Getting to know your baby
Bringing up a baby will change many things, including your close relationships; being prepared can help. Like all relationships, it takes time to develop. It's also fairly safe to say that the closer the bond you have with your baby, the more you'll be able to cope with stressful situations when they arise.
Sometimes the bond with your baby is there from birth, or it may take a bit longer- that’s okay too. Take time to get to know each other and make your baby feel confident that they're safe, secure and loved. Becoming a skilled parent is often a matter of lots of “practice” for mothers and fathers. The NSPCC have lots of top tips on ways to manage the changes that happen as you become a parent that you may find useful in All Babies Count.
Bonding with your baby:
Cuddle your new child, skin to skin – they will respond to the warmth and closeness. Touch and smell are two of the most important senses in the bonding process.
Hold and stroke your baby, and comfort them as soon as possible when they cry – they will feel loved and protected.
Even if you’ve had babies before, each one is different and you need to spend time getting to know your new child. Watch what your baby does, talk or sing to them, look into their eyes and see how they respond to you – newborn babies might not be able to speak but they can communicate with you in other ways.
Think about what your baby might be feeling. Learning to understand them early on will make you closer.
- Babies move from wakefulness to sleep differently. Every baby does this in their own way – some move between these states very quickly, whereas others will stay in one state for a long time. Recognising your baby’s pattern will help you to respond in different ways to suit your baby at different times.
If, for any reason, you don't think bonding with your baby is going as well as it could, there is plenty of help and support available. Talk to your Health Visitor, confide in a close friend or family member, or you can speak to one of the NSPCC helpline counsellors on 0808 800 5000. They'll be only too happy to listen and help.
Having a baby changes you physically and emotionally. Life as you knew it may have changed and your relationships with your partner, family and friends may be tested- this is very normal and most parents say that it takes them time to adjust to all the changes a baby brings.
Looking after a baby often leaves little time for other things; try to enjoy some time as a couple. Talk about how you will share the workload- teamwork is the key to success. This is a special time in your child’s life; take time to have fun, enjoy watching them grow and develop.
Sometimes the strain on relationships can boil over into arguments. Babies can pick up the tension and stress that’s felt by a parent; babies are scared by loud noises, such as shouting. If your partner makes you feel afraid or has hurt you, support is available. Domestic abuse in the home can prevent parents looking after their child’s needs. We know it can be hard to seek help, but it’s out there and it’s the best thing for you and your child. Contact your GP or health visitor and ask them for help. You may also find Family Lives in Hampshire and Relate helpful.
Returning to work
If you are considering returning to work, Hantsweb provides useful information on childcare options and information on child-minders and nurseries. It is also possible to request Ofsted reports.
Useful advice on managing breastfeeding and work can be found at our Breastfeeding support link and Best Beginnings website.
If you are not planning on returning to work or are in receipt of benefits, the Citizen's Advice provides useful advice to ensure you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to.