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Adjustment to Life with a New Baby

How will a Baby Change our Relationship?

  • When you become a parent, you take on more responsibility. At first, you may feel unsure of how to parent. With time, this is followed by a new sense of purpose.
  • Your familiar routine of work, home and social activities will change.
  • You may feel a lack of independence and privacy, but you also share a new common bond with your child.
  • Mom and dad also have to bond with each other in a new way.
  • Many men feel a new respect for their partner after she has given birth.
  • Many women feel more comfortable with their bodies after pregnancy and birth.

How Should I Deal with Advice that I do not Want, or do not Agree With?

  • First, you say thank you. Advice is usually well meant.
  • You can say, “I’ll think about it”. You might think about it, or you may forget it.
  • You can gently say that you are the one to make decisions about your family.

How can I Help my Older Child Adjust to a New Baby?

  • Include the older child in planning for baby’s arrival, setting up the nursery, etc.
  • Give the older child a job to do – like holding the clean diaper until you need it.
  • Have a doll so your child can also take care of a baby.
  • Read together.
  • Talk to your child about what the baby is doing. Help him or her to notice how baby responds to him or her.
  • Spend a little time alone with your older child. Ask others to do the same.
  • Talk positively about him or her to others, where he or she can hear you.

How can I deal with an Older Child’s Jealousy?

  • Because new babies take so much time, your older child may feel rejected. Children around ages one to three years are especially likely to resent the baby.
  • Older children usually are pleased to be a big brother or sister.
  • Let the child know that it is okay to not always feel loving.

How can I Maintain good Communication with my Partner?

  • Both parents may have some mixed feelings about the new baby.
  • Talk about these feelings.
  • Talk about what your baby, and an older child, has done each day.
  • Share your dreams for the future. Talk about how you can make them come true.
  • Talk about the budget and changes you must make.
  • Make decisions together.

How can Parents Share Responsibility?

  • Be honest about what you need. Do not expect your partner to read your mind! Say, “I need you to….”
  • Work on a schedule that gives both of you some time for yourself.
  • Take turns looking after the children.
  • Each parent will parent differently. Let it be.
  • Make time for the two of you with no children. Even an hour alone can have great benefit.

What to do if you have Pets in the Home?

  • If you have a dog, bring the baby into the home while the dog is outside, and then bring the dog in so that he knows the baby belongs. Unwrap the baby and allow the dog to sniff him or her.
  • Cats may be attracted to the scent of milk on the baby and the warmth. They may want to curl up with, or on the baby. Do not allow this.
  • Never leave the baby alone with pets.