6 survival tips for the first year of parenthood

Kinderling News & Features

The rollercoaster of becoming a new parent can be overwhelming, as you've surely discovered by now.

Mindfulness coach and author Amy Taylor-Kabbaz expected she’d simply incorporate her baby into her career-focused path, but her first year was fraught with difficulties as both she and her baby struggled with health issues. 

While researching health and wellbeing techniques, she had two more children, and wrote a book called Happy Mama

She shares her top tips to survive - and thrive - in your first year as a parent.

Listen to Amy on Kinderling Conversation:

1. Give yourself time to adjust

For many of us, our chosen career path is an integral part of our identity, but that full-time job with all its responsibilities and a spontaneous social life will definitely take a step back once the baby is born. 

Becoming a parent is a process of adjustment, and some people may undergo a grieving process for their old life. Acknowledge the different changes in your life and the feelings that come with them. 

2. Take a moment to stop and check in with yourself

Dealing with the latest poo-nami, a crying baby, and a constant lack of sleep can feel neverending. Remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. It’s okay to ask for help from your partner, friends and family, and there are also a range of resources and hotlines available for parents, such as Tresillian and Raising Children Network

3. Be kind to yourself

Instead of criticising yourself for all the things you should be doing or could have done better, be kind to yourself and acknowledge those little moments of celebration each day. Even if it’s getting out of your PJs before 4pm.  

4. Take time out for you

Organise to go for a walk, have coffee with a friend, read a book, take a nap or listen to a guided relaxation. When you come back to your children, pay attention to how you feel. Are you as stressed as you were before? Or do you feel calmer and better able to handle the next storm? 

5. Do things mindfully

Incorporate mindfulness into activities with your children. It’s not a technique you have to learn; it’s just about coming back to a thought that makes you feel good, or your breath. 

Many mums breastfeed with their phones; instead, allow yourself one or two breastfeeds with your phone to catch up on Facebook messages and emails, but during the night, put the phone away. Give yourself this space to breathe and focus on the breathing of your child, or you could also listen to a calming meditation (check out the Kinderling Meditation series). 

6. Choose who you listen to

It can be stressful when parenting advice is coming at you from so many different directions - from baby websites to in-laws, friends and even random people on the street. Cut out the noise by choosing the voices you connect with, and whose techniques make sense to you. It may be a particular book, an expert, a good friend, or your sister.