NOW THAT BABY'S HOME…
Bringing Baby home is a cause for celebration. But for some new mums and dads, making the change from couple-dom to parenthood can be a challenge. It is not surprising then, that the couple's first (and happiest) occasion as parents can sometimes lead to stress and a relationship fraught with tension.
According to a 2013 survery by the British website Mail Online, sleepless nights caused by a crying baby have caused the breakdown of up to one-third of all marriages in the United Kingdom.
For mums especially, the transition can be hard. You have to cope with a baby whose cries you are learning to interpret, sleeps all day and stays awake all night, and wants to be carried all the time. This is exacerbated if you are having difficulty with breastfeeding. On top of this, hormonal changes may lead to baby blues.
"New mothers require a lot of support and attention because it is known that a new mum needs it," says clinical psychologist Caroline Olivares from Alliance Professional Counselling. "It is normal for a new mum to feel down. It is psychological. She has been separated from a part of her body. Being separated from the baby is like being separated from a limb. For everyone else, the baby is a newborn. For the mother, it is a loss, a big loss. It feels awful. The thing is, she does not realise this. It is not a conscious thing."
So as a new mum, it pays to bone up beforehand on what to expect once your baby arrives — and more importantly, how you can cope with the new situation.
Newborns cannot tell the difference between day and night. Their body clocks have not adjusted to life outside the womb yet. So your little one may be up all night, and sleep all day. You may have had people tell you to "sleep when baby sleeps". But the sense of freedom that comes when your baby is finally peacefully asleep is hard to resist.
"The first few days I took the opportunity to go online, to Facebook, Instagram, and to surf the Internet whenever my baby was sleeping. It was a mistake. At night, when I wanted to sleep, he would be looking at me with bright, alert eyes. Once I almost nodded off while rocking him to sleep. I learnt my lesson and went off my mobile devices. It was like going cold turkey!" says Nicole Tan, 33, mum to a one-year-old daughter.
Prioritise your time and plan, plan, plan. Be strict with yourself. If you want to enjoy some me-time, go ahead and do so. Give yourself the luxury of 10 minutes (you choose) and then give yourself the luxury of rest.