One thing all parents know is that nothing about parenting is exactly what you expected.
So to better support and understand today’s new parents, we started at the beginning: we listened.
You're doing brilliantly
Now, of course, the hard work really begins. You've probably already had plenty of unwanted baby advice from friends and family about how they would do things differently, especially when your baby is having a good cry. The important thing is you're doing it your way, and you're doing it brilliantly (even though you might not always feel you are).
How you feel is totally normal
Whether you’re a mum or dad on their own or with a partner raising your little one is exhausting and challenging, it can be frustrating and, well, just crazy busy. Your emotions will swing back and forth (you might even burst into tears mid-nappy change yourself). You’ll have moments when you feel anxious and worried, not just about your baby but about money and work, all sorts of things. You might feel guilty, that you’re being judged, even lonely. Remember, the ‘perfect parent’ doesn’t exist, and the good news is all of your feelings and reactions are absolutely normal, whatever normal is these days!
Doing it your way
You’re different from other mums and dads, and your baby is different from other tots too. You’re doing it your way, and you’re making the right choices for you and your baby (and you’re doing a fantastic job).
A bit of extra help
We know sometimes mums, dads and parents-to-be might need an extra bit of help, especially when things don’t always go to plan. That’s why we’re here for you every baby step of the way.
So welcome to our Smart parenting programme offering the latest expert advice and support whether you’re expecting, a new parent or are on baby number five. We hope it will provide support when you need it, bring fresh insights into the changing world of parenting and hopefully help you make the right decisions for you and your family.
How to parent like a pro with the Mother of all Checklists
Baby on the way / in your arms, and worried you don't have a clue? (No one does, shhh.) Check out our Mother of all Checklists free web app to help you win in every aspect of modern parenting.
Co-created by experienced parents to help you stay on top of your to-do lists during pregnancy and all the way to toddler-hood. From ideas on what to pack in your hospital bag, or questions to ask at ante-natal appointments - if it’s helpful, it’s here.Try the app
There's no wrong answer
There is no such things as the perfect parent and all of your feelings and reactions are perfectly normal. Try the quiz, there is no right or wrong answer – just remember you’re not alone.
Did you ever feel alone during your first year as a parent?
Don’t worry, it’s totally normal! Most mums have experienced a bit of loneliness in the beginning. Even when you’re scrolling through social media feeds with friendly faces, feelings of detachment and isolation often creep in. Try some mum and baby classes or find parent and baby groups to join online.
Sounds like you have a great support network! If loneliness does creep in, try focusing on the baby in your arms and friendly faces on your social media feeds. It can really help.
Do you and your partner share childcare responsibilities?
That’s great, sounds like you’ve got this nailed. Try swapping tasks every so often to change things up a bit.
It’s tricky to maintain balance! Try divvying up the childcare tasks in a way you’re both comfortable with, and don’t hesitate to revisit if it isn’t working for you both. For example, try having one parent cook dinner while the other handles bath time, then swap the next day!
During your first year as a parent, did you experience lots of emotional highs and lows?
Answer Yes: It’s like a roller coaster, right? One minute you’re looking in to your little ones eyes with an explosion of love and another minute you don’t know how you’ll survive without exploding yourself.
Sounds like you have a great support network and have managed to maintain some balance in your life. Emotional highs and lows can still happen though so make sure you talk to you partner or family if you start to feel overwhelmed.
Did you feel a sense of guilt at all as a new parent?
Let us count the ways! For going back to work, or not going back to work. For breastfeeding, or not breastfeeding. For taking an hour to meet a friend for coffee, or not getting to see friends at all… It’s easy to feel like you can’t win. The good news is you’re not alone: The majority of new parents feel guilty, no matter the choices they make. Try to remember you are making choices which are right for you and your family, and this phase will not last forever.
We wouldn’t blame you if you said yes, but bravo for being immune to guilt during a time when it’s so easy to feel the pressure to be perfect.
All things considered; would you say your baby is an “easy baby”?
Sleeps through the night, doesn’t cry in public and eats when we do if that isn’t easy, what is?
We get it. They cry a lot, sleep little, eat a little (or a lot) and poop a lot. We’ll ask again once they leave for college.
When it’s been so long since you read a newspaper, watched TV or scrolled through social media that you’re unaware of what’s happening in the outside world.
When you’re afraid to admit you’re struggling out of fear of judgement or abandonment.
When you’re dying for a vacation away from your new baby just so you can catch up on sleep.
When you’re so focused on feeding, changing and putting your baby to sleep that you forget to take care of your own basic needs.
When you hide in another room and pretend to sleep so your partner has to deal with the baby.
What new parents call strangers who offer unsolicited thoughts and advice about how you’re raising your child.
When, despite loving your child, you sometimes feel more tearful, overwhelmed and lonely on this new parental journey.
When, as a mother, you can do no right, while papa can do no wrong.
Parenting... It's a whole new language
Introducing the parenting dictionary of new words, a fun look at the new language of parenting