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Becoming a new parent is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. One way to make the transition easier is to build your village. Having a strong support system can make a big difference in how you navigate this new chapter of your life. Your support system can include anyone you can rely on. That may be your partner or spouse, parents or siblings, a friend or coworker, neighbors, or even experts at local community resources. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone. Here are some tips on how to create a support system as a new parent.

3 Ways to Build Your Village (aka Support System)

1) Connect with other parents

Meeting other parents could be as simple as striking up a conversation with another mom at a local park. But there are other ways too! Joining a parent group or attending parent support meetings can be a great way to connect with other new parents who are going through the same experiences as you. This can be especially helpful for finding advice on sleeping and eating schedules, giving you confirmation that you’re doing a good job, and building a sense of community with other new parents.

2) Lean on family and friends

Feel free to ask family and friends for help when you need it. Whether it’s bringing over a meal or watching your baby while you take a much-needed break, having supportive loved ones can make a big difference. In most cases, family and friends would love to help, but they are waiting for you to tell them how or what you need!

3) Consult with the pros

Unfortunately, parenting doesn’t come with a step-by-step guidebook for every situation. And Google may not be the most reliable source. Getting the help of your pregnancy counselor, a lactation consultant, postpartum doula, or parenting coach can be a game-changer in helping you feel less overwhelmed as a new parent. While some of these professionals may have a fee for their services, there are many local resources you can access that also provide valuable support and can help you feel more confident and prepared.

4 Ways to Maximize Your Support System

Now that you’re on your way to building a great support system of new parent helpers, here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your village so you can be the best parent you can be for your child.

1) Communicate openly

Be honest with your support system about what you need and how they can help you. Whether it’s a listening ear or practical support, being clear about your needs can help you get the support you need. No parent is perfect or knows exactly what they’re doing. Every baby cries. Every parent gets overwhelmed. And remember, there is always a pile of dirty laundry or dishes you can’t see in your friend’s or celebrity’s Instagram-perfect photo.

2) Use technology

Technology is an excellent tool for staying connected with your support system, especially if you can’t meet in person. Consider joining online parenting groups, scheduling video calls with family and friends, or using apps that help you track your baby’s development. BabySparks (iOS, Android) is one of the top-rated development trackers, offering both free and subscription plans as well as activities to help you and your child.

3) Carve time out for you.

Taking care of yourself is crucial when you’re a new parent. This means getting enough sleep, eating well, and finding time for activities that you enjoy. Enlist the help of your support system to make time for self-care – even if it is for something as basic as letting you take a warm shower and a much-needed nap.

4) Practice gratitude

Don’t forget to take time to appreciate and express gratitude for the people in your support system. Saying thank you takes no time or extra effort on your part, but it can mean the world to them. Letting them know how much you appreciate their help and support can also strengthen your relationships and encourage them to continue supporting you.

Support systems help new parents thrive

Creating a support system as a new parent can help you navigate the challenges of parenthood and make the experience more enjoyable. It will also help you thrive as a new parent and make you feel more confident and at ease.