Nothing can prepare you for the first year of parenthood. Sure, you’ve read parenting books and heard about how a new baby will change your life, but experiencing it is different. And you don’t consider the new change’s impact until you live it. All new parents go through some challenges when caring for a baby. Unfortunately, many are poorly prepared for the impact on their lives. So, if you’re getting ready for a baby’s arrival for the first time, here are six challenges you may face in your first year of parenthood.
1. A Challenging Recovery Period As A Mother
With the most difficult part (labor and childbirth) gone, your recovery period should be effortless, right? Well, wrong, in most cases. Some parts of your body will feel sore. And everyday activities like sitting, walking, and using the bathroom will hurt.
And while your body needs rest, that’ll be difficult during this period, as you have a new baby to care for.
That means you’ll have to find ways to tough it out. But this is where your partner’s help and shifts from loved ones will come in handy.
So, take the time to organize your ‘work army’ as soon as possible. Prepare them to assist with bathing and putting the baby to sleep so your body can rest.
2. Trying To Understand Your Newborn
You watch the videos online and see beautiful pictures of happy, joyous babies and parents cuddling. But those are good and easy parts people want you to see. But behind those perfect images are ailments, sensitivities, allergies, muscle issues, digestive issues, reflux, tongue ties, etc. And almost every baby has some issue or ailment that the parent is forced to uncover. And this uncovering process can be pretty frustrating. You’ll likely engage in lots of trial and error before uncovering what’s wrong and understanding your newborn.
What you don’t want to do is write off your baby’s fussiness. For example, your newborn cries a lot, screams, or refuses to sleep, and you’re unsure why. Don’t just conclude that it’s a baby thing. Take the time to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes, that may mean dashing off to the hospital, even at odd hours. But you can also call experts or join groups dedicated to new parents for help.
3. Unsolicited Advice
Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, but that also comes with tons of unsolicited advice. And when it comes to babies, you’ll find out that everyone has an opinion of you. Of course, it’s good to have advice, especially when it’s your first year of parenthood experience as a mother.
But it can be very exhausting when the opinions bombard you from all angles several times daily. Almost everyone will sound like they know better than you and that you’re doing something wrong. But only stick with opinions from trusted sources like pediatricians, parents, or other mothers you trust.
And it’s best to have a polite and standard response without sounding angry about unsolicited advice.
4. Juggling Housework With Your Baby’s Needs
Baby care responsibilities can interrupt your day, leaving little or no time for anything else. Getting the smallest house tasks done will become more challenging as your baby will take your full attention. That may be more worrisome if you like to be in charge of everything. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution on how to balance baby care with housework. But you can hire house help, babysitters, etc. when needed. You can also rely on your partner and other family members.
5. Stress, Anxiety, And Depression
Postpartum depression may not happen to every new mother, but baby care challenges can affect your mental health. A study shows that around 1 in 7 women can develop postpartum depression, so it’s not as uncommon as you may think.
Even worse, it can sneak up on you during your first year of parenthood without realizing it.
Stress and anxiety are more common among new parents, and several factors may account for them.
They may include financial pressure, the burden of responsibilities, sleep deprivation, etc.
And speaking of sleep deprivation, the next point is also important.
6. Sleep Deprivation
It’s no surprise that regular sleep will be rare once a baby emerges. Your baby’s sleeping patterns may change as they age, and you’ll have to adjust yours to match. For example, a 4-month-old baby may settle into a routine of 2-3 naps during the day, followed by longer stretches after late-night feeding. They can sleep over 7 hours in the first 3 or 4 months. But a 6-month-old baby might start waking up every couple of hours. Regular night wake-ups and daytime’ cat naps’ (under an hour) can leave little time for you to sleep. And adjusting your sleep pattern to your child’s can be tricky, leading to sleep deprivation.
The first year of parenthood is overwhelming, from inadequate sleep, new routines, stress, and the countless demands of a newborn. It’s no surprise that many new parents find themselves struggling. However, with patience, support, and proper planning, it is possible to navigate these challenges and emerge more resilient. With time, you will become more capable as you grow in your new role.
Our super author here at Famous Parenting and an absolute wealth of knowledge. She has studied many topics including creative writing, psychology and journalism but her real passion lies in raising her 3 children. Between working from home, homeschooling her youngest 2 children and navigating the world of teenagers she is a guru for parents.