Single and Parenting an Infant

Becoming a single parent of an infant child is both rewarding and challenging. You still have all the excitement of watching your infant grow and explore the new world around him or her. However, parenting can be exhausting and difficult during those first few months, especially a single mother.

It seems like there is never enough time for any parent. You do not get enough sleep. It is hard to get to work on time and even harder to get to bed at night. Your baby may be a good sleeper, or your baby may sleep barely at all. It is a challenging for two parents to juggle the baby, work and all the other household responsibilities. This becomes an even greater hurdle for the single parent.

Parenting an infant on your own is difficult at times, but it certainly is not impossible. One of the most important things for a single mother of a baby to remember is that it is okay to ask for help. In fact, you should ask for and accept help when you become overwhelmed. Actually, you should accept help even when things are going well as this can keep you from becoming overwhelmed later on.

Effective time management is key when raising an infant on your own. Of course, you cannot plan your time completely, because as any parent knows, infants are unpredictable. However, there are steps you can take to better manage your time. For example, think of tasks that are not easy to accomplish when the baby is awake. Save these household chores for those times of the day when your baby is sleeping. Even if you do not know exactly when the baby will be sleeping, you still can plan to utilize that time wisely. Say to yourself, “When the baby takes a nap today, I will do the laundry.” This will help you to accomplish other tasks at times when your child is resting.

Being organized also will help you when raising an infant on your own. Some of the little things you can do can go a long way to making your life a little easier. For example, always keep a diaper bag packed and ready to go. By doing so, you can be ready to leave the house with your infant a few minutes faster. Clean out your diaper bag each time you return home and have it ready for your next outing.

Keep some formula prepared ahead. If you are breastfeeding, always have some breast milk in storage. There may be times when you need to leave the baby with a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or other caregiver for a little while. Having some bottles ready in advance can make it easier to leave the baby with a loved one for a time if you would need to do so. It also can help you to prepare a bottle a little more quickly for the baby if you are extremely short on time.

Be sure to stock up on the baby supplies, which you use most frequently. This might include diapers, wet wipes and baby formula if your baby is on formula. Being prepared with a few extras on hand can save you from running out. You do not want to run out of something that you need in the middle of the night. If you do, you would need to take the baby out and this is not an ideal situation. However, by planning ahead, you should be able to prevent this from occurring.

Although raising an infant will be the most enjoyable time of your life, it probably will be the most exhausting as well. Remember to take care of yourself. Have at least a couple nights a week when you call it an early night and go to bed early. Whenever possible, take some naps when the baby is napping. And always take a few minutes each day for yourself. Read a few pages of your favorite book, do a couple sets of exercise, sip on coffee or tea while you read the morning paper; but do something relaxing for a few moments each day.

Happy parenting!