Preparing for Parenthood
Knowing what to expect can help make the transition into parenthood easier. We’ve got tips to prepare you for the big changes ahead.
Life with a newborn – the first few months
A lot changes in the first few months after birth!
It can also be an emotional rollercoaster. It’s natural to have mixed feelings such as joy, worry, anger, relief, frustration, excitement and at times you may even feel overwhelmed.
In addition to giving lots of love and cuddles to your baby, parenting is a set of skills you can learn. And there may be lots of trial and error as you figure it out.
Just remember, you’re not alone!
Tips to help you prepare
- You’re not expected to have all the answers. Becoming a parent is a process. A lot of parents find that it takes time to get the hang of it.
- Keep an open mind – prepare for the unexpected!
- Have a basic understanding of what babies like and need
- Take care of yourself. Try to rest whenever you can
- Accept your feelings – being stressed and angry can be common emotions
- Accept that change will be the new normal
- Back yourself and have confidence in your own abilities
- Trust your own instincts – don’t take advice on face value
- Build supports and ask for help when you need it
Taking care of yourself
Making time for yourself is often the last thing on your mind or it can feel too selfish.
Giving yourself a break and looking after yourself helps you to be a better parent.
Here are some ideas, but you might like to come up with your own list!
- Try to keep up some of the interests you had before kids
- Exercise – this will help with energy and sleep
- Eat well – this will give you more energy and nutrients (especially for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers)
- Use relaxation techniques like deep breathing
- Do at least one thing a day you enjoy
- Seek help when you need it
Taking care of your adult relationships
Becoming a parent means there is less time to spend with your partner, friends and relatives. Fulfilling your need for love and support is still important though!
- If you are in a couple make time to spend together regularly and show your partner you care
- Make time to listen and support each other. Connect at time when you can give your full attention to your partner
- Make friends with other new parents alongside regular contact with family and friends
Making adjustments at home
You may be single, in a couple, or expanding your family with varying levels of support.
It’s no surprise that a new baby brings changes to the workload and new demands on your time.
Try to talk about it with the people around you and work out the right balance for your family:
- Ask for support from family and friends when needed
- Talk about responsibilities and what is fair for everyone
- Prioritise what is most important
- Establish routines but also be flexible
- Find out new strategies from parenting support services
Having a supportive network around you is important. These people and services can help:
- GP, Child Health Nurse or midwife
- Your local Parentline service
- Community Child Health Centre
- Local Parenting Groups
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline – 1800 882 436
- National Breastfeeding Helpline – 1800 686 268
- PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) – 1300 726 306
- Mensline Australia – 1300 78 99 78