Baby Care Basics for New Parents

January 27th, 2015

Becoming a Parent for the First Time

Finding out that you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting, nerve wracking and emotional times of your life. You might have yearned for a baby for some time or the news could be a pleasant surprise. One thing is for sure: around 9 months down the line you are about to welcome a new life into the world and things will change.

First time parents are always anxious to make sure that they get everything right for their new arrival and with a little advice this can be easier than you think. Sure, you are going to have a whole heap of new responsibilities and you are going to have to make big changes in your lifestyle, but these can be done with the minimum of impact. So if you thought that you would have to give up your social life when baby comes along, think again. With a little help and planning you can have a thriving social life with friends and your partner.

To start with, it is essential that you attend all doctors’ appointments and go to ante natal classes if you can, as these can help to prepare you for the birth. You should also speak to friends and relatives about their experiences with becoming a parent. It is also important that you and your partner share as much of this time as possible as he (or she) will be an invaluable support to you in the labour room and while caring for your baby.

You are now ready to go on the most exciting journey of your life. You will soon be meeting your new baby and you know that your life will change in the most dramatic of ways. You might feel that things will never be the same again, but with this guide you will learn how to effortlessly take care of your baby and have a thriving social life.

Baby Basics

Obviously you will need to get your home prepared for your baby and this will mean setting up a nursery, buying baby clothes and all of the other equipment you will need. To give you an idea of what you will need, check out this handy list:

Clothes

It can be hard to tell which size your baby will fit into before he or she is born so start with a few sets of newborn clothes (0-3 months) and a few sets of 3 -6 month clothes and you will have enough for the first few weeks or months.

Sleep suits and vests. Buy around 5 -10 of each of these as baby will need changing frequently. These should be in soft and stretchy fabrics that are comfortable and not restrictive. Choose items that have popper buttons down the front, at the neck and on the crotch for easier change times.

T-shirts / shirts – get 3 -7 of these that have plenty of room around the neck so they are easy to get on and off.

Pull on pants / leggings – get 3 -7 pairs and look out for stretchy waistbands that will accommodate your baby’s diaper and let the move freely.

One piece outfits – when your baby is first born they will do a lot of sleeping so these should really be a daytime version of a sleep suit.

Snowsuits are ideal if your baby is born in the wintertime. These tend to have a hood and come in a range of styles and colours. Choose one that is a size larger than what you will need so that it will fit over baby’s clothes.

Sweaters or jackets – choose styles that have front buttons so that they can be easily put on and taken off. Opt for one in newborn size and then buy larger as your baby grows.

Wearable blankets – buy 2- 4 of these as they can be worn at night over your baby’s pyjamas and will keep them warm and cosy. If you live in a warm climate you might not need these.

Socks or booties – buy 5- 10 pairs in newborn and 5 -10 pairs in 3-6 months.

Scratch mittens – buy 2- 3 pairs of soft mittens that can be slipped on your baby’s hands to prevent them from scratching their face.

Hats – buy 1 -3 hats for your newborn as it is essential to keep their heads warm. Soft knitted fabrics will fit over their head without being too tight.

The average cost of all of these items of clothing is around $200 - $300. You should expect to spend around $30 - $50 per month from then onwards on baby clothes. Look out for sets of vests, sleep suits, t-shirts etc that come in packs of 3 -7 as these will save you money.

Clothing Sizes

Source information

Age/Size

Weight

Length

Bootie/Shoe Size

Sock Size

Newborn

Up to 7 lbs

Up to 17"

N/A

N/A

Up to 3 Months

7-12 lbs

17-23"

3

Up to 6 Months

3-6 Months

12-17 lbs

23-27"

4

Up to 6 Months

6-12 Months

17-22 lbs

27-29"

5

6-12 Months

12-18 Months

22-27 lbs

29-31"

6

12-24 Months

18-24 Months

27-30 lbs

31-33"

7

12-24 Months

Feeding

If you plan on bottle feeding your baby you will need the following:

At least 6 4oz – 8oz bottles that have newborn nipples, as your baby gets older and wants more milk you will need to change the nipples to ones that are more free flowing.

A steriliser for the bottles. You can find these that can go in the microwave or sit on the counter top. If you shop around you will be able to find sets that have everything you will need for feeding baby from birth to around one year old. These can be a great way to have all of the essentials that you need while not breaking the bank as they cost from $30 - $50.

