Tips to adjusting to parenthood, establishing routines and parenting through love and attachment.
Parenting can be seen as a journey – parts of the journey can be joyful and other parts can be frustrating. How you approach parenting can help keep you calm, loving and engaged with your child.
Love and attachment
Babies depend on their parents to love, protect and support them. As you provide a loving, safe environment, you build a healthy emotional attachment with your baby. You cannot spoil a baby under 6 months of age. A secure emotional attachment with your baby comes over time by consistently responding to their needs.
Listening to your baby's cues
From the moment they are born, babies use their voices and actions to tell you what they want. The tough part can be to understand what they’re trying to say.
Watch your baby’s cues - their arms and legs movements, facial expressions and different sounds. Is your baby trying to communicate that he's tired, hungry or that too much is happening around him?
It is important to develop routines for your baby. Routines help children know what to expect. It decreases their anxiety and frustration and helps them feel secure.
Bedtime can be a great place to start a routine. Set a time to start the bedtime routine each night; a bath, book, cuddles, breastfeed and bed are a common routine for babies and toddlers. Going through the same steps each night will help your baby wind down and settle before sleep.
As your child grows, routines will continue to be an essential part of parenting.
Adjusting to parenthood
Every person adjusts to parenting in their own way. Some find it an easy transition, while others find it more challenging. Every person adjusts to parenting in their own way. Your relationship as a couple also changes as you devote your attention and energy to this new member of the family.
Tips on how to grow together as parents
Frustrations and disagreements can occur as you adjust to your new roles. But having a baby can be an opportunity to grow even stronger as a couple:
- Take time to talk with each other every day when not distracted.
- Be specific when explaining your feelings or concerns.
- Try to keep focused on current concerns
Learn more on parenting with your partner.
Parenting a baby is exhausting work. Night time feeds, diapers and crying can take a lot out of new parents.
Take a moment to check in with yourself. Are you tired, hungry or overwhelmed? Having time to take care of yourself can help you have more patience, love and attention for your children.
Your family and friends can help by:
- Watching the baby for a few hours so you take time for yourself
- Helping with the household chores
- Cooking healthy meals and snacks for the family
- Helping with grocery shopping
- Listening to your frustrations or concerns
Parenting programs and support groups
Throughout Fraser Health, there are parent groups that meet to discuss their questions and concerns or to make connections with other families with young children. Parenting programs offer practical ideas, education and support for you.
If a group setting is not for you, many of our communities have free Family Place (search "family place centre near me" for a centre in your community) or StrongStart centres where you can drop in and play with your child in a structured and safe environment.
Call your local public health unit to see what programs and groups are available in your community.