Read our top tips from real parents for your guide to parenthood.
You’ll need as much energy as you can get to look after your little one in their first weeks and months, plus your body needs some SERIOUS rest to recover from the exhausting process of the birth. Although it may feel like the perfect stop-gap to get the washing on, use their nap-time as a moment for yourself too.
Mum to 1 year-old Lily
It's good to acclimatise baby to sleeping through a certain amount of ambient noise.
Elle, mum to 7-month-old Evelyn
Kat, mum of 2
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Swap tickles and play for cuddles and whispers. A bath before bed can help establish your baby's sleep routine.
Going nappy-free for a bit helps prevent nappy rash, especially if your little one has sensitive skin. Remember to keep baby’s bottom on the changing mat to keep mess to a minimum!
Mum to 4month-ld Austin
First-time parents are often scared of cutting their baby’s nails in case they snip baby’s skin. But baby’s nails can become quite long and sharp, creating a risk that baby could scratch themselves. Baby-safe nail clippers minimize this hazard.
It’s wise to know what to look for, just in case. NHS guidance: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/spotting-signs-serious-illness/
NHS guidance on choking: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/helping-choking-baby/
Emily, mum to Oscar, Louie and Tillie
Laura, mum to 1-year old Alfie
In the first few days and weeks you and baby will be getting to know one another. Lots of eye contact and skin-to-skin touching will help develop your bond – especially during feeding.
Nappies, wipes, spare clothes and formula are things you can easily keep in the boot, as one day you might run out of these things on the road and be thankful you thought to prepare in advance.
Twin mum to 10-month-old Blake + Ivy
By dimming lights, talking quietly, cuddling and playing gently with baby, you can reinforce that night-time is bedtime from the very beginning.
After the initial excitement and buzz of what seems like hundreds of visitors, you may find that you and baby are starting to feel isolated at home. Meeting friends, getting outside and going along to parent classes and events can be fun for both you and baby.
Tara, mum to Idrees and Zakky
Rubbing eyes, yawning and stretching are some indicators. Babies around six weeks old can't usually stay awake for much more than two hours at a time.
Babies usually love vocal sounds like talking, babbling, singing, and cooing. They’ll also probably love listening to music. Baby rattles and musical mobiles are other good ways to stimulate hearing.
You don’t need to bathe baby in the first few days – you can “top and tail” instead (washing their face, neck, hands and bottom carefully using cotton wool). It’s advised that plain water is best for your baby's skin in the first month.
Before you pick your little one up, be aware of anything like zips or buttons on your top – they could graze or scratch baby or be a choking hazard.
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