Author Eligreg López
Many publications tell us to avoid people while the baby is little but that leaves mommy, and daddy too, feeling kinda lonely. While nobody gets to decide how we raise our child, it would be best to rely on close friends and family to keep us company and sane. Nobody should quit society just because they have a newborn.
When the baby comes, especially for new parents, life might be overwhelming. Reading books and all the information online makes us feel like we have most of the work done when, in reality, once the baby comes out of the womb is when the work really starts.
While you were pregnant, whether it was your spouse or yourself, having thoughts of how the baby was going to be, how his eyes were going to look at you back, how his cry would sound like, how his head would smell is recurrent. Further from that thought comes how you are going to deal with toddler tantrums, whether you’re choosing to leave the baby at daycare early on or what to do if he develops any kind of food allergy.
Pregnancy is a time to reflect on your parenting methods. If you don’t have children, pregnancy means you will be a parent for sure and you want to learn everything there is to know about children. If you do have offspring, most people reflect on their previous upbringing methods and maybe start fresh with a new child. Either way, pregnancy helps you reflect, imagine and wonder about the endless possibilities a child means.
Once the baby is born, there are so many emotions in the air. Nobody knows this person who just arrived into the world. Their personalities won’t show up right away but looking at their tiny little faces is enough to start wondering how everything might turn out.
Learning how to deal with a new human life
There are traits that are particular for every baby. Some cry when they’re a little bit wet, others take longer. Some babies are easier to put to bed, some won’t sleep on their backs, some will just want to sleep nursing, some are very strong-willed, some are easier to deal with and all of them are wonderful little creatures. Every parent has to deal with each personality and it helps a lot if both parents are around.
Newborns are just a little box of surprises. That newcomer is discovering how his body works, how the world actually is, what he likes and dislikes and how wonderful love is, although the baby doesn’t really understand that what he’s feeling and what others are feeling for him is love.
You love your child and your world spins around that wonderful kid but, suddenly after a while, you start remembering that you used to be a person before this baby was born. You had friends, conversation, hobbies, books, tv shows, a place you were a regular at, the family that visited or called often, but right after you had a baby it all seem to disappear. Maybe it lasted a month, maybe more but it certainly happened and you didn’t realize.
All you think and talk now are diapers, spit up, food allergies, breastfeeding schedules, best brand of baby products and the best routines to have. If you remembered that you had friends, they might give you the side eye when talking about babies after a Netflix conversation.
From my experience, even if you do love that child more than life itself, you do need some time for yourself and that includes your social self. Having interactions with other people is a must. You must never forget that you live in a world surrounded by people other than your children.
When you come back from the hospital with you little one, it doesn’t matter if the delivery was natural or if it was a c-section, the baby is there and he needs your love and attention. That vulnerable human being needs you but there should be a balance. You need to keep your sanity as he needs to be nursed and changed.
If grandma wants to help, let her. If daddy wants to deal with bedtime, wonderful. Mommy doesn’t always have to be the one who performs every little thing for the kid. When nobody is around, mommy and/or daddy should be available so rest, food, and sanity are very important to have when taking care of a newborn.
If the dishes aren’t done and your best friend comes for a visit and offers to help, just let that happen. It does take a village to raise a child, a support system is always necessary.
Postpartum depression can be serious
A lotof women deal with depression after delivery and in this article that means nobody should be left alone. There are times to be alone but this isn’t one of them. If mommy doesn’t feel right at all and daddy is in too much pressure, having company is the best remedy in that moment. It is nice to have someone to lean in when things get tough and you haven’t had any sleep or a decent meal.
Having people around you can be overwhelming when dealing with PPD but if the attention is centered on the baby, everything can turn out great. The support system we talked about before is the key to not let what came over you, come for your baby too. Being a lonely mommy is not advisable when dealing with this issue. Once you get back on your feet, you can do whatever it is that you want as a family.
Some people love quiet time, some others need their friends and company. Everybody needs to take care of their children and if that means to finally trust another adult with your child, so be it. Parents need a break, even when babies are small. Sleep is important for everybody and nutrition too, mostly when dealing with depression.
Let baby get used to regular home life
This little human being depends on you for everything. Even if there are some basic reflexes in humans, not all newborns know how to properly do everything. They suck as a reflex but they don’t really know how to suck from the breast. They could fall asleep but they don’t know squat about bedtime. They need their caretakers to help them learn how to be human beings and that includes how to tolerate regular home life surroundings.
From day one, the baby shouldn’t be left apart in a room where nothing but mommy’s boobie and daddy’s touch happen. If it is a daily occurrence that people come to visit, let the baby participate in family life by joining the room. You don’t need to do things outside your regular routine just because you had a child.
Whenever we feel passionate about a subject, we try to talk about it with others. Our friend circle consists of people who have similar interests and who we can talk to and relate. That’s why once you’re a parent, you need fellow parent friends.
Maybe your single friends are really invested in your life and offer to help you with the child but the truth is life becomes easier when you have friends with children almost the same age as yours. Advice on discounts, comparing baby’s stages, relieving concerns and just having a laugh about kids are enough reasons to have parents as friends.
If you’re a millennial parent, meaning that you were born in the 80’s up to ‘95, you’re a young parent that grew up dealing with technology and even social media. Sharing your experiences through these media will make you closer to people who have children.
Maybe after the baby, you might feel you don’t need to change your social circle or that making new parent friends could be exhausting but there is one thing that is certain, having a network of people going through the same thing as you is a relief. Your kids might be wonderful but you do need to talk or share experiences. Whether it is your parents, your in-laws, friends, neighbors or maybe people in a support group, it is good to have someone there.
Another thing to keep in mind is to set boundaries for people. One thing is to count with a support system and another is to let people make decisions in your life you want and need to be making. If you need to have company, make sure the ones involved with it know where they stand and what they can do, how long can they stay and what is the relationship they have with your baby.
It is true: You can’t escape parenting advice
All parents dread unsolicited parenting advice. Once you turn into a parent, you get flooded with the advice you didn’t know you needed. Some of it might crash with your own plans and some might be hideous and plain rude.
Your friends and family, even if they seem rude, they mean well. If you know that person is there to care for you and your child, what they’re doing is therapy. Not only you need to share your parenting with others, experienced parents feel the need to advise others from their own experience. Listening to them is a good way to keep you company and keep them company at the same time.
So if you need company from other adults during this time of caring for a small child, don’t worry, open up to people and you will find family and friends that will not only care for you but also for your child. Remember your baby needs you in mind and soul and that includes your sanity. Keep on parenting!