If the topic 'new-parent' appeared on Family Fortunes, what would you expect to see on the board? Breastfeeding, joy, lack of sleep, stress, pride?
Despite the almost endless list of things we would expect to see, we would guess 'relaxation' is not too high up there. We're quick to imagine a sleeping baby, but rarely a relaxing parent, why is that? Relaxation as a parent should not be a taboo, surely it should be part of being the best parent possible by looking after yourself. In recent weeks, we've explored worries for new mothers (here) and fathers (here), now it's time we began looking at some ways to relax as a new parent. So, sit down, get a mug (of tea: we'll explain later) and let's discuss relaxation.
Don't take things too seriously
As a new parent, you are about to take on the greatest role of your life, a lifelong challenge to care for and raise another human. That's somewhat daunting, admit it, it's actually extraordinarily daunting. When you admit this, you and your partner can begin accepting the mammoth task ahead but you can also begin to enjoy the challenge.
Yes, you will be up in the dead of night, your home will smell different and your appearance may...alter. But, stressing about these things won't improve them, in fact laughing is all you can really do at certain points. When your partner laughs, jokes and isn't stressing enjoy it, both parents will have time to be overwhelmed. Embrace each other's humour when possible, your new life will present challenges but there are moments of relief.
Don't feel trapped in your home
Will you spend more time at home? Yes. Is that completely a bad thing? Nope. Before your baby arrives, plan your pregnancy staycation. We know that your sojourn at home won't be a picnic, so collect a few books you'd like to read or create a Netflix hitlist. Whatever it takes, make sure there are things in your home that can relax you before bed or when your baby is resting. Some people find sudoku, some snooze, some share snaps but just do what makes you happy.
For your baby, the home is a completely new environment and unlike the womb, it's bright and quite loud. So, for them to relax, recreating some of the sensations they are used to can help. In this respect, the babocush is perfect. Inside the cushion, there is a small heartbeat simulator which imitates the sounds of the heartbeat in the womb. While secured on the cushion, your baby is relaxing their airways by lying on their tummy as opposed to their back. Meanwhile, you can relax nearby knowing your baby is secure.
Destress your diet
At the best of times, your diet can have a huge impact on your mood, post-pregnancy this can be exaggerated. It is important that you aren't cutting out too much at once, but some small steps can help. A big step is cutting out caffeine, from as many sources as possible. From coffee to diet coke, high caffeine levels can induce a higher heart rate and cause tension. Given the opportunities for tension while you are pregnant, your diet should not become a source of stress. Find a tea you like, the options are endless and a tea break is always a good way to relax.
Despite the dietary changes, don't eliminate your little pleasures completely. Chocolate can help give a gentle energy boost, as can fruits and other naturals sources of sugar. While it is advisable to try and set routines and mealtimes early in your baby's life, snacks can help you stay upright when you're tired out. When it comes to food prep in general, try prepping easy to make meals ahead of time to minimalise stress.