We weren’t surprised to see that sleepless nights came top in a list of frustrations for new parents.
Everyone warns you about the sleep deprivation but it’s only once you are in the red-eyed thick of it that you truly understand what they meant.
Other frustrations to make the top 10 of new parent frustrations in the research by Stokke, were endless washing, not getting anything done and people giving out unsolicited advice. Sound familiar?
New parenthood is a challenge but there are also ways to make it less of a slog, which is why we’ve gone through Stokke’s list of grievances with some suggestions.
- SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
Apparently 62 per cent of parents find this the most frustrating thing about new parenthood. There’s no quick fix unfortunately as babies only start sleeping for longer stretches once they’ve kept you awake for what seem’s like a lifetime. There are ways, however, to cope with interrupted sleep, however. Catch up on sleep when you can in the day (easier said than done, I know); make sure you are looking after yourself in terms of what you eat and drink; don’t put any pressure on yourself to be social or have a tidy house; get some fresh air every day to help you feel more positive; take it in turns do do night feeds; remember that this phase will pass!
- TRYING TO SOOTH A CRYING BABY
For 40 per cent of parents, a baby that won’t settle is a major frustration. Every parent has been there: the baby that won’t stop screaming; the baby that only stops screaming if you hold them; the baby that starts screaming the moment you’ve left the room. There’s always a certain amount of holding that has to go on at the beginning, so we say embrace it! Cuddle your baby, work out how to wind them (every baby is different, you’ll get the knack eventually), and experiment with ways to put them down. My first two preferred to be swaddled and tucked up under a blanket, the third and fourth were happier in a sleeping bag with a comforter. Remember also, that they need to learn how to settle themselves. So don’t bolt back into the room as soon as they make a squeak; wait and see if they drop off to sleep.
- NEVER GETTING ANYTHING DONE
This is not a problem unique to new parents, I can assure you. When you’re feeding a baby every two or three hours, however, and feeding takes at least an hour, there is very little time to do anything else or go anywhere, particularly when getting the pram ready is a mission in itself. Take the pressure of yourself by not making too many plans at first; meet friends at your closest cafe, congratulate yourself if you manage to put on a load of washing and congratulate yourself even harder if you manage to put it in the dryer; and outsource errands/ cleaning/ admin as much as possible. You’ll get your life back again when your little one starts sleeping for longer over lunchtime so enjoy this period of having a major excuse not to do horrible chores.
- ENDLESS WASHING
Yes, little babies create huge mountains of washing. And new mothers do, too. Go on Ebay and top on on secondhand sleep suits and vests to ensure you always have a clean one to hand.
- UNSOLICITED PARENTING ADVICE
Oh it’s so annoying, isn’t it? Easier said than done but try to smile and remind yourself that they’re only trying to be nice… There might come a time, also, when you might need some advice. Rather than confusing yourself with everyone’s tuppence’s worth, though, stick to one trusted mentor to help you navigate your way through these first few months.
- LOOKING TERRIBLE
But you don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a new mother that looks truly terrible. Ok, you might have slightly tired-looking eyes but there’s something about the hormones that make you look glowing and great to begin with. I’m always so impressed by how amazing new mothers look given the circumstances. If you’re feeling unconfident about your face/ hair/ clothes, invest in a good new haircut, a couple of new outfits – over-sized so you’ll be comfortable – and splash out on a really good serum, like Oskia nutri bronze, that has the added benefit of making you look slightly less pale. If it gets really bad, just ban yourself from looking in the mirror.
- NOT BEING ABLE TO EAT/ DRINK WHEN YOU WANT
Yes, this is annoying. The amount of cups of tea and coffee that I’ve been called away from… BUT you’ve got to remember that you staying hydrated and well nourished is VERY important, so prioritise eating and drinking delicious things all the time. For the first few months I put my babies in the sling during lunch and dinner, so I can enjoy a proper meal without worrying about settling them in their cots or bouncy chairs. Just drape a napkin over the top of their head in case of spills.
- NOT BEING ABLE TO GO TO THE TOILET WHEN YOU NEED TO
Apparently this is a problem for 17 per cent of new mums. Definitely make sure you pee before you start a feed!
- BEING TRAPPED BY A SLEEPING NEWBORN
Yep, there’s no way you’re going to wake a sleeping baby, even if this means sitting on the sofa for an hour in the world’s most uncomfortable position, or cancelling beautiful autumnal walk with a friend in the park. I’d say, though, try NOT to feel trapped by your newborn. Enjoy those peaceful moments when they’re asleep at home, with their tiny little hands scrunched into fists. And try to take them out with you as much as possible, so they get used to sleeping in the pram. That way you’re never going to feel trapped – until you want to get back into the house buy you don’t dare wake them up…
- NOT GETTING TO SHOWER
It’s hard to find time to take a shower when your newborn naps for no longer than 10 minutes at a time and you’ve got a million other things to do before thinking about yourself. You’ll feel so much better after a shower or bath, though, so make sure your partner takes over baby duties to allow you to do this every day. If you’ve really run out of time, though, and your hair is not fit to leave the house, embrace the temporary wash – shampoo and rinse the front sections of your hair in the sink then blast it with the dryer. Good as new.