Muslin squares which can be used to mop up spills and dribbles.

Bibs because feeding baby is a messy time!

Breastfeeding moms might also want to express milk so that their baby can be bottle fed by others. If you plan on doing this you will need a breast pump and you can choose from manual pumps which you control by manipulating it by hand or electric models which will do the hard work for you. Manual breast pumps cost from $20 and electric pumps cost from $35.

Diapering

A baby will go through a lot of diapers and you should expect to spend $30 - $85 per month on disposables. The size diaper that your baby will need will be based on their weight. In most cases the weight / size for diapers is:

  • Up to 6lbs – these are used for premature babies.
  • Up to 10lbs – these tend to be the newborn sizes.
  • Up to 14lbs – these tend to be Size 1.
  • Up to 18lbs – these tend to be Size 2.

As your baby gets older you will move through the other sizes as appropriate.

You might want to use cloth diapers as many parents save around $2000 during the time their baby wears them when compared with the cost of disposables.

If you want to do this you will need the following:

Cloth diapers – you will need enough for 1 -3 days, less if you plan on doing the laundry daily. Newborns need to be changed frequently so you will need to have at least 10+ diapers per day.

Inserts – these are used inside diapers and are for heavy wetters. Most diapers will come with inserts but you should get extra packs for changes.

Diaper pail – store dirty diapers in here and make sure that it has a tight fitting lid as it can get quite smelly.

Cloth wipes – these are used instead of baby wipes and can be reused. Buy 15 – 30 of these so that you always have a supply for changes.

Detergent for diapers – this is specially formulated for a baby’s skin and will clean the diapers without bleaching them.

The cost for cloth diapers is around $250 for the full set up. After that you should expect to be spending money on the cost of washing the diapers and the detergent. This makes each changing time cost around $0.10 depending on the brand of cloth diaper you choose.

Remember that babies need changing several times per day which means you will need a good supply of diapers, changes of clothes (for baby not you, although sometimes you might get a little dirty yourself), a changing mat, baby wipes or cotton wool pads and lukewarm water. You should also make sure you have nappy rash cream which will help to prevent rash and create a protective barrier on baby’s skin. Diaper bags are also essential as you can put dirty diapers in them to throw away.

A changing bag is an absolute must while you are out and about. Buy one that is large enough for diapers, wipes, bottles and milk (if you are bottle feeding), a change of clothes or two for baby, a couple of small toys and any other essential items. Some of these bags have an inbuilt changing mat which means you can change baby on the go and means you have one less thing to think about. These can cost from $20 and are a key investment.

Bath time

A good baby bath does not have to be expensive and prices start from $10.

In addition to the bath you will need:

  • Soft towels for baby, you can buy some that have an inbuilt hood and are perfect for keeping them warm and dry.
  • Soft sponges or cloths for cleaning baby.
  • Baby shampoo and baby wash. Your baby’s skin is incredibly sensitive so don’t use the same products that you would use on yourself.

Remember to keep the room that you are bathing baby in warm and free from drafts as they will get very cold very quickly and bath time won’t be much fun.

Strollers

For newborns a travel system is a great idea. These have a removable car seat that can be fitted into the stroller frame for when the baby is first born. They can also be folded down flat so that baby can sleep and when baby is older they can be used as a stroller. These can cost from $99 for a Graco system all the way up to $1000+.

Before you buy a stroller make sure you can use it with ease as there is nothing more stressful than struggling to fold one down if you are taking the bus alone.

Car Seats

A car seat that is suitable from birth. Always buy car seats that are new or get them from a trusted relative or friend. If you buy these pre-used you do not know their history and they may have been involved in a car accident, which can weaken them. Don’t ever leave this to chance and don’t ever assume you can carry your baby on your lap in a car – you can’t. It’s dangerous and against the law, so make sure you are equipped.

A good quality car seat that is suitable from birth should cost around $40.

Nursery Furniture and other important items

Moses baskets / Cots

Many parents will choose a Moses basket to start with. These can be put on a frame and raised so that it is easy to pick up and put down your baby. Moses baskets are also a good idea if you want to have your baby in your room to start with as they are very lightweight and easy to move around. As your baby gets older you will want to move them into the nursery and use a cot. On average a Moses basket will cost around $50.

