Newborn Stress

Overcoming the stress of having a newborn

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You know what’s a stressful word? Stress.

Seems logical, of course, but stress is everywhere. It is an emotional concept that crosses every area of your life — work for sure, but also raising kids, being a spouse/partner, and even some of the “fun” stuff can become stressful. (Making money is supposed to be fun, but also brings a lot of stress with it. Having sex is supposed to be fun, but causes stress in some couples.)

Stress is a major worry for people — Harvard Business Review recently wrote about it, and earlier in 2016, Forbes wrote an article about work and home stress. On average, the participants in the study referenced in that article rated home stress a 5 on a 1-10 scale; work stress was a 6.4.

Remember just above when I talked about even the fun stuff sometimes being stressful? There’s almost no place where that is more true than having a newborn. This is a glorious time in your life. You have a cute baby. You brought life into the world! And the future is bright for this child.

But of course, it’s also stressful. If you’re a second or third-time parent, it might be a little bit easier (but not for all), but for first-time parents, they’re always seeking advice, trying to get everything right lest they fail this child, and one or both probably has a job. (Maternity leave is still not the best in the United States.)

So you’re balancing a lot: career, new baby, lack of sleep, and other commitments and responsibilities. But everyone does this, right? So what’s the problem?

Well, remember what your mom used to say: “if everyone jumped off a bridge…” Stress interferes with sleep, for one. Yes, your baby crying in the middle of the night also interferes with sleep — but stress has other repercussions. While noting that stress is a natural reaction for your body (it helps identify potential threats), the American Psychological Association also has a whole list of potential health concerns related to stress. We’ve all been stressed and we know it’s bad when it really exacerbates.

How do you manage the stress around a newborn, then?

One of the most successful things I’ve seen in different families is finding people to take small chunks of stress off your plate. Maybe some neighbors can cook for you. (There’s one thing off a list.) Maybe your mom and dad can come over and babysit for a while so you can take a walk with your partner. (Another thing checked off.) America is essentially all about different communities cropping up and banding together, and that’s very common when newborns arrive. “It takes a village,” as they say.

One major source of stress for new parents is the sleeping deal. They just assume they won’t get sleep and the baby will constantly be waking up. At the same time, they’re afraid to fall asleep and not be there for the baby. The whole cycle causes a ton of grief and stress.

That’s why we created Nightingale Nurses. We aim to take a piece of stress — sleeping through the night — off your plate and also help you know that your baby is in professional, capable hands. If you’re going to wake up and head to an office that’s a 6.4 on 1-10 scale of stress, you might as well have a good night before that, right?

Kristin Smith

Kristin is a wife, mom, doula and a kick ass swaddler. She spends her time helping families get top notch support throughout their parenting journey. When she isn't swaddling babies, she can be found sipping latte's and watching her daughter play softball. Read more...

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