09:21 09 June 2009
Being a new parent means you'll be facing unknown joys and challenges. At times you'll sail through and at times the responsibility will seem too much. It's not necessarily easy being a new parent! This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
You'll look forward to the support and practical help family and friends can give. Remember you won't get parenting right all the time " go easy on yourself as you learn.
"...spend time together as a new family..."
If people offer to help, make sure you accept if you can. Cooking you a meal, making you a sandwich, taking a load of washing out of the machine and folding it, popping to the shops, putting petrol in the car, making a phone call... Simple things need twice as much organising when you have a new baby, so make the most of any favours people offer.
Parents often live with tiredness. During pregnancy you may wake due to 'overheating' and restlessness, the need to wee or simply because you can't find a comfortable position to get to sleep. After the birth you'll probably find it will be some time before you get a good night's sleep " your baby may wake and need feeding or comforting, or your body clock may simply be out of whack.
Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling bad-tempered or unable to cope with simple things that would not normally upset you.
Try some or all of the following to help you get a better night's sleep:
Having a baby means a big change in your social life. Along with the closeness you are developing with your baby you may miss the company of friends. You may feel bored and lonely if you have a new baby " and it can be a great help to make new friends " but how?
"I love being a mum, but I miss adult conversation and activities " I need to get out every day and see people, or I'll go mad. Sometimes, it's hard work to get myself and the baby ready before it's time to go home again, but I still think it's worth the effort."
Ask your midwife and health visitor about networks, clubs and groups of parents, such as the National Childbirth Trust (who have hundreds of branches, and whose branches meet up in smaller neighbourhood groups for social support), baby/toddler groups, breastfeeding support groups, Sure Start groups. Just turn up, or call the organiser to check the details, and to introduce yourself over the phone first.
Q. I can't stop thinking about the birth. I had a long, painful labour that ended in a caesarean section. I don't mind about that " I was glad to get it over with at the time. But I feel there are questions running round in my head, and I keep wondering if things could have gone differently.
A. It might help to talk to a midwife or health visitor about this. You can apply for a copy of your notes from the hospital where you had your baby. Looking at these might clear up some of the things that are puzzling you.
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