Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Bringing Baby Home: Surviving the First Month Postpartum

by Ann Douglas

Feeling exhausted by the demands of caring for your new baby? Having difficulty remembering why you wanted to become a parent in the first place? Here are some tips on surviving this wonderful yet challenging period in your baby’s life:

Learn to Cut Corners.

Let the dishes accumulate in the sink and leave the carpets unvacuumed for as long as possible. Give yourself permission to set aside as much time as possible for rest and relaxation. After all, your top priorities at this stage in your life should be taking care of your baby and yourself!

Stay Connected.

Keep in touch with the other new parents you met at prenatal class, and take advantage of the opportunity to compare notes on your babies’ sleeping, eating, and crying patterns.

Accept the Realities of Parenting a Newborn.

You might not be happy about the fact that you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since before your baby’s arrival, but you’ll do yourself and your baby a favour if you learn to accept the fact that your life is going to be topsy-turvy for at least the foreseeable future. Rather than trying to force your new baby into adopting sleeping patterns for which he or she simply isn’t ready, focus your energies on enjoying this special time in your lives.

Get out of the House.

Nothing can add to your stress level more than being housebound day after day with a new baby – particularly if he or she is fussy! Whether you decide to take the baby for a brisk winter walk or for a leisurely stroll through the mall, it’s important to do whatever it takes to avoid getting cabin fever.

Don’t Worry About Spoiling Your Baby.

Ignore any well-meaning relatives who warn you against the evils of “spoiling” your baby. It simply isn’t possible to spoil a newborn. Responding quickly to his cries simply teaches him to trust the world around him – something that will ultimately lead to a much happier baby! In fact, a study at Johns Hopkins University during the early 1970s revealed that those babies whose cries were responded to quickly cried less at age one than those babies whose cries were not responded to quite so promptly.

Discover Your Baby’s Likes – and Dislikes.

If your baby tends to be fussy at a particular time of the day, try to discover what works best to soothe her. Since no two babies are exactly alike, you’ll be engaged in some heavy-duty detective work until you discover the techniques that work best for your baby.

Accept Any And All Offers Of Help.

This is no time to be a martyr! If friends and family members express a willingness to pitch in, take them up on their offers to help. Put them to work taking care of domestic chores like cooking and cleaning so that you will have more time to relax and enjoy your new baby.


Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books on pregnancy and parenting, including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Baby Books. She is also the co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby (2nd edition). Ann teaches online pregnancy and baby courses through She can be contacted via her Web site at

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