Information Overwhelm: A New Parent's Worst Enemy
Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Ten Things To Do When You're Drowning in a Sea of Advice
As a new parent, you want confidence in your ability to care for your newborn.
But understandably, brand-new parents often struggle with feelings of self-doubt in the beginning. You're unsure how to soothe and care for your baby. Frequent sleep interruptions mean you're exhausted. If you've given birth, you have the additional concerns of postpartum recovery. If you're the partner, you wonder what you can do to help. You both quickly realize you need some information and support.
Initially, you turn to the internet and friends and family for advice. Soon all the conflicting opinions and ideas become overwhelming, and information overload may flood you with feelings of frustration and inadequacy. You may even begin questioning yourself and your abilities.
You might think, "I can't figure out the right things to do. Do I have what it takes to do this? Are things always going to feel so intense? Does this mean I'm not cut out for parenting?"
The good news is, you're not alone! Most parents go through moments like this.
Here are ten things you can do when you feel overwhelmed by all the information coming at you from all the various sources:
1. Recognize the signs of overwhelm. You will feel tense, dull, irritable, or tired when you receive too much input.
2. Slow down.
3. Step away from the internet and turn off the tv.
4. Turn off alerts and notifications and silence your phone's ringer.
5. Take a few deep breaths. Try breathing in for a count of 4 and breathing out for a count of 5. Research shows that when we change the pace of our breathing and the ratio of inhalation to exhalation, our nervous system calms down, leaving us feeling more in control and less overwhelmed.
6. Remember that your baby and your situation are entirely unique. What has worked for others may not work for you at all.
7. Take advice from other parents (including grandparents) as you see fit to do or not. It's okay to ignore most or even all advice! People may mean well and some may have plenty of experience raising their own babies. However, they've never been exactly where you are, with this individual baby's needs in this same era.
8. If this is not your first baby, remember that what worked with your other babies may not work for this one. Comparisons won't help you now, so avoid going down that road. Each new baby is an opportunity to learn and grow as a parent, and some babies require very different approaches.
9. Trust your parenting instincts. No one else knows this baby better than you do. It's okay to take action without knowing absolutely every fact.
10. In particularly stressful moments, put your baby skin-to-skin with you. According to Unicef, placing a diaper-only-clad baby on your bare chest calms you and your baby. Sometimes a bit of co-regulation is all you both need to feel better.
And remember: If ever you are concerned about something specific, call your baby's health care provider. Call multiple times a day if you are worried, and their answers aren't helping you. Never be reluctant to reach out. Part of your health care provider's job is to be available for these times of doubt, and a competent provider will want you to understand and feel confident in their advice.
To say that welcoming a child into the world is transformative is a massive understatement. Still, it should be a peaceful, loving time of transition and discovery as you gain your parenting legs. You should not have to figure out everything alone, and you deserve the kind of support that builds your confidence.
The reality is that most new parents don't have proper support. 33% of birthing parents and 17% of non-birthing parents report feelings of postpartum depression, and these rates are rising. But it doesn't have to be like this!
Hiring a professional, unbiased postpartum doula is always a good choice. Most postpartum doulas are booked months in advance of a due date, so if this is something you'd like to explore, start looking for candidates early. To have a doula in your corner from the beginning to guide you as you wade through the tide of information and find your way of doing things can be incredibly helpful.
A postpartum doula is skilled at showing you that you've already got what it takes to be the parent you want to be!
You probably know more about being your baby's parent than you realize. Postpartum doulas help you discover what you already know, then teach you the things you don't. Each day, they help you identify your priorities, address any questions that may come up, and suggest strategies to optimize newborn care and postpartum recovery.
By meeting your challenges as they arise, postpartum doulas help you avoid unnecessary stress. Less stress means better recovery, a happier baby, and more time to enjoy this unique phase in your life.
When you hire a Sweet Peas doula, we'll make sure that you'll feel confident that you are the expert on your baby at the end of our time together!
Working with us is easy.
You can start by taking our postpartum planning mini-course.
Learn more about how to enroll here: SweetPeasED
For in-person or virtual services with one of our doulas, fill out our contact form here, and schedule a call to find out if we're a good fit. Once we've worked out the details, we'll get you on our schedule, and you'll start feeling a lot better about this parenting thing!
In the meantime, hang out with us on social media.
On LinkedIn: Sweet Peas baby, LLC