The time in the womb was your baby’s most intensive period of growth, but in the first few months of parenthood it’s likely to be you and your partner’s. I call this period ‘Nest Building’. At the same time as your gorgeous bundle is adjusting to her new environment you and your partner are adjusting to your new roles - and new lives. You’re also setting up your fledgling parenting partnership.
It’s life changing
Most couples don’t realise it beforehand, but there is a lot to adapt to in the first months of parenthood and even good changes like parenthood can be tiring and sometimes a little stressful. You’ll be experiencing things you’ve never experienced before and facing things you’ve never –as a couple - faced. New situations such as feeding, settling, the involvement of new grandparents. New decisions such as, are we co-sleeping? Who gets up at night? Do we use a dummy? Different points of view: your parents/sister/friend did it this way – does your partner have a preference? How you manage these early negotiations begins to lay foundations for your future co-parenting relationship (and it’s a looong one!).
A new partnership
One of the biggest things to plan ahead for is to take the pressure off the two of you doing and being everything. Gather your support system - friends, neighbours and family can cook and freeze meals, bring groceries, run errands or do housework. It still takes a village!
Take the financial and work pressure off, too - don’t plan on any big purchases, career decisions or other moves at this time. You want stability as much as possible for now.
You’ll both also need some sort of stress relief. What worked before baby might not afterwards, so think about some doable alternatives and build them into your day now.
The priorities for Nest Building are for mama to rest and recover, for both you and your partner to find your feet as new parents, and for the three of you to bond as a new family. Support each other in your early parenting attempts and you’ll build both confidence in yourselves as parents and in your parenting partnership as well. Feeling pride in your partner as a parent and bathing in their admiration of you is one of the often unexpected joys of new parenthood.
Five ways for a great start:
1. Know the difference between helpers and visitors: Helpers bring food, do work for you and don’t stay too long. Visitors eat your food, make more work for you and stay way past their welcome.
2. Prioritise: forget the outside world for a couple of weeks. Turn that depressing news off and ignore the beeps on your phone – the headline is right there in your arms.
3. Forget the housework. By the time your baby is a toddler you’ll have to anyway, you may as well get used to it now…
4. Think of this time as an after-baby babymoon. If you didn’t get to do this first time around, this is your best opportunity to make up for it.
5. To help you rest, nest and bond as a new family, you’ll find a Nest Building Plan at www.ellytaylor.com