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3 Steps to Reduce New Parent Stress and Pump Up the Parenting Joy

3 Steps to Reduce New Parent Stress and Pump Up the Parenting Joy

Parenting a New Baby Can Feel Overwhelming

Life with a newborn is an exciting time with many new experiences for you and your baby. But it can also be a difficult time fraught with sleepless nights, non-stop diaper changings, feedings and so much more. So while you are joyful about the new addition to your family, you may also be feeling utterly sleep-deprived, overloaded, and in some cases, a little depressed or anxious.*

Here, we share our formula for reducing the overwhelm that comes with becoming a first-time parent.

Step One: Let go of what you can

Our first strategy for coping with new-parent reality is to let go of some things. In the months (or maybe years) leading up to the birth of your baby, you likely had a beautiful (albeit unrealistic) vision for how things would be once you got home. Now that you’re actually home with your new baby, reality may not be lining up with that all. By taking a step back and assessing what’s on your plate, you may be able to let go of some things to create physical and mental space (and peace) in your life.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed as a new parent, you may have to let go of some things that just aren’t working or are creating more stress than joy. For example, perhaps you had always planned to breastfeed and dreamed of how you would sit in a rocking chair in the nursery peacefully rocking your baby while the two of you bonded. But now that you’re home, nursing could be creating more stress than peace for you and your baby. Maybe you are really struggling to get your baby to latch or maybe he or she isn’t getting enough milk. Or perhaps nursing every few hours around the clock is making you so sleep-deprived you can barely function. Whatever the reasons, take a step back and assess whether or not breastfeeding is something you can let go of. Deciding not to breastfeed does not make you a bad parent. If switching to formula means more rest, more peace and more joy, the tradeoff is worth it.

If you’re feeling overloaded and exhausted, make a list of all the things you’re doing on a daily (and nightly) basis. Include everything - nighttime feedings, daytime feedings, diaper changes, laundry, dishes, taking the trash out, meal preparation, grocery shopping, doctor visits - every single thing you’re currently doing goes on the list. Next, assess each item on the list and determine if it’s something you can let go of. For example, if you’re preparing meals for the rest of your family, the grocery store has countless healthy, premade meal options instead of cooking. If grocery shopping is on your list, start ordering online and have it delivered. If dropping your other kids at soccer practice is on the list, find a carpool or a family member to take over. Be ruthlessly vigilant in cutting tasks, delegating tasks or making tasks easier/better and feel the stress and overwhelm begin to blissfully dissipate.

Step Two: Get help...lots of help

This next strategy goes hand-in-hand with our first strategy. When you’re home with a new baby you need help...lots of help. There is no way around this. The truth is, the people who love you want to help. Your job is to accept it. When your mother offers to make dinners for the next week…”yes.” When your best friend asks what she can do to help, you answer “laundry.” When a neighbor offers to coordinate a meal train, you say “wonderful!” Take all the help that is offered and then ask for more!

Maybe you’re one of those people who find it hard accepting help from others even when it’s offered. Or perhaps you want to be able to handle all your “parenting duties” by yourself? These are common reasons why people don’t ask for help even when they’re drowning in daily tasks and exhaustion. But the truth is, right now, you need to flip this mindset and start saying yes to anyone who offers help. Practice saying yes so it rolls off your tongue easily. It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help, in fact, it’s an act of strength and courage to accept help when you need it. The people who care about you want to help start letting them in and feel your overwhelm decrease one offloaded task at a time.

If you don’t have the luxury of a support system of family and friends then you will need to hire some help. Find a housekeeper who will also do laundry and potentially cook. Have your meals and/or groceries delivered. Hire a night nanny a few nights a week to help you get sleep. Find a local babysitter who can watch the baby for an hour during the day while you sleep. Do whatever it takes to feel less stressed, more rested and notice the joy creeping back into your days.

Step 3: Join Wunder's New 12-week Parent Program on the Wunder App!

We want to be there for you every step (or crawl) of the way. 

The Wunder Education Team compiled the best of recommendations based on research from Harvard, MIT, Child Mind Institute, American Academy of Pediatrics and their own home-visiting experience to curate an easy-to-understand course with 12 weekly videos, weekly Q&As and developmentally-appropriate recommendations. 

What will I learn?

The 12-Week Program has been developed to answer some of your most pressing questions:

  • What can I do to set myself up for parenting success?
  • How can I make the most of the time I spend with my child?
  • Who can I turn to for answers about my child's development when I need them most?

Backed by science, developed by experts

We created this 12-week program to answer these questions and provide you with science-based guidance for the most critical first 1000 days.

With the help of a dedicated coach who worked with thousands of families, you will ensure your child is on track and build consistent habits for your child’s unique needs.

Best of all, it only takes 15 minutes a day!

We can't wait to support you on your parenting journey - join the 12-week program today!

Being a brand new parent is equal parts wonderful and overwhelming. It’s only when we try to be a “super-parent” and deny our need for help that we suffer. Be gentle with yourself during this new transition. Use our approach to start increasing the peace and joy in your life so you can savor the joy of being a new parent.

* Be on the lookout for symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety and seek immediate help if you suspect this.

Top 3 Reasons to Read to Your Child from Birth

Top 3 Reasons to Read to Your Child from Birth

Reading Aloud to Your New Baby Boosts Future Language and Reading Skills 

It may seem odd to read books aloud to your brand new baby, but plenty of research has shown how important it is. Not only is reading aloud to your baby a great way to bond and spend quality time together, it is also a proven way to boost your baby’s future language development, reading skills and much more. Once you understand the impact reading aloud has on your baby, you’ll be scheduling it into your daily routine right away.

