Adjusting to Life with Newborn Can Place Strain on Health, Relationships 

New parents need to fight for time with each other to help adjust to baby’s first year of life

DAYTON, Ohio (July 9, 2018) – Childbirth may seem like the hardest part of welcoming a newborn into the world, but some new parents say the real work began once they brought baby home.

“Having a newborn can affect a mom or dad’s life in a lot of ways,” said Joshua Ordway, MD, a family physician with Franklin Family Practice. “There’s a lack of sleep to contend with – you don’t realize how much sleep you need until you don’t get it with a newborn in the home.”

Dr. Ordway should know. He welcomed his daughter into the world more than a year ago, and quickly learned that he and his wife had a lot of adjustments to make.

“The normal routines of life seem to be turned upside down,” said Dr. Ordway, who practices with Premier Physician Network. “A newborn needs you to attend to them and to anticipate needs you weren’t even expecting. Things like feedings, changing a diaper and soothing them when they cry.”

A lack of sleep and change to normal routines can create stress in a mom or dad’s life and affect the relationship they once enjoyed with their significant other. New responsibilities that require a steady income can also create new stressors for mom or dad.

Dr. Ordway said the following tips can help new parents adjust and enjoy their baby:

Make communication a priority – Communicate with one another about how you are going to handle certain situations and what tasks each partner is going to own. This needs to start prior to baby arriving and continue through the first year when things can become stressful and overwhelming.

Schedule breaks – Baby may seem like he or she needs you 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you can’t step away and take a break. In fact, breaks are needed to maintain a healthy relationship between you and your partner. Don’t wait for the perfect time to take a break – be proactive and schedule regular breaks by having a loved one watch the baby.

Seek outside help – Outside support is really important because people who aren’t living inside your home can help give perspective. Find someone – whether a friend or family member – who you can talk to about your feelings and struggles. It may be someone who can sympathize with your situation and reassure you that this stage will soon pass.

Find a stress reliever – Exercise can be a perfect way to get a break and relieve stress the body absorbs. Dr. Ordway finds his time running and training for the next marathon helps him refocus. But he says a person doesn’t have to be preparing for a race. Just a simple walk around the block can provide the break and physical activity needed.

Don’t neglect your own health – Stress from adjusting to a newborn can affect a person’s mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can cause depression, anxiety, and obesity. It can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. 

Be mindful of the signs – Partners should consider signs in themselves or each other that may indicate they need outside help. Look at the way you communicate with others. You may be too stressed if you don’t seem to have time to stop and have a normal conversation with someone or become very short in your responses. 

Having a baby can be a big adjustment, but it’s an experience many parents wouldn’t trade for the world.

“It’s a joy beyond what I could have ever imagined,” Dr. Ordway said. “I always wanted to be a dad, but never thought it would be this awesome.”

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