Cots can be used from newborn up until the age of around 18 months. Choose one that has one side that can be moved down so you can easily reach down for baby. Costs can cost anything from $100 upwards.

You might also want to get a mobile that you can hang above the cot to give your baby some stimulation. Make sure that this is out of the reach of your baby for safety reasons.

Bedding / sheets

It is a good idea to have at least two sets of sheets so that you have one ready to use if one gets soiled. Choose fitted sheets for the mattress as these will stay in place and not get tangled around baby which can be a potential hazard. A waterproof cover or mattress pad is also essential in order to protect the mattress from urine and faeces.

Dresser

In addition to holding your baby’s clothes a nursery dresser will also have spaces for wipes, diaper cream and other essentials. Some will have an inbuilt changing table that can slide out for convenience. You can pick up a good dresser for around $100.

Changing Table

These take the strain out of changing baby as they are raised at a comfortable height. You don’t have to invest in a changing table as they can be expensive (from $100 upwards) but they can also be used to store diapers, creams, blankets and so on as they will have shelves and / or drawers underneath.

Storage boxes

Babies need a lot of equipment and boxes like these can be a great way to keep smaller items in one place. Choose boxes that are large enough to store diapers, clothes, toys, muslin squares, wipes etc but are easy to carry. That way you can take them from room to room with you and keep everything in one place.

Bookshelf

Baby’s love to be stimulated and it is never too early to start enjoying books. Bookshelves can also be used to display baby gifts.

Glider or rocker

A relaxed mom makes for a happier baby and a glider or rocker is the perfect place for you to snuggle with your baby during night feeds. Prices start from $130 for a glider with an ottoman for the ultimate in comfort.

Baby swing and bouncy seat

Use a baby swing to settle your baby with the rocking motion. You can opt for a manual swing that will cost from $30 or if your baby loves the continuous motion an electric version powered by batteries will cost from $50.

For day time fun a bouncy seat is ideal. Baby will love the change of position and it gives you time to get on with chores while baby is having fun. These can be quite inexpensive as prices start from $20.

Nightlight

Some babies don’t mind the dark, others like the soothing of a nightlight. These are also perfect for night feeds when you want to keep baby as calm and settled as possible.

Carbon dioxide and smoke monitors

Both are essential items and they should be in your nursery. Pick up individual monitors or a combi alarm for peace of mind.

Baby monitor

Buy a monitor that has two receivers so you can have one with you during the day that you can move around the house and one in your room. You can choose between an audio monitor or a video monitor. Prices for audio monitors start from $30 and from $60 for a video monitor.

Baby Gifts

Everyone will want to buy something for baby, here are some of the best gifts out there:

Personalised keepsakes – these include: prints for the nursery, silver first tooth and curl boxes, blankets and robes with baby’s name on them, Christening gifts and photo frames.

Hand and foot print sets – make your own charming prints that you can keep forever.

Baby and mom gift baskets – these contain items that baby and mom will love from bathing sets to cuddle blankets and soft toys.

Here are some of the top online stores to buy all of your baby essentials

Stuff you really need to know before baby is here

Newborn sleep

From birth until 3 months of age your baby will be classed as being newborn. Throughout these first months the sleeping patterns of your baby will be erratic and nothing like yours. Some will sleep in bursts that can be anything from 30 minutes to 4 hours; others will sleep more during the day and less at night. This is all totally normal and part of their circadian rhythm adjusting to life outside of the womb.

Some newborns will sleep a lot during the first couple of weeks, you could even find yourself waking baby for feeds. Don’t worry about this, your baby will soon become more alert and active and sleep less as time goes on.

Newborn feeding

A newborn baby will feed a lot and this is normal. A baby’s stomach is tiny and does not need much to fill it up, hence more feeding. Breastmilk is easy to digest which means that breastfed babies can tend to want to feed more. Formula fed babies will feel fuller for longer and might go slightly longer between feeds.

To work out how much formula your baby needs, multiply their weight by 2.5. For example, if your baby weighs 8lbs they will need around 20oz of formula over 24 hours.

