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Looking after yourself with a newborn

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Those first few days at home with your baby will probably be a bit of a blur – a non-stop mix of nappies, night feeds, nerves and new experiences. It’s an exciting time, but you might well be feeling tired, emotional and even a little weepy. Remember, it’s baby steps for both of you. You’ll quickly get the hang of looking after your little one, but it’s important to remember to look after yourself, too. So, say yes to any offers of help, remember to eat, and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Read on for more tried and tested, straight-talking tips for new parents.

Top tips from parents

What the professionals say

"All new mums and dads will need some extra support from friends and family when they first get home. Families are most helpful when something needs to be done. Don’t be afraid to ask if they don’t offer. It might be some food shopping, a load of washing, or just tidying up. More often than not they’ll enjoy feeling useful."

"When your little one is really small, it's normal for everyone's focus to be on them. It's really important to keep your own needs in mind too. Just getting some 'me time' can give you the breathing space you need - whether it's meeting another parent for coffee, asking someone to babysit, or having a relaxing bath before bed. When you can, take up offers of help from other people even if it’s just help with little chores around the house. Support, rest and relaxation will be good for you and your baby as you grow together.”

"Exhaustion can make you feel like it's even harder to cope, especially when things aren't going as you had planned. Please remember that this will pass. A lot of new parents we speak to share the same feelings – this is a completely normal way to feel. If it doesn't fade, make sure to speak to your GP, health visitor, or midwife. They're there to support you and give advice to help make life a little easier."

"Speak to people – it's incredibly important to get help if you are feeling low and in actual fact if you are very low and struggling to speak to your GP, maybe a partner or someone close to you could pick up the phone and make that initial contact. It's really important to put yourself out there and get help as there's lots of it available."

Lesley Weir, Family Nurse 

Common questions newborn parents have

More information

If you’d like to read more about postnatal depression, you can visit the Ready Steady Baby website.

Or, if you’re worried that you or a family member might be suffering from postnatal depression, call your midwife, GP or NHS 247 on 111.