5 May 2022

Becoming a new mum can feel exciting and overwhelming. Overnight, everything changes and suddenly you have a little person relying on you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It’s such an important job and there’s a lot to learn. Be easy on yourself and try to remember the following tips as you navigate the first leg of the parenting journey.

1. Make self-care a priority

Looking after yourself can be difficult when you are caring for your baby and have limited time (and sleep!). Make sure you prioritise your mental health and emotional wellbeing during this period.

Be realistic about what you can achieve each day and do things that make you happy. Remember, the washing can wait until you are ready.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or mindfulness, and gentle, daily exercise can help reduce any stress you may be feeling.

2. Nourish your body with healthy food

Nutritious, healthy and regular meals will help your body adjust to the changes in your lifestyle.

Remember to eat breakfast – it will help maintain your energy levels and milk supply (if you are breastfeeding).

Drink a lot of water to help you stay hydrated and produce enough breast milk (if you are breastfeeding). Always keep some water nearby, especially when you are nursing your baby.

3. Establish a support network

Babies are healthier and happier if their caregivers receive consistent support from family, friends and social networks.

If you have a partner, make time to connect with each other. Involve them in the care of your baby and find ways to share household tasks.

Motherhood can feel lonely until you talk to someone who understands how you feel. Join a mother’s group or playgroup so you can meet other new mums. Your local child health nurse can recommend peer groups and other support networks in your neighbourhood.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members for help with practical jobs like washing, cooking and caregiving so you can have a break.

4. Set good sleep routines

Consistent sleep routines will support your baby’s health, wellbeing and learning as they grow.

Build a predictable, daily routine and create bedtime rituals to help your baby settle more easily. Rhythmic movements, gentle patting and soothing sounds may help them go to sleep. Some new mums need help to establish sleep routines for their babies. If you need some advice, please talk to your local child health nurse. The Ellen Barron Family Centre has created a series of responsive settling videos to help parents establish good sleeping routines at home.

5. Enjoy playtime with your baby

Play is like fireworks for your baby’s brain. It helps them understand their world and develop physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally.

Cuddle, smile and talk to your baby and play simple games like peek-a-boo to create fun and laughter.

Sing and read to your baby – hearing your voice and rhyming sounds can support early speech development.

For more advice and support, contact your local Child Health Service. Find a Child Health Service near you.

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