Baby Brain or Mommy Brain refers to two different phenomena. One is the feeling of forgetfulness and a lack of concentration during pregnancy. The other is a report of very similar symptoms but just after the baby has been born. The science for both is debatable with evidence both for and against its existence. One thing is sure, though, after the birth of a baby, a mother’s brain does change, specifically altering to care for the newborn child. Whether the brain is detrimentally affected or not, there is one certain thing: new parents are on a steep learning curve as they get to know their new arrival. Sleepless nights, crying babies, and near-constant feeding sessions and diaper changes are expected. Therefore, it is no surprise that people might feel like they are not firing at a hundred percent. But do not fear, there are easy practical, and simple steps a new parent can take to help them through those first few months with a little new bundle of joy in their arms.
Nesting is a common surge of energy that new mothers get late in their pregnancy to prepare for their baby. One great way to make use of that energy is to get into the kitchen and begin batch cooking. Stocking up your freezers with some of your favorite meals will mean that you don’t need to worry about getting the food in or what ingredients are in your cupboards in those first few days of parenthood. If cooking is not your style, look around locally, and find companies that can provide frozen meals directly to your door. If family members want to give you thoughtful gifts, ask for some favorite dish batches. The present is thoughtful, and you will most likely get countless gifts of baby clothes so that the food will be a welcome change. Taking the pressure of cooking off your plate will give you more time to focus on the baby and make it much less likely that you end making those common baby brain mistakes like pouring sugar instead of salt into your pan.
Get Prepared with Diapers and Wipes
Preparation might sound obvious, but it is worth giving it some thought. It is unlikely you will know the exact weight or size of your baby before they are born, so you might need to get a couple of different diaper sizes, especially if there is a big variety in the parents’ size and stature. Packs of baby wipes dotted around your home will mean that they are always on hand, and you don’t need to go hunting for them whenever there is a little bit of reflux or dribble. There are many diapers and wipes out there, so ask other parents you know what brands they recommend. Look up trusted reviews or blogs that might give some handy hints about what you need to pack in the change bag. Think about whether you want to go reusable or disposable but remember you can always start with one type and change if it doesn’t feel right.
Play Mode Doesn’t Always Need To Be Full On.
When you first start getting those smiles and giggles, you will be desperate to get more. But remember, babies are just like us, and they can soon become overstimulated. Vary up your forms of play and make some of your playtimes calmer more sensory experiences. Remember that babies are taking lots in, so a gentle song can allow you to relax and a chance for your child to learn about clear communication. There are many incredible toys and accessories out there that will help you provide great experiences for your child. For instance, a baby bouncer can be an excellent method to give your baby gentle, fun playtime. What is a baby bouncer, you may ask? These handy pieces of equipment come in all shapes and sizes, so find one that suits your baby and lifestyle.
Entertain Yourself Too
Staying on the subject of play, remember you may well be spending many hours entertaining your baby. If you become bored or disinterested, the chances are your baby might too. They may be fascinated by a shaking rattle but what is fascinating them most is their ability to interact with you. Time spent with them communicating will help them learn and develop their communication skills. So it would be best if you found play that is fun for you both. Be creative with your play. You don’t need to be buying the latest toys all the time. Simple interactive toys can be made from items you can find in your home and allows you to keep your play varied.
Teamwork Is Crucial
There is a well-known African phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child.” It remains as accurate today as it ever was. Have a think about your support network, whether friends or family, or even caring professionals like your baby’s healthcare workers. You must know who to reach out to when you need it. Being a parent comes with a massive mix of emotions, and you should be aware that your mental health may well be affected as your life goes through this huge adjustment. Knowing who you can talk to, who can give you a lending hand with household chores, or even take care of your child to give you a much-needed nap, will make your life easier. Please spend some time preparing by thinking about who you can reach out to when you need it.
Suddenly, when the baby arrives, even a simple thing like getting out of your door requires a herculean effort. You need to gather supplies, make sure the pram has just the right amount of blankets, and try timing it perfectly so your baby won’t be wailing as soon as you leave the house. But even if it is just for a few moments, everyday fresh air will do you good. It gives your baby new experiences, and vitally gives yourself a mental health boost.
Structure Your Days (but be ready for that to change too)
Days can feel endless if you are endlessly shifting between nap time, playtime, feeding time, especially if your baby is not sleeping well through the night. Try to keep to a routine, have lunch simultaneously, or make bedtime a structured wind-down of reading a book and settling to sleep. The structure will help your days feel ordered and give you a sense of normality. But remember, babies are unpredictable, and while you might have had a run of great days, there may be the odd occasion where the structure has to be thrown away as you respond to your baby’s needs. That is okay. Don’t be hard on yourself. There will always be little setbacks, but being persistent will help your baby when the time comes that they can recognize the structure and anticipate what might happen next.
Put Rest Into Your Day
There will be times when you finally settle your baby to sleep, and you will want to collapse in a heap. There will be other times when you use that time to run around like an energizer bunny getting the thousand and one household jobs ticked off your list. Remember that rest is as crucial for you as your little one. Rely on your support network so you can find those times that you can rest. A more rested parent will more likely have the energy to communicate and think creatively with their little one. We know that rest improves your memory, so it is vital to use against those baby brain symptoms.
Put Luxury Into Your Day
Remember that it is essential to treat yourself as well as your baby. While a new toy might provide hours of fun, it might not be the luxury you would desire. Treat yourself whether it’s as extravagant as new shoes or as simple as treating yourself to a trip to your favorite coffee shop. Those treats are all part of self-care. The better you feel, the more resilient you will feel. So any little temper tantrums or restless nights become more comfortable to take. Online shopping can make things very convenient, so if you are up through the night, browse at the same time. Dream about what treats you might want landing through your letterbox the next morning.
Remember, above all else, having those little moments when your brain has melted, and you can’t even button up your shirt can happen to anyone. Be kind, and forgive yourself. Ask others to be forgiving too. If someone is complaining about your lateness to a coffee date or moaning that you haven’t picked up the phone in a while, remind them that you are adjusting your life massively to becoming a parent and that things will get back to normal. In the meantime, their understanding would be appreciated. Remember, for as long as humans have existed on this planet; there have been babies around. It might take a lot of time, but you will adjust, and your baby brain will lift. But in the meantime, don’t be hard on yourself. You don’t want to waste those precious moments with your baby worrying over all the little things a baby brain might make you forget. Chances are, none of those things will be as important to you as your time with your new child.
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