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How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics

by
author image Kelly Stevens
Kelly Stevens started writing professionally in 2010, specializing in social issues, travel, culture, language, education and sports. She has practiced and coached Karate since 1993 and danced since 1994. Stevens writes for LIVESTRONG.COM, Answerbag and eHow. She holds Bachelors of Arts in French, Spanish and education from the University of British Columbia.
How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
How does a newborn affect family dynamics? Photo Credit young family image by Francois du Plessis from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

In a loving home, the minute that a new person is brought into the world, everything begins to revolve around him. Everyone in your household starts to make adjustments to welcome the new member of the family. Your family life enters a new era, where family dynamics undergo tremendous changes. These changes directly affect you, your partner and any other member of the family living with you. Your family members must prepare to face radical transformations that accompany the arrival of the newborn blessing.

Working Schedule

How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
Photo Credit appointment book image by Gale Distler from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

When you decide to return to work after the birth of your baby, the working schedule of other family members may also require changes, especially if the mother is breastfeeding. An article on Familydoctor.org, "Breastfeeding and Returning to Work," suggests that a caregiver can bring the baby to the mother's workplace for breastfeeding. Trusting a newborn to a non-family member may be very difficult for a new mom. If you do not wish to hire a caregiver, a family member will have to adjust his work schedule to be able to bring the baby to the mother's workplace. In addition, each family member will need to work at different times so that someone you trust will always be there to take care of your precious little one.

Eating Together

How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
Photo Credit family eating lunch image by Ragne Kabanova from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

If you are a family that likes to have meals together, this may become harder when your baby is born. Even if you are all home for a meal, it may be difficult to have everyone at the dinner table when the baby wakes up and requires attention. Hot food and drinks make it dangerous to hold the baby while eating. Therefore, you may have to take turns watching the baby and eating.

What About Intimacy?

How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
Finding time for intimacy may become a new challenge Photo Credit Happy couple image by Avesun from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Finding time for intimacy may become a new challenge for you and your partner due to the change in work schedules and constant interruptions of the baby crying when you do get a spare moment to be together. Luckily, these obstacles can make these special moments with your loved one ever more desirable.

Sleeping

How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
When and where your baby sleeps affects you and your partner. Photo Credit baby sleeping image by Tatyana Gladskih from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Your baby may often want to be close to you and your partner, even when sleeping. According to an article on kidshealth.org, "Cosleeping and Your Baby," sharing a bed with a newborn is a controversial topic in the United States because the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that it poses risks of suffocation for the baby. Nevertheless, many parents still do this. If you choose to sleep with your baby, you and your partner will likely have to sleep at a greater distance from each other in order to make room for the child. If your baby sleeps in a crib, you may have to get up several times a night for feeding, which will also affect your partner's sleeping schedule. If expressing milk into a bottle is a possibility, you can take turns getting up to feed the baby at night.

Siblings

How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
Who does what around the house? Photo Credit Little girl is cleaning the floor image by Ivonne Wierink from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

If there are other children in your family, they may need some preparation, as they will also be tremendously afftected by the newborn's presence. According to an article U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Birthing and Parenting Classes," some hospitals offer sibling classes that can prepare children for the arrival of a new brother or sister. This may be a good way to prepare a child for the responsibility of an older sibling.



An article on Childnparent.com "Getting Ready to be a Big Brother or Big Sister" suggests that any necessary furniture movements or other changes in the household need to happen at least six weeks prior to the newborn's arrival in order to allow siblings to get used to it. As children may need more help getting used to the new family dynamics, it is very important to guide them in this process. Asking the older siblings to help around the house or with the baby can be a good method of involving them in family duties, as well as giving them a sense of responsibility.

Distribution of Duties

How a Newborn Affects Family Dynamics
Photo Credit happy family 1 image by fotomagic from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Although cohabitation always assumes a certain distribution of duties, it is twice as important to have a clear idea of who's doing what in a household with a newborn. Feeding, comforting, washing and changing the baby can take up more time than you may think. Since many of these duties often fall to the mother, other family members may have to compensate for the things that the mother physically doesn't have the time to do.

As you work together to adjust to the new family dynamics, your family will likely feel as if the time before the birth of your baby is now left behind in another life.

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