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Becoming a parent

A close up photo of a baby's face

Becoming a parent is hugely rewarding, but it can also be incredibly hard work, especially at first, as you try to deal with so many changes to your everyday routine, alongside coping with sleepless nights.

Looking after a baby takes lots of energy and patience and there will probably be times when you're not quite sure what you're doing, but this is the same for everyone.  It's common to take a while to feel confident and comfortable in your new parenting role, so don't worry if you have good and bad days.

Most new parents will need a little bit of extra support from family and friends, especially at the beginning.  This could include anything from helping around the house and doing some shopping to watching the baby or other children, so you can have a break or simply being there to listen, if you need them. 

Having a reliable network of family, friends, other parents or neighbours, who you can call upon for help, can make a massive difference, so remember you don’t have to go it alone!

There's also a range of local and national support available, to help you and your baby.

Local support

Herefordshire Council offer a range of information and services for children and families, including:

  • Herefordshire Healthy Mums which offer a free 12 week course to help mums with little ones under the age of 2, provide a healthy lifestyle for them and their family.

  • Children's centres which provide different services for under five's, their families and carers, across the county.

  • Parenting courses which cover all ages from birth to 18 years old.

  • Registering a birth once your little one has arrived, along with information on naming ceremonies.  Don't forget, you'll also need to register your baby with your GP surgery.

National support

DadPad, which has been developed alongside the NHS, offer an essential guide for new dads, which gives you the knowledge and practical skills you need to support yourself, your partner and your new baby.

Family Lives provide advice on all aspects of parenting and family life, from pregnancy and birth to early years development and starting school.

Gingerbread offer free advice and practical support for single parents on a range of issues, including separation, child maintenance, bereavement, benefits and childcare.

ICON offer free guidance to help you cope when your baby cries, including comfort methods and parent relaxation.

The NHS offer a comprehensive guide, which includes everything you need to know about caring for a baby, from newborn screening and breastfeeding to teething and potty training.  They also provide advice on keeping fit and healthy and coping with stress after having a baby.

Start4Life provide a fantastic range of information, which will support you and your baby, including how to breastfeed, when your baby's vaccinations will be due, when and how to start introducing solid foods and learning to move and talk.

The Lullaby Trust offer lifesaving safer sleep advice for you and your baby, including the best sleeping position, the safest room temperature, sharing a room or bed with your baby and the best mattresses and bedding.

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