Although a newborn will show no predictable sleep schedule at first, by the age of 6 weeks a sleep pattern will emerge. Maintaining a schedule at this point will help your baby gain sleep maturity sooner.
2. A clean home, folded laundry, dishes clean and nutritious food ready
The ability to keep an organized home is the first to go out the window when time gets meager with a new baby. If this bothers you, plan for help with the mundane chores and your sanity will be saved. Add the “Help and Favor Coupons” on your babylist.com registry, which gives family and friends the option to sign up for light chores, such as food, laundry, dishes or errands. If you don’t know many in the town you live in, then plan to hire a parent’s helper from care.com or any other such service, who can work flexible hours if you cannot afford a full-time nanny.
3. A mind-reader for a partner
4. Pats-on-back, gratitude and forgiveness
5. Hugs, belly-laughs or just a warm smile
Well, it’s safe to say that #3 doesn’t exist. The key is to keep an open communication with your partner. Mastering equal parenting early on sets the right tone for a lifetime of shared responsibilities. We have an article to help you start on the right footing. These 3 tips show you how you can “plan” to share the night-time feeds, pre-bedtime routines etc.
Practice the 5 magic words regularly. Appreciating one another on braving this new parent thing like a champ or making a great team, will go a long way. Remember, if you have a healthy and thriving baby, you’ve got the most important part covered, so don’t sweat the small stuff.
6. A supportive friend who just gets what you are going through
The concept of communities for new parents, single parents, stay at home moms or dads, working parents, that has grown over the last few years is a god-send. Become a part of a few such communities before you have a baby. This will give you a chance to see how it is moderated, to make sure it is a judgment-free zone. These parents will become your virtual best friends and will know exactly what to say when you need support, in a way that your bestie may not, in case he or she has not had a baby yet.
7. A quiet space, just for you when you need it
Apps like CALM are teaching all of us how important it is to take short breaks from the day to day stress. This applies just as much to new parents. Giving yourself some time to take a break to recharge is necessary. Practicing calming techniques is like carving out a small quiet space for
When you feel yourself getting overworked, if possible, leave the scene for a few minutes. Once physically away from the stressors, take a slow and deep breath, hold for 10 seconds and then let it out slowly. Repeat it three times.
Calming gifts, sweet rewards
Of course, only you can create your perfect version of calm. And with a little planning, patience and tools like our Take Charge of Your Sleep Action Plan , you can make it a reality--one that brings harmony to your household, comfort to your baby, and incredible rewards for you. As you embark on the most amazing journey you’ll ever experience, I’d like to leave you with a scene from one of my favorite movies, Lost in Translation:
Bob: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.
The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.
Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.
Bob: Your life, as you know it... is gone. But they learn how to walk, they learn how to talk... and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
Charlotte: That's nice.