Stress is something that we all deal with on a daily basis. Admittedly, sometimes we deal with it better than others.
As a new mom, I used to wonder why my kids would behave so badly when I was stressed out. It took me a few years to realize, “Hey, it’s not them. It’s me!”
Babies are extra sensitive to stressed out moms and with a baby in a house this year, I’ve really had to remind myself to slow down in order to keep the baby happy. It’s amazing to me that she can pick up on my stress level rising before even I do.
There are few things more guilt inducing than seeing a clearly stressed out baby and realizing that you are to blame. I’m guilty of this far more often than I’d like to admit.
When I’m stressed my baby acts fussy without an obvious cause and wants to nurse constantly. She stops sleeping well at night and wants to be held more often during the day. Those are usually my cues that I need to take a step back and get a handle on my stress level.
So how do you limit your stress level as a new mom? These are my best tips:
Make sure you are getting enough sleep. If your baby isn’t sleeping well at night, take advantage of down time during the day to sleep or at least take a quiet moment to relax. Cut out late night TV and opt for an earlier bedtime if you need to. For us, cosleeping has been the best way to get some extra sleep but you need to find what works for you. It’s amazing what a bit of extra sleep can do to your ability to handle stress.
Prioritize everything. When you have a new baby in the house, some of the things on your to-do list may not be as urgent. I constantly remind myself that life comes in phases. There may be things you just can’t or don’t want to focus on when you have a young baby. There will be a time for those things later so don’t feel guilty for putting them aside for now.
Delegate. People are often willing to help out when you are caring for a baby, but they may not know where to start. Let people know what you need help with. To simplify things you could keep an ongoing list of tasks that need to be done and share that list with anyone who asks what you need.
Take time to cuddle your baby. I have a really hard time feeling stressed when kissing baby dimples. Sometimes the best cure for stress can be just taking a time out to enjoy a little one-on-one time with your baby. Watching a young baby discover all the beauty in the world for the first time has a way of putting things into perspective.
How do you limit your stress level?