As many of you know, we recently welcomed our third child — our precious daughter, Annabel — to our family.
With each baby we’ve added, we’ve gone through a transition period. And while you might think that after the first one it would be easy, it never is. Each one brings new adjustments, new family dynamics, and new challenges. Plus, somehow we forget just how hard that sleep deprivation really is!
There are a few things I’ve learned (though I haven’t mastered ANY of them) along the way that make for a smoother transition. Whether you’re expecting your first, your second, or any number after that, these are things you’ll want to keep in mind as you add another blessing to your family.
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10 KEYS TO A SMOOTHER TRANSITION AFTER A NEW BABY
Plan Ahead, Stock Up, and Be Prepared
As much as possible, plan ahead and stock up on necessities — toilet paper, soap, non-perishable foods, diapers for your older kids (if you have them), items for your post-delivery recovery, etc.
I also highly recommend having a good stash of freezer meals in your freezer. If you’re new to freezer cooking, be sure to check out some of these posts:
Finally, stock up on non-necessities, as well, that will make your life a little more enjoyable in those first trying weeks — books or magazines (especially digital ones you can read one-handed on your phone!), audiobooks, podcasts, movies & TV shows, etc.
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Lean on others
I struggle SO MUCH with this one, but it needs to be said, anyway. When people offer to help, take them up on it! Accept meals and offers to clean. When your hubby wants to help, for goodness’ sake, let him! (Even if he doesn’t do things how you would necessarily do them.) Enlist the help of your older children. And don’t be afraid to call on a family member or friend when things get overwhelming. It is okay to ask for help!
Allow for the upheaval
Don’t expect things to remain unchanged, and don’t get frustrated when things don’t run as smoothly as they did. This is a transition — allow a grace period for complete and utter upheaval! It’s worse the more you try to fight it, so let it happen and ride out the storm.
Related Post: 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Baby
Remember it’s not going to be the same
Even after the initial upheaval, expecting everything to go back to the way it was only leads to frustration after a new baby. I’m a routine girl myself, and this is one of the hardest parts for me. But it’s so key that I remember that it’s not going to be the same… but that I will find a new routine, a new way of doing things, and a new normal.
Let Some Things Go
Give yourself lots of grace during this time. It’s okay to set some things aside or let a few things go. I know it’s tempting to try to get up and do all the things because if you don’t, no one else will, but resist that urge. You (and your family) will be better off in the long run if you take some time now to rest and adjust.
Choose one thing a day
On the other hand, it can good for our souls (and our bodies) to get some activity and to feel some sense of accomplishment. I find that when I’m feeling sluggish or down, I feel worse when I loaf all day and better when I get at least a little something done.
But, as I’ve said, that can be difficult in the postpartum periods. So, in those first few weeks, I like to set a goal to accomplish one thing each day — whether that’s a meal or a load of laundry or a business project. It helps my spirits tremendously when I can get at least one thing done each day.
Make necessary adjustments
You just had a baby, so be realistic. Life may have to slow down for a period of time (or for the next 18 years, haha!). You may not be able to get as much accomplished in a day, go on as many outings, or participate in as many activities. In fact, you almost certainly won’t… at least temporarily. That’s okay! Make any and all adjustments as needed until you feel comfortable adding them back in.
Treat it like a season
It’s important to remember, however, that none of these things is permanent. Yes, you may need to let some things go, there may be some upheaval, and your routine may be a mess… but it won’t last forever. Be patient, and treat this time for what it is — a season. A season that can seem so long while you’re in it but that will seem so short once you’re on the other side.
Spend one-on-one time with the other kids
A new baby is a major transition for everyone — including your other kids. So, make sure to carve out time and energy for them, as well, even if it’s as simple as reading a book with them before bed.
Related post: How We Prepared Our Toddler for the New Baby
Take care of yourself
Finally, as you’re transitioning with this new little one in your family, you MUST remember to take care of yourself. Find ways to squeeze in rest, eat healthy foods, get a little physical activity (once you’re cleared to do so), feed your spirit, and take the time to nourish your soul.
Related Post: What Are You Feeding Yourself?
There will be voices that tell you that being a “good mom” requires sacrificing yourself, but in reality, what’s best for this new little one and the rest of your family is for you to take care of yourself so you can, in turn, better take care of them.
Anytime you add a new baby to a family, there are bound to be some growing pains. The infant stage has always been a particularly difficult one for me, so the adjustment can feel very hard.
But I know that when I keep these 10 keys in mind, the transition is much easier and less overwhelming. And I hope they do the same for you.
- 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Baby
- 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Second Baby
- When You Don’t Bond With Your New Baby
- 3 Sanity-Saving Baby Products Every Parent Truly Needs