Most parents know that reading to a school-age child is an important way to improve language and reading comprehension as well as encourage a lifelong love of reading. But what many new parents don’t know is that reading aloud to babies has been shown to have a significant and lasting impact on their language development. A 2017 research study entitled “Early Reading Matters: Long-term Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes,” revealed that book-reading in early infancy and toddlerhood predicted child vocabulary up to four years later. It also showed that book-reading quality during early infancy predicted early reading skills while during the toddler-years, book-reading quantity AND quality were closely tied to emergent literacy skills.

According to the study’s lead author and researcher Carolyn Cates, PhD, “These findings are exciting because they suggest that reading to young children, beginning even in early infancy, has a lasting effect on language, literacy and early reading skills.” She goes on to say “What they’re learning when you read with them as infants still has an effect four years later when they’re about to begin elementary school.

The benefits of reading aloud continue as your child moves into toddler and school-age years.

Jim Trelease - author of The New York Times Bestseller “The Read-Aloud Handbook,” believes that very young children benefit greatly from parents reading aloud. He cites the results of “The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study” (which included 22,000 students) that found kindergarten children who had been read to at least three times a week had a significantly greater phonemic awareness than did children who were read to less often, and were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25 percent in reading readiness. Pretty compelling numbers from the simple act of reading books!

The well-known 1995 book “Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children” established a scientifically substantiated link between children's early childhood experience and their eventual intellectual growth. The authors - Hart and Risley - spent years researching the roots of intellectual disparity. They observed 1 and 2 year old children in typical American families and found staggering contrasts in the amount of interaction between parents and children. These differences translated into shocking disparities in the children's vocabulary growth rate, vocabulary use, and IQ test scores.

Clearly, reading to your baby (and toddler) can create a whole host of benefits both now and in the future; setting your child up for greater levels of success. And all it takes is just ten minutes a day.

Reading to Your Baby May Also Have a Positive Impact on Future Behavior

Reading aloud to your baby has also been shown to potentially help his or her future behavior. In a compelling study, reading aloud and positive play during ages 0-5 was associated with improved behavior outcomes up to 4.5 years later. The study participants who were exposed to parents reading aloud and playing with them had more than a 60% reduction in hyperactivity and psychosocial risk. That study concluded that reading aloud and positive parental play from birth to 5 years could enhance social-emotional development.

Wondering what books are good for reading to your baby? Wunder has a library of our favorite books for you to enjoy with your baby! But truthfully, anything age-appropriate that you enjoy reading to your baby will work just fine. All that really matters is that you read aloud to your baby as soon as possible and as often as possible.

3 Ways To Support Your Child’s Cognitive Development

3 Ways To Support Your Child’s Cognitive Development

As a new parent, the healthy development of your baby is your most important goal. It can also be your biggest source of worry. Is she hitting the right developmental milestones? Should he be able to pick up on facial cues and language by now? Should she be smiling and talking yet? You want to know what you can do to help them develop to their fullest potential. The good news is that, these days, there is a wealth of information on how to help your baby thrive and grow in all areas from speech and language to cognitive development.

Your child’s brain is in the midst of a tremendous period of growth and development from the time he or she is born until about three years old. During this three-year span your child’s brain creates over a million neural connections every single second! Isn’t that just astounding? One of the most important areas where you can help your baby grow is in the realm of cognitive development. 

Cognitive development refers to your baby’s ability to think about and understand the world around them. It refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and dispositions that help baby think, explore and problem-solve. You can do things to foster your baby’s cognitive development as soon as they are born. In doing so, you’ll provide your child with a strong foundation for lifelong success.

According to the CDA Council, young infants through 8-month olds are beginning to:

  • Imitate facial expressions and gestures of others, like smiling
  • Explore using motor skills, such as turning head, sucking, kicking, grasping
  • Repeat actions to make things happen or to get adults to repeat an action
  • Use gestures, like waving, to communicate

So What Can I Do to Foster My Infant’s Cognitive Development?

There are a variety of cognitive learning activities you can do with your new baby to help support and promote growth in this area. Here are a few ideas of things to do with your new baby.

Read Often and Expressively

You may think new babies are too young for stories, but think again! Reading to your baby is a wonderful way to bond and will help foster cognitive development. Just be sure to read slowly and use a variety of voices for each of the characters. And show your baby the pictures, too!

Talk with Eye Contact

Make sure your baby can see your face and eyes when you talk to them. Be expressive. Speak with a slower cadence. You’ll see them focusing on your mouth as it forms words. This is the first step in how babies learn language so do this as often as possible and encourage other family members to do the same.

Encourage Your Child to Reach and Grasp

We want to make everything easy for our children, but that’s not always the best approach. To support cognitive development, experts recommend placing a few favorite toys just out of your baby’s reach; encouraging them to reach for it. Nora Newcombe, a trusted developmental psychologist of Temple University says “As you interact [with your environment] through grasping and crawling, that propels developmental change.

Get Hello Wunder

Hello Wunder - the first AI parenting platform that is clinically-proven to boost a child’s cognitive & language - has been shown to create a “26% improvement in cognitive development over a 12-week period” in babies. With Hello Wunder, you get personalized activities to stimulate cognitive development and language in your baby.

You want the very best in life for your little one. Encouraging and supporting cognitive development with specific activities is sure to give your child the head start you hoped for.