How To Survive the Newborn Stage Without Family Support - Baby Chick
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How To Survive the Newborn Stage Without Family Support

The newborn stage is hard enough. Here are five ways parents can handle and survive it if they don't have a large support system to rely on.

Published March 17, 2021

by The PediPals

Board-Certified Pediatricians

They say, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but what if you don’t have that type of support system? Some parents might not live close to family and friends who can help them during the newborn stage. This can make things difficult when you’re trying to balance caring for your baby, doing household chores, working, making time for yourself and your spouse, etc. As two practicing pediatricians, we have personally witnessed what this challenge has done to parents. But we’re here to tell you that there’s hope!

How To Handle the Newborn Stage Without Your Village

So, what are parents to do? Here are some tips for how to survive the newborn stage without family support:

1. Prepare Yourself

The newborn stage is challenging. Babies take time to get into a routine, and sleep will be scarce. It’s going to take a few months before you feel like you have your bearings. Your partner may be overwhelmed with work, and your extended family may not be able to help like usual. Before the baby comes, set your expectations for what will likely be a challenging time so you’re mentally prepared for what’s to come.

2. Cut Yourself Some Slack

Being pregnant and giving birth is HARD work. Make sure to be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. Now is not the time to add more to your plate. You may not be able to have the perfect diet or a Pinterest-worthy house. You may not even be able to shower some days or reply to text messages. And that’s okay. This time is all about survival and forgiveness. You’re doing a great job just by making it through!

3. Hire Help or Delegate if and When Possible

If you have the funds for it, you can hire a sitter to help you out. Even a few hours of reprieve can make a huge difference. Many people are also looking for odd jobs, so consider hiring someone to run your errands or get your groceries. If you can’t afford to do that, consider delegating more home tasks and chores to those in your circle or older siblings, if that’s an option. Chances are, they can use the screen break and added responsibility!

4. Tell People What You Need

One common trait many moms have in the newborn stage is the inability to ask for help. There can be many reasons for this: fear of burdening others, fear of rejection, or feeling like admitting this would make them a failure somehow. If you’re overwhelmed, tell someone. Admitting vulnerability is a big strength, not a weakness. Tell multiple people! You may find support in untraditional ways, but at least you’ll feel less alone.

5. Reach out to Your Doctors

Consider talking to your medical professionals. They’re full of resources and can remind you that you’re not alone and that most other moms feel this way. If you’re feeling emotional or down, consider talking to your OB so they can let you know if you may have postpartum depression. Research shows that postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 women.1 And around 10% of women experience postpartum anxiety.2 There’s nothing easy about this, so use your resources and prioritize yourself as much as possible.

6. Surround Yourself With Online Support

Although people may not be able to come to help you out in person, remember there’s an entire online world that has your back. Whether it’s video chatting with your family and friends or joining online mom groups, the possibilities are endless! You can also expand your social media stream to provide you with motherhood content that applies to your situation.

Bringing a new baby home and navigating the newborn stage is challenging for parents. But in the end, it’s always worth it because parenting is one of the most enriching experiences a person can have. Still, the fatigue and isolation that comes with it can be surprising and unexpected. And when a parent can’t rely on a large support system, we need to acknowledge how hard that is. Instead of saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” it’s time to come up with a new and more modern expression. How about, “It takes a family to raise a child, no matter how big or little that may be.”

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Dr. Ana Pal and Dr. Samira Hodges, aka "The PediPals", are best friends and board-certified pediatricians who live in Texas. They have known each other since residency and have worked… Read more

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