When you have a baby in today’s world, the amount of information out there can be overwhelming. We have handpicked four new parents to share their experiences with you while their babies are at some key milestones. Our new parents speak about their experiences when their baby is three months old, six months old, nine months old, and hits the one-year mark.
All of these parents have had different experiences with hurdles to jump, but by acknowledging the challenges and working with them –and not against them –these new parents are giving their babies a fantastic start in life while nurturing their own body and minds.
Three-month milestone: a letter from Laura and baby Freya
It has certainly been a rollercoaster three months. At times I have had a lot of unsettled days, but the good days far outweigh the down days. I am finally getting organised and can interpret Freya’s needs better. A big breakthrough came when I decided she would sleep better in her own room, and when I discovered that distraction works when she doesn’t want to do something –especially singing! I am getting out and about; it’s an effort but worth it, and I tend to walk most days rather than take the car. I have started going to baby clubs and meeting other parents. It is great to know other parents feel the same. I don’t listen to other parents’ comparisons with my own baby; People vary in their parenting approaches, so it’s best to spend time with those who mirror my own values.
- take time to adapt to your new lifestyle
- try to socialise and meet other parents
- trust your instincts
Six-month milestone: a letter from Darren and baby Jack
Early on we realised a strict routine was not going to work, so we concentrated on the most important priorities and Jack’s needs. He is still wakeful during the night for feeds, so I help as much as I can and help with the household chores. Evenings don’t really exist for us as a couple. It’s usually about 9pm before Jack finally settles, but we know that this will pass. We don’t want to embark on any harsh sleep training methods, but it is challenging when you are awake again at 3am walking the boards! A great book called ‘Gentle Sleep’ helped us rationalise Jack’s sleeping patterns. Work life has been affected due to lack of sleep, but I seem to have survived. Weekends are when we make a point of getting out and doing active things together. It’s been a challenging 6 months at times, but I am aware of strengths that have surfaced too –it’s amazing being a dad.
- work as a team
- find resources that help you cope better
- know that you have inner resources to cope
Nine-month milestone: a letter from Adam and baby Ben
Looking back, I wish I had been more useful and supportive, especially in the early weeks. The responsibility of being a dad can be overwhelming as a parent you tend to over-compensate and worry ‘what if’. I was very awkward at first, it sounds ridiculous now, but it was months before I felt confident bathing him! A disruption to my sleep routine were the biggest shock to my system, but I have become a dab hand at changing nappies even in the middle of the night.Now, we are established as a great little family. Benis the focus of our life; he has a definite personality and even a cheeky sense of humour. We spend as much time as we can out and about together. Parenting has been a massive learning curve, but when I look at our son –I am proud.
- share your concerns and support each other
- it takes time to learn new skills and adapt
- take pride in what you have achieved together
Twelve-month milestone: a letter from Rosie and baby Leo
I had concerns when I returned to work recently, mainly about being away from work for so long and the prospect of leaving my little boy all day was a real wrench. I am still feeding him at night and in the morning before I go to work, so it’s an early start. I think about the little things: will he settle okay for his nap and will he eat enough food today? Being organised has been a major undertaking for us but essential -ensuring everything I need for work and Leo is ready the night before.
Disruption to my sleep routine has become the norm. I can’t have a power nap at work, so an early night is the only solution for me getting through the working day. I love to receive photos or little messages during work time to keep track of Leo’s day and the evenings are spent re-connecting with him. On my days off, it is time to catch up and enjoy spending time with daddy at the weekends. Overall, life is busy but so rewarding.
- know that you are doing your very best
- be organised for a smoother transition to resuming work
- re-connect and enjoy your time as a family