Parenting Journey - First Weeks
Life with a new baby is like no other time in your life. It is lived in a different space to the rest of world. New parents often have to eat in shifts. They spend more than a full working day just feeding their baby. They pace their hallways with sleepless babies, when the rest of the world is asleep. Though it can seem infinitely long at the time, this period in your life is short. The triumphs and challenges will pass and be replaced by new ones.
Share the journey
From the very beginning, try to share the work of looking after your new baby. Think about all the different tasks which are involved in looking after your baby and how your could divide them up between you both. If you are breastfeeding your baby, only Mum will be able to do this until her milk supply is established (3- 6 weeks). After this time, she can express and Dad will be able to participate in feeding expressed milk with a bottle. It is very important for your child’s healthy development that you are both actively involved in the care of your baby. Encourage your partner’s efforts, even if they are not doing things the way you would do them. Try to make a deliberate effort to avoid being critical of the way your partner cares for your baby. You are both new to this and your confidence can be fragile.
Look after each other
Before your baby’s birth, consider whether or not you are going to need additional support with the workload you have identified. The more support you have around you in the early weeks with your new baby, the more enjoyable your experience will be. You might like to consider asking family or friends to help you by:
- Looking after the baby or older sibling(s) so you can sleep/ shower/ eat;
- Bringing prepared meals or groceries;
- Helping with house work.
There may be some fantastic resources available to you in your friendship circle. Friends who are have had the following experiences may be great sources of support to you:
- Parenting a baby;
- Breastfeeding a new baby;
- Parenting a new baby after having a caesarean;
- Parenting a second or subsequent baby;
- Parents who have chosen to stay at home with their baby;
- Parents who have chosen to return to work after having a baby.
You might also consider making arrangements for:
- A cleaner;
- Grocery deliveries;
- Regular take-away food delivery.
Your local community will also have a number of resources available to support you as new parents, you might find the following links useful:
New Parent Supports and Resources
Australian Breastfeeding Association counselling helpline: 1800 686 268
Maternal and Child Helpline – Telephone Advice for Victorian families – 24 hour advice line – 13 22 29
- Queenslannd and Northern Territory – 1300 301 300
- Victoria – 13 22 89
- South Australia – 1300 364 100
- New South Wales – 1300 1300 52
- Western Australia – 1800 654 432
- Australian Capital Territory – (02) 6287 3833
- Tasmania – 1300 808 178
Australian Multiple Birth Association – 1300 886 499
Post and Ante-natal Depression Association - 1800 130 026
5.1 hrs per night
The number of hours sleep a new parent averages in their child's first year.
48.5 hrs per week
The number of additional hours worked by parents compared with adults who do not have children.
The number of couples who report a decline in marital satisfaction after becoming parents.