It’s a very special time when your new bundle of joy arrives.
Babies communicate in lots of ways - you don’t have to wait for them to cry to give them a cuddle or play with them. You won’t spoil your baby if you give them lots of cuddles and attention. They will learn the world is safe, and will feel secure.
It will take time to get used to having a baby and working out what they want. There is no need to rush into having a routine straight away. Take time to get to know your new baby and enjoy time together. This special time will help the bond between you to grow.
To guide you on your new journey, the ‘Bump, Baby & Beyond’ e-book is written by parents, health professionals and child psychologists. The book has 5 sections, pregnancy, birth, you and your new baby, your growing baby and your toddler. Everything you need to know, all in one place.
Along your journey don’t forget to:
1. Take Care of yourself
It can be an intense time and you may have a range of emotions. It’s life changing, so don’t forget to look after yourself too!
There are likely to be support groups for new parents running locally to you. This is a fantastic way of getting out and an opportunity to meet other new parents and share experiences. Ask your midwife, health visitor or contact your local Family Information Service. Find your local service at Dewis Wales.
You may notice changes in your mood, perhaps being bad tempered or tearful. Sometimes this is known as the "baby blues" and can last for a few weeks. However, if your symptoms last longer, it could be postnatal depression. There is more information on Mind’s website.
It’s OK to ask for help. If you are worried about feeling stressed, low or depressed talk to your health visitor or GP.
2. Make sure your partner is involved
If there are two of you parenting, your partner is very important too. If you are not the main caregiver, you might feel a bit left out. If they are involved in parenting, it is important to remember, they matter too. Research has shown that Dads have a positive impact on their child’s life right from birth. You/your partner can strengthen the relationship with your baby by cuddling, talking, singing, smiling and eye contact.
3. Keep your relationship in check
If you are parenting together, sleepless nights and a crying baby can put a strain on your relationship with your partner. Try to support each other and stay calm as you learn what your baby needs. Take turns to have a nap. Sleep when your baby sleeps. For more information on relationships when you first become parents, go to Couple Connection (External link) or Relate (External link).
4. Talk with me
In the first month, your baby will be able to see, hear and may turn towards familiar sounds, like your voice. Within the first few weeks, your baby will start to take more notice of your voice, your smile, and will recognise their Mum and Dad or carer. Your baby needs cuddles, talking and attention to help their brain develop.
To encourage their development make sure you talk with your baby, whenever you can. The BBC has developed some useful tips on supporting your baby’s speech, language and communication skills.
You can also read to your baby, but hold the book close as new-borns can only see close up. There are more ideas for talking and playing with your baby from the National Literary Trust and You can speak some words in Welsh too. Even if you only know a little Welsh, speaking some words to your baby gives them the best start to a bilingual life. You and your child could also sing along to a range of Welsh nursery rhymes on Mudiad Meithrin’s website. These songs include many simple words making it easy for young children to absorb the Welsh language.
5. Keep your baby safe
There are many different ways you can keep your baby safe, have you considered:
- safe sleeping
- the effects of passive smoking - Second-hand smoke harms your baby. Keep your baby away from smoke in your home, car and while you’re out and about. If you or a member of your family is looking to quit we have a “Help Me Quit” website and helpline 0808 274 4179
- the rights of your child - Every child in Wales has rights. In Wales we have a Children’s Commissioner. Her vision is for children to be happy, healthy and safe. Her role involves looking how public bodies in Wales, including the Welsh Government makes decisions and how they affect children’s rights. To understand more about children’s rights in Wales follow ChildrensRightsWales on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- How to cope when your baby is crying. It can be hard work and upsetting caring for a crying baby. If it is getting too much for you, put your baby in a safe place and leave the room for a moment until you feel calmer. Never shake your baby. This can damage their brain. Always support your baby’s neck and head whenever you lift them or lay them down. NSPCC have a booklet showing safe ways to hold your baby. If you are finding it difficult, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Cry-sis provides support for crying and sleepless babies their helpline is 08451 228 669 (lines are open 9am to 10pm, 7 days a week)
- What to do if you think your baby is unwell - If they have a high temperature, they may have an illness. If you think there's something wrong ring NHS Direct Wales for advice. You can call them on 111.