Patient Parenting 101

With new parenthood comes a whole host of unexpected adventures like trying to get baby to breastfeed, dealing with a colicky baby and trying (desperately!) to get some sleep before you go insane... But with a little patience — and some help — you will get through it!

Sad mom holding newborn in bed

Breastfeeding challenges

For some new moms and their newborns, breastfeeding just clicks right away. However, that is not always the case. Breastfeeding can be a challenge for both mom and baby to get used to, and a number of factors come into play on making it go smoothly such as whether or not your breasts are too engorged for baby to latch on comfortably, if can't calm down enough to take the breast or if you ate something different that gives your breast milk an off-putting flavor that he won't drink.

It helps to understand why breastfeeding isn't going your way so start a breastfeeding journal and look for patterns of when baby will take the breast and when he won't. If you begin to get engorged before baby is ready to eat, pump a small amount of milk to relieve the pressure on you and make it easier for baby to latch on when he is indeed ready to eat. Jot down in your journal what you eat as well so you can track it down if you think you're eating something that's not agreeing with baby when he gets introduced to it through your milk.

Try to stay calm even if breastfeeding isn't "clicking" right away for you. And don't give up! Seek the expertise of a lactation specialist to help advise you on your specific challenges.

Baby won't stop crying

Colic is common in many newborns and unfortunately, it often has to run its course. However, you can make the time that baby is super-fussy less stressful for you and baby by being patient. Understand that this is not your fault and there is really little you can do to take baby's discomfort away. However, you should see a doctor about baby's condition as he may advise you to try some massaging methods as well as prescribe a homeopathic medicine designed to help relieve baby's discomfort if his colic is associated with gas.

Soothe baby to the best of your ability, but when you need a break, take one before you let your frustration get the better of you. Ask your partner to take a shift with baby during his colicky time or set him safely in his bassinet or strap him into his swing for a few minutes while you step into another room and take a few deep breaths to regain your composure.

Lack of sleep

As enjoyable as those midnight feedings can be when it comes to bonding, they also take a toll on your quality of sleep, which can make you feel irritable and lose your patience. If you can't nap during the day when baby does, work out a schedule with your partner to take turns caring for baby on alternating nights so that you can each beef up in your rest.

Finding patience

If you feel yourself getting too frustrated with the challenges of new parenthood, seek help! Don't try to do it alone or push yourself beyond your limitations. Share the duties with your partner, and don't be afraid to ask relatives and close friends to step in and help out as well. Sometimes just talking out your frustrations can help you find a new perspective.

More on new parenthood

Postpartum pampering: Avoid new mommy burn-out
Bliss in babyland: How parenthood changes you
5 New mom positive affirmations

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