Tips for Taking Care of a Newborn: Single Parent Edition
Taking care of a newborn is a challenging experience for all new parents. However, when you’re doing it solo, you will face a different set of challenges as well. As a single parent, you’ll have sole responsibility for the 24/7 care of your newborn, without being able to easily hand off the baby for a few minutes while you get things done or rest.
While it may seem overwhelming at first, single parents have a beautiful way of adapting to the needs of their newborn and single-handedly raising strong, healthy children with a routine that benefits them both. To help you get through the first few months and find your routine, we’ve compiled the below list of tips specifically for new single parents.
Stock up on supplies for yourself
Once your baby arrives, you won’t be able to easily head to the store to run a few errands. While many parents can hand the baby to a partner, you will need to bring your baby with you or schedule care ahead of time. Not to mention, you’ll also need to take it easy on your body after birth and rest as much as you can. In order to avoid inconvenient store runs, be sure to stock up on personal essentials, including:
- Hair products
- Postpartum supplies
- Cleaning supplies
- Laundry detergent
Stock up on supplies for your baby
Your baby will also need supplies that can seem to run out quickly. A good rule of thumb is to stock up on at least a couple months of baby supplies beforehand, so you don’t find yourself needing to run out shortly after giving birth. If you’re having a baby shower, asking for essential items instead of cutesy items can be a lifesaver when it comes to stocking up. Items include:
- Breastfeeding supplies or formula
- Nappies and wipes
- Nappy cream
- Baby shampoo and body wash
- Baby laundry detergent
Start organising your life
If you have any spare time while you’re still pregnant with your baby, this could be a great time to sit down and organise your finances, set a realistic budget, create a cleaning schedule, and the like. Being organised and sticking to a routine is crucial for single parents and can really help you manage your stress. While you may stray from your routine a bit during the first few months with a newborn, having a plan already laid out can help you get back on track as soon as possible.
Create a strong support system
If you are lucky enough to have a supportive group of friends and family, you’ll probably need to lean a little more into them during your first few months with your newborn. Accept and ask for help when you need it and give those who reach out to help specific tasks to complete.
For those who do not have a big support system, jump online and see what support you can find there. Try to find some community groups where new single parents meet up. Or, there are also tons of groups on Facebook where single parents convene to get advice and chat to one another. Having a support system online or offline will really get you through the first year with your baby.
Focus on easy meals
While your Instagram or Pinterest feed may be full of families cooking up elaborate meals, this typically isn’t even realistic for two-parent families. As a single parent, you won’t have the time for fancy meals, but you also won’t always want to be stuck eating fast food. Our tip: freeze meals before you give birth, embrace slow cooker meals, discover recipes you’ll enjoy with only a few simple ingredients, and live off of these for the next few months.
Don’t lose your hobbies
Single parents can easily become so busy with their newborn, they forget to take time for themselves and the things they love. Whether you take just 15 minutes before you go to bed to read or watch your favourite show, or you get your friends to come over for an hour, try to not lose who you were before the baby arrived.
As a single parent, you’ll face some big challenges, but none that you can’t overcome. Take everything day by day with your newborn, and soon enough, you’ll fall into a rhythm that works for both you and your baby. And remember to enjoy these moments you have with your baby as much as you can.