Congratulations, mama, dad and the rest of your family! Welcoming your new bundle of joy is exciting, magical – and more than just a little scary and challenging. We’ve put together a few tips that can help you navigate this time – and while they may not make it completely easy, they may help you cope just a little bit better. Not all of these tips will apply, and there will be other things you may want to add or try, but this can serve you as a good starting point!


Establish a Routine

This tip is the first one for a reason, and it’s the one that is most often recommended. Routines are great for newborns, helping them thrive and settle more easily. It doesn’t mean you need to do the same things at exactly the same time, down to the second, but keeping things as consistent as possible can make a real difference for your new little one. Not only does it make knowing how your day is going to go more predictable for you, but it also helps your baby feel more secure.


Accept Help

We know, we say this all the time, but that’s because it’s important. If someone offers to cook a meal or two for you, say yes. If they want to put on a load of laundry or wash the dishes so you can focus on bubs, again, say yes! There will be people who are happy to listen while you vent, some who can offer advice when you just don’t know what’s going on, and others who would love to watch your baby for a couple of hours so you can get some of that needed shut-eye. The important thing is to remember that you absolutely do not have to do it alone. If someone you trust is offering to do something you trust them to do (and these combos will vary from person to person, of course), let them help! Your frazzled mind will thank you for it in the long run.


Take Care of Yourself

Yep, it’s the old self-care routine. And we get it – as a new parent, you’ve probably already conditioned yourself to put your baby’s needs ahead of your own. And that’s reasonable and required, but only to a point. If you don’t give yourself a chance to rest, eat well, or hydrate properly, then there’s the risk of ending up at a real disadvantage when taking care of your little one. Looking after a baby is much like any other job. You do your best work when you’re healthy and relaxed. Taking care of yourself gives you the best chance to care for them.


Baby's hand holding parent's finger

Be Kind to Yourself

Related to the two points above is this one – be kind to yourself. It’s not uncommon for new mums, in particular, to hold themselves to far higher standards than they would ever expect of anyone else. It’s impossible to know everything involved with parenthood, and there’s no reason any one person—especially when they’re a first-time parent—should know all of it. And that’s why you can ask others, especially professionals, for advice. In New Zealand, your midwife will continue to look after you and your baby for six weeks after bubs is born before transferring you to a Tamariki Ora Well Child provider. This is often (though not always) Plunket. Either of these can be contacted whenever you have questions. Aside from that, parenting is something you learn as you go, as is how to deal with the changes to the way you used to live your life. Be kind to yourself, and forgive yourself for the small mistakes you’ll make as you go.

Remember, it’s okay to not have all the answers. Parenting is a learning process, and it’s normal to make mistakes along the way. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace as you navigate this new chapter in your life.


Join a Parenting Group

Parenting groups are extremely common, and many parents find them to be an incredible source of support, as well as giving you a chance to get out of the house and interact with other adults who are going through the same things you are. Or, if getting out of the house isn’t practical, there are online groups as well! These groups often lead to lifelong bonds, both between the parents and through the friendships that are built between the babies who grow up alongside one another. They can also be great places to bounce ideas off each other and offer tips and tricks. Additionally, many parenting groups invite professionals, including midwives, lactation consultants and nurses, to help with the trickier issues you may be dealing with.

These are just a few things that can help get you through those early weeks and months of having a newborn – and they also open up pathways to other coping mechanisms, be they personal, professional or community support. It’s also great to remember that the newborn stage is incredibly short, though it may not feel like it at the time, and your baby will change so much. Cherish what you can and forgive yourself those small trip-ups along the way.


For those who have already been through the newborn days, what advice do you wish you’d received? And what tips would you give to new parents just starting out?