How to Get a Break With a New Baby in the House

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 | Comments Off on How to Get a Break With a New Baby in the House

Break with newborn img

It’s no secret that having a new baby in the house is exhausting, but it’s impossible to imagine how demanding and busy life will become with a baby until you get there yourself. You’ve probably heard passing remarks from new moms that they don’t have time to brush their teeth or take a shower, and before you were a parent may have had assumed that these comments were exaggerations. Now that you have a newborn of your own, however, it’s become painfully evident how impossible it can be to take even two minutes out of your morning to brush your teeth or run a comb through your hair. Needless to say, if you’re a parent you need a break—badly!—but probably have trouble getting one. Here are a few ways to sneak in little breaks. They’re nothing big, but it’s a start and when you’re a sleep deprived new dad or breastfeeding mom even 10 minutes alone can feel like a vacation.

  1. Take a Power Nap
    Taking a nap is a perfect way to get some physical space and restore yourself if you have someone around who can hold your baby for a few minutes. Depending on the temperament of your child, and the person watching her, you may only be able to get away for 10 minutes. I’m guessing that sheer exhaustion will put you right to sleep, in which case a 10 minute nap is not half bad, but even if you can’t fall asleep in that short a time it’s worthwhile to simply lay down and rest. It can be tempting to “get something done” when a friend or family member is over like throw in a load of laundry or take a shower, but what you really need is rest! The best-case scenario involves being able to fall asleep with your baby when she naps so that you get a longer, fuller rest. Understandably, you may need some physical space and if this is the case then the first option is a great one.
  1. Turn on Some Tunes
    On days when no one is around to give you a hand, changing the atmosphere at home can provide a bit of freshness and relief. Switch on the radio to a classical or jazz station to help get the energy up, but not so far up that it gets your baby hyperactive, and move your body a bit or simply relax on the couch with your baby and soak in the music.
  1. Watch a Short Show
    During one of your baby’s many naps, turn on the TV for 20 minutes or stream an episode of your favorite sitcom on Hulu. Taking a mini TV break will allow you to check out for a few minutes and find some restoration. The reason a short TV break is recommended is that, while it can be tempting to leave the TV on all day, the background noise can actually add to your exhaustion and stress level when your baby is awake because you’ll need to focus on other things.
  1. Take 5
    If your baby is old enough and secure enough, i.e. out of the newborn phase or toward the end of it, you can try leaving her in her crib with a soft book or a rattle for five minutes and sitting down in another room. This will allow you to get a little physical space without taking so much time away that your child begins to panic. Keep in mind that newborns have not yet learned that they are separate from mom, so resist the temptation to plop your baby in the crib and leave her for extended periods. If your baby cries for you, however, respond promptly and try again later. During the newborn phase or “fourth trimester” your child is building a very important attachment and trust relationship with you and it’s important that you respond to her needs in a timely manner.

Prioritizing self-care, even in small ways, is essential for new parents. Hopefully these tips will allow you to sneak breaks into your day and keep your energy steady. Please keep in mind: if you ever feel like you desperately need a break or are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, call a trusted neighbor or family member to come over and watch the baby while you take a longer break.

Share Button