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Could hygge reduce the stress of life with a new baby?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll be familiar with hygge, the untranslatable Danish concept of cosiness and quality time that’s been sending lifestyle bloggers into a frenzy for longer than I care to remember.

Hygge

But while many of us hard-nosed Brits (myself included) may think of ourselves as too busy and too sceptical to try out anything so alternative, so airy-fairy and, well, so European, new research suggests that hygge may actually be good for new parents, by significantly reducing the stress of life with a new baby.

OK hygge, you’ve got my attention…

According to research from Infacol, Britain’s number one infant colic remedy, 74% of UK mums agree that the first six months with a new baby are the most stressful, while more than half (65%) say that, until you have a baby, you can’t imagine the worry involved.

I can certainly vouch for that. But is hygge really the answer?

Child psychologist and Danish parenting expert, Iben Sandahl, seems to think so. According to Sandahl, living a hygge life reduces stress for new parents and can have a calming influence on babies too. “If you are calm, your baby’s behaviour will reflect that,” she explains. “Be sincere in your presence and feel gratitude for the life you are living – that’s how to create a hygge moment.”

Hmm…still sounds a bit airy-fairy to me. Calmness is all well and good but it certainly wasn’t the first emotion I experienced during those early months of first time parenthood (mild panic seemed more the norm for me…).

But, being someone who doesn’t just discard something outright before doing the appropriate due diligence, I decided to put this theory to the test. So, analysing a list of seven of the top hygge lifestyle recommendations for a stress-free life, I ask;

Would these hygge remedies have been a hygge help during our first six months of parenthood, or, in reality, more of a hygge hindrance?

1. Light some candles and dim the lights

Hygge Candles

I see what they’re trying to do here…

  • Create an ambient space to promote calmness and prolonged sleepy sessions for babies and parents alike.
  • Light some fragrant candles to mask the smell of pooey nappies and dried milk.

While there’s clearly a heightened risk of burning the house down, all in all, it’s pretty clear how this might help create a more chilled home environment during those early days with a newborn…

New parent verdict: Hygge Help

 

2. Invest in some bubble bath essentials

Hygge bath

A tricky one this…on the one hand, I can see the benefits of a long relaxing soak in the tub after a long day of hard parenting. But if you think a newborn baby is going to give you a long enough respite between feeding, sterilising, pooing and screaming for even a shower, let alone a full-blown bubble bath, you might be in for a bit of a shock. A nice idea, but in practise…

New parent verdict: Hygge Hindrance

 

3. Buy some new pyjamas

Hygge new PJs

Since you’re pretty much going to be living in your pyjamas during those early days with a newborn, this sounds like a great shout. Sure, you’re not actually going to use them for the purpose they were intended (i.e. sleeping) and it’s inevitable that your new PJs will soon be covered in a combination of baby sick and other bodily fluids, but you might as well be comfortable in the process.

New parent verdict: Hygge Help

 

4. Spend more time offline

Hygge phone

Ooo…controversial. While half of me agrees with this, I remember how useful my phone was during those confusing early days of parenthood. You know, searching Google to ask “should my baby’s poo be fluorescent green”, seeking advice on sleep cycles from your NCT WhatsApp group, or finding solidarity from other parents online while doing the 3am night feed. Ultimately, I think being a new parent can be a pretty lonely time, so anything that helps you feel more connected to the outside world can actually be a very useful thing…

New parent verdict: Hygge Hindrance

 

5. Bundle up in blankets

Hygge blankets

As a working dad, there’s nothing I dream about more often than a ‘duvet day’ at home with my wife and our baby. Yes, I know summer is just around the corner, but judging by the torrential rain we’ve seen this week, a day snuggled up on the sofa sounds eminently appealing…

New parent verdict: Hygge Help

 

6. Clear your diary for some ‘you time’

Hygge Me Time

HAHAHA!! ‘Me time’? With a newborn baby? We can but dream…

New parent verdict: Hygge Hindrance

 

7. Make some comfort food

Hygge Comfort Food

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Unless you’re a celebrity who’s trying to flog a ‘look-how-quickly-I’ve-lost-my-baby-weight’ DVD, comfort food is a must during those early days. Make it yourself (if you can find the time), but better yet, encourage any visiting family and friends to bring comfort food for the freezer whenever popping round to meet the new arrival…

New parent verdict: Hygge Help

THE RESULT: ‘Twas a close call, but Hygge Help wins, 4 – 3!

So there we have it, ladies and gentlemen…’conclusive’ evidence that living a hygge lifestyle may actually reduce your stress levels and enhance your experiences of early parenthood.

Now my wife and I just need to have another baby so that we can try it out for real. So Rosie, dim the lights, don your new PJs and queue up the ‘romantic playlist’ on Spotify. I’m coming home…

***

This article was written in collaboration with Infacol

(which, by the way, massively helped reduce our stress levels last year during those first few months of parenthood, by helping our gassy little boy avoid the dreaded colic!)

***

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