#ReadyforParenthood Campaign

ReadyForParenthood

 

Congratulations on becoming a new parent

Becoming a new parent is life-changing. It can also be in varying measures exhilarating, exhausting, and extremely challenging.

Our #ReadyforParenthood campaign aims to support new parents, running across local authorities, NHS organisations and local support groups. Each month focuses on a different aspect of being a parent:

  • Attachment and developing a relationship with your baby
  • Checking your vaccinations are up to date for you and your baby
  • Keeping to a healthy weight, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet
  • Feeding your baby
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • What to do when your baby is crying
  • Perinatal mental health and wellbeing for parents
  • Healthy relationships
  • Post-natal contraception and spacing your pregnancies; getting ready for a future pregnancy
  • Looking after your own body, pelvic health and postnatal checks
  • Stopping smoking and cutting out or reducing alcohol and drug use
  • Understanding more about if your baby is born early

This page will develop throughout the campaign period (November 2021 onwards) as we provide a range of information and links to useful organisations that can help you.

Attachment

Bonding with your new baby takes time. Your baby can hear from around 24 weeks of pregnancy so you can start talking to them before they are born. When your baby is born, you can start to get to know them by having skin-to-skin contact.

Even if they have to stay in hospital you can spend time bonding with them and be part of their care until they are ready to come home.

Holding your baby, making eye contact, smiling and talking to them when you’re together or out and about helps them to feel secure and connected. You may not feel an immediate bond with your baby, but taking time to get to know them will build your relationship.

If you are feeling that life as a new parent is difficult, you can talk with friends and family, your midwife, the maternal mental health team or your health visitor for support.

Useful links:

 

Vaccination

 

Covid-19, Influenza vaccinations and Whooping cough are recommended in pregnancy to protect you and your baby from serious illness. Ask your midwife, GP or an immunisation nurse for more information.

You can have the Covid-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding and getting both jabs offers the best protection. Vaccinated people are far less likely to become seriously ill.

Childhood vaccinations are offered free of charge by your GP. As well as protecting your own baby, you’re also protecting other babies and children by preventing the spread of disease.

Useful links:

Healthy living

 

The environments we provide our children help shape their experiences. Try to make eating well and taking regular exercise a priority and it will help promote healthy behaviours to your children.

Exercise increases energy levels and helps you feel good. It doesn’t have to mean joining a gym. Pushing the pram or buggy to the shops or in a park is a good way to get active. Some parks even have free green gyms you can use.

Build activity into your everyday. You can use the stairs rather than the lift, walk places instead of driving, walk briskly with your buggy, rather than slowly. You will soon start to feel the benefits.

You may find less time for shopping so preparing healthy meals in advance will help keep your energy up whilst you look after your child. You can prepare meals in bulk and freeze them.

Regular physical activity is great for our bodies and minds. Slower paced activities such as walking are good opportunities to connect with others. Make time to connect with family and friends, in a safe way and take notice of the world around you.

We have a comprehensive guide and introduction to healthy eating and weight including local weight management services.

Infant feeding

 

Breastfeeding is good news for mums as well as babies. It lowers the risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and obesity. It naturally uses up around 500 calories a day. And it saves money – formula feeding can cost as much as £45 a month.

In the first few days after birth, breasts produce a golden yellow fluid called colostrum. It’s the perfect combination of vitamins and nutrition for your baby, and much easier to digest than first infant formula.

If you need help or support with breastfeeding, visit our feeding page, ask your midwife or health visitor, or get in touch with your local breastfeeding support group.

If your baby is around six months and staying in a sitting position with steady head and is co-ordinating their eyes, hands and mouth, it may be time to introduce solids. It’s important not to rush the process too quickly. 

 

 

The safest way for your baby to sleep is lying on their back on a firm, flat mattress in a cot, crib or moses basket. Babies whose heads are covered by bedding have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To stop them wriggling down, put them in the cot with their feet at the bottom end and tuck the blanket in under their arms. 

Avoid overheating which can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS). Babies can overheat with too much bedding or clothing, or if the room’s too hot. The ideal room temperature is 16-20°C. Use one or more layers of lightweight blankets; a folded blanket counts as two blankets.

Your baby should sleep in the same room as you, day and night, for at least the first six months so you can respond quickly if they need you.

Around 86% of Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDS) happen when a baby is six months old or less. To reduce the risk for your baby, seek advice from your health visitor and follow the safer sleep advice from the Lullaby Trust.

Don’t worry if they turn onto their tummy or side to sleep once they are old enough to roll over.

Some parents choose to share a bed with their baby. It is important to know how to do this safely.

It’s not recommended to co-sleep with your baby if either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom) or have drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you feel sleepy).

Seek professional advice and follow the safer sleep advice from the Lullaby Trust.

To reduce the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), it’s important that you don’t accidentally fall asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair. Put your baby in a safe place to sleep if you think this may happen.

If you worry you might fall asleep breastfeeding in bed, prepare your bed as a safe sleeping area for your baby by following the recommendations for co-sleeping

For more information on safe sleeping please visit:

Safe sleeping :: Frimley HealthierTogether (frimley-healthiertogether.nhs.uk)

Safer sleeping (frimleyhealthandcare.org.uk)

Babies must always travel in a car seat for their safety. Young or premature babies may have breathing problems if they travel in the car seat for too long. You may need to stop for regular breaks so they can stretch.

It’s okay for your baby to fall asleep in a car seat when travelling, but they should be taken out as soon as you get to your destination, and placed onto a firm, flat surface, such as a cot, crib or moses basket, to sleep. 

 

Crying baby

 

All babies cry, and some cry more than others. Crying is your baby’s way of telling you they need comfort and care.

Think ICON: ‘I’ is for Infant crying is normal. Every baby is different but after about 2-3 months they should start to cry less each week.

‘C’ is for Comforting methods can help soothe your baby. Try skin to skin cuddles, breastfeeding, singing to your baby or going for a walk together.

‘O’ is for OK to walk away if you’ve checked your baby’s safe and the crying’s upsetting you. After a few minutes when you’re feeling calmer, go back to them.

‘N’ is for Never, ever shake, hurt or shout at your baby. Shaking can cause lasting brain damage or death.

If you’re worried that your baby’s unwell visit our pages below for advice.

Baby under 3 months 

Useful links:

perinatal mental health

Having a baby is a big life event and it’s natural to experience a range of emotions. If you’re feeling low or depressed, speak to your family, friends, midwife, health visitor or GP. Make time for yourself and keep doing the things you enjoy.

If you think your partner has postnatal depression, encourage them to get the help and treatment they need. You can help by sharing the load – caring for your baby, as well as doing practical things like household tasks. It’s common for partners to get anxious or depressed too, so seek help if you feel low.

Useful links below:

 

Accessibility tools