We often speak to parents who are struggling, exhausted, and feeling isolated. We want to start out by saying this – you are not alone – even though it may feel like you are! So many parents feel the struggle of taking care of a new baby or toddler and all the different challenges and new things they need to learn (or remember). This year has been especially hard with the lack of parenting meet-ups and planned social activities that use to allow us to connect and feel that sense of “parenting community.” Here are some tips to build up your community.
You Are Not Alone – Build a Community
You are not alone! Do not feel bad about showing your frustrations, fears, or anxiety. While everyone wants to put out that perfect image of being the perfect parent, we all know that Instagram vs. reality is all smoke and mirrors. Sharing your feelings can help you feel better and help you to hear that other parents are going through or went through the same thing. You open yourself up to learn from others and teach others what you have overcome.
Reach out to your local centers to see if they are having any virtual meet-ups, join an online parenting group or make a post on a local Facebook page about looking to connect with other parents. So many of us are craving the social aspect and we are lucky that we live in a world where we can connect virtually. This is a great way to meet new parents, learn something new about your community offers parents, and plan for a future playdate when we can all be together again!
Structure your day
Add structure to your day! When you put yourself onto a daily routine it can help better mentally prepare you and your baby for what the day holds. Schedule playtime, bath time, and some you time! This means setting a wake-up time, naps, and bedtime – not only for the baby but for you! If your baby is older than 4 months adjusted, we recommend a clock-based schedule.
Let it out! When I became a new mom, I cried because I did not know if my baby was receiving enough breastmilk from me, I cried during sleep training and I cried when I was enjoying the sweet snuggle in pure happiness. It is ok to question yourself, it is ok to cry on your consultations, it is ok to ask for help. This last year we have lost our village and the ability to have a revolving door of visitors who would love to hold the baby while we shower. It is ok to feel like you have lost something! Do not be embarrassed by any of those feelings, there is likely a parent just down the block feeling that same way.
It is also important to know if you are just having a moment or if you are feeling depressed for an extended period of time. Without our village, this could be missed.
CAMH website says “Signs of depression are often missed in new mothers because significant changes in sleeping patterns, interests, cognitions, energy levels, moods and body weight are a normal part of new motherhood.
New mothers often resist acknowledging these signs even to themselves because of the pressure to meet societal expectations of what it means to be a “good mother,” including how she should be feeling, thinking and behaving.”
Please reach out to a doctor or health care professional if you are feeling any of these feelings. It is okay to ask for help.
Get the Sleep You Need
Sleep is important for you and your baby. Lack of sleep can really break us down and leave us feeling even more overwhelmed. When your baby or toddler is not sleeping it feels like we are in an endless tunnel of exhaustion. Everyone joked when we were pregnant to sleep now because once that baby came, we would not sleep ever again – it does not have to be that way. It is so important for your baby or toddler to receive the sleep they need but it is equally as important that parents receive the sleep they need! If your baby is waking multiple times in the night, having short naps and needing to be held and rocked to sleep you might be at your tipping point, and sleep can improve.
If you would like support with your baby or toddler’s sleep, we offer free discovery calls! We can use this time to talk about your little one’s sleep and what you can expect when we work together to get the whole family getting the rest they need and deserve! It’s ok if you cry – I cried on my sleep consultation too.