Parenting Apart and Single Parenting
We have created a list of important pointers to help you if you are parenting apart or are a single parent and in need of a little support.
Take care of your emotional well-being
People become single parents for a variety of reasons. You may have intended to parent on your own, or you may have anticipated raising your child with your partner. Whatever the circumstances, it is important to strive to care for both yourself and your new baby.
Babies are time-consuming and this is often not as easy as it sounds. It is not uncommon for new parents to be anxious and upset after having a baby. If things don't go as planned, you may feel especially vulnerable.
If you are feeling low or anxious, tell someone you trust, such as a family member or trusted friend. Some people are worried or feel guilty because they are unhappy at a time when others expect them to be cheerful.
You can speak with your health professional. Remember they will not pass judgement on you - they will help you locate the assistance you require to care for yourself and your little one.
Build your support network
Remember that as a single parent, you have nothing to prove. But don't be scared to seek or accept help.
Here is a tip - be specific about what friends or family could do to help, and maybe write a list handy of things that need doing and which are on your mind.
Newborn sleeping fathers arms
Have confidence in yourself as a parent
Believe in your instincts. You may need to remind people (and possibly yourself) that you are the parent and make the major decisions. Get medical help if you suspect something is wrong, even if your family and friends believe you're being overly concerned. Your peace of mind is important.
If tensions build, attempt to talk to a less-involved friend or family member. Make it clear that you value their input and experience, but the final choice is yours!
Talk to other single parents
Every parent feels lonely at times, but many find parenting alone to be especially isolating. Many single parents want to meet other single parents because no one understands their situation better than they do.
Try to stay organised
Having a little one is often stressful, especially in the first few months. As well as trying to recover from the birth physically and emotionally, you’ll also be very busy learning how to take care of the new little person in your life.
Hormones, lack of sleep, and stress can all contribute to forgetfulness, and you may notice that you're not as sharp as you used to be. This is nothing to be concerned about, but it might be challenging if you don't have a partner to help you.
You could try:
Making grocery lists to minimise several journeys
Jotting down any key dates on a wall calendar or setting reminders on your phone, such as your child's immunisation dates
Writing down which breast you last fed your baby on
Stocking up on nappies, formula, and toiletries
Make sure you have enough freezer foods in case you get confined indoors for a day.
Newborns don’t know the difference between night and day. You’ll probably be up several times during the night to feed, change and comfort your baby. This can be difficult if you’re doing it by yourself. Talk to your healthcare professional to help you consider the support you need.
If you have friends or family nearby, perhaps you could ask them to stay overnight occasionally or stay for a couple of hours during the day so you can have a nap. We will be sharing some more advice on getting enough sleep in our upcoming blog!
Think about your finances
Knowing how much money you can expect can help you manage your finances. Single parents with children under the age of five may be eligible for various benefits, including housing assistance.
Child maintenance is money paid to help with living expenses. It is paid by the parent who does not normally live with the child to the person who is in charge of the child daily.
Put arrangements in place to co-parent or parallel parent
If you intend to co-parent or parallel parent, try to offer both parents time and a chance to bond with the infant, if possible.
It may not always be simple, but having a relationship with both parents may be beneficial to your child. If your ex-partner wants to spend time with their child, this may allow them to learn their child's cues (when they want to be fed, sleep or cuddle). This can help their connection grow, boost your ex-confidence as a parent, and provide you with some peace of mind. Of course, co-parenting or parallel parenting is not always possible.
Go easy on yourself!
There are so many things that can make a newborn's day tough, even if there are two parents in the house. Maybe your little one is cluster feeding or is wailing for no apparent reason. Whatever the cause, there will be days when you will not get out of your pyjamas, and that is perfectly fine.
However, establishing a schedule, such as attempting to eat a meal or phone a friend around the same time every day, may help you feel more in control.
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