If you are breastfeeding it is harder to work out how much your baby has had. To ensure they are getting enough milk, simply feed on demand. This will satisfy baby and keep your breastmilk coming. To keep a regular supply, aim to nurse every 2-3 hours for the first 12 weeks. After this you should aim for feeds every 5-6 hours. By the time baby is around 10 months old he or she should be breastfeeding every 10-11 hours.

Newborn growth spurts

Growth spurts are an essential part of your developing baby and there is plenty going on in those first few weeks and months. On average a baby will have a growth spurt at:

7-10 days
2-3 weeks
4-6 weeks
3 months

You will be able to tell that your baby is going through a growth spurt because they will want to feed more often and sleep more. Don’t worry about this, it is all perfectly normal. Your baby needs food to grow and sleep to rest during these spurts.

To Breastfeed or not to breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a topic that is at the forefront of many new mothers minds. When you are pregnant you are bombarded with people telling you that breastfeeding is the only way that you should be feeding your baby. While breastfeeding does have health benefits for baby and you that include: a better immune system and closeness and bonding with mum, it is cheaper than feeding formula and you don’t have to sterilise any equipment, you should not feel like a failure if you can’t manage. While in hospital your healthcare professional will show you how to breastfeed and once at home you can get support from the ante natal nurse or your doctor.

Some people will find that breastfeeding is straightforward and others will struggle and this is all totally normal. No-one should force you into making a decision that you don’t feel comfortable with. Remember that the most important thing right now is that your baby is happy and healthy and if you are stressing out over breastfeeding this won’t happen. If you want to breastfeed go ahead and try it out and if it works well done. If you don’t want to or you or baby are having difficulties there is no shame in bottle feeding.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Pumping and Dumping while Breastfeeding – you might not have heard of this term but it is one that is being bandied around more and more right now. It is term used to describe the process of expressing breast milk after having an alcoholic drink. Women who do this assume that they will no longer have breast milk that is contaminated with alcohol and they are then fine to feed baby. This is not the case. Just as it takes time (around 12 hours for one strong alcoholic drink to totally leave your bloodstream) for alcohol to leave your system it takes time to leave your breast milk. So if you are planning on going out and having a drink or two (and there is nothing to say that you shouldn’t just because you are now a mum) you should express before you go out and use this for the next few feeds until you are 100% sober.

Sleeping and feeding schedules

Everyone will eventually get into their own pattern with their baby, but on average this is what you should expect from a 2+ week old baby as they start to settle.

9:00 AM – Wake and Feed – try to get yourself into a routine where this is at the same time each day.
10:00 AM – Nap (60 – 90 minutes)
11:30 AM – Wake
12:30 PM – Feed and Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
1:30 PM – Wake
3:00 PM – Feed and Nap (60 – 90 minutes)
4:30 PM – Wake and Feed
6:00 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
6:00 PM – Wake
7:30 PM – Feed and Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
8:30 PM – Wake
9:30 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
10:00 PM – Wake and Feed
11:30 PM – Feed and Bedtime - try to get yourself into a routine where this is at the same time each day.
4:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
7:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep 

Baby health and safety

Your baby’s health will be a key concern so here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Never leave your baby unattended, especially during changing and bath times.
  • Always make sure that your baby is not too tightly wrapped in blankets or is wearing anything that they could get tangled in.
  • Keep the room your baby sleeps in between 60-68 F. You can buy cheap room thermometers for around $2 that will help you to monitor this.
  • Make sure that all electrical outlets have protective covers. This might not seem important when your baby is a newborn, but soon they will be exploring, so it’s better to have them in place.

When to consult the doctor

  • Temperament changes in your baby can be a sign of illness.
  • Appetite changes can signal problems. If you have a baby who usually loves feeding but now has no interest they could be sick. Spitting up more frequently or a change in the colour of spit up needs to be checked out by the doctor.
  • Strange crying. If your baby’s cry is high pitched or goes on for longer than normal seek medical advice.
  • If your baby seems less alert than normal you should also be concerned.
  • If your baby’s breathing seems shallow or laboured you need medical help immediately.
  • Fever in babies is a common problem that could be the sign of a more serious condition. If your baby’s temperature is 100.4F or more and is under 3 months of age get medical help.
  • Changing bowel movements can be a sign of illness. If you breastfeed your baby you will know the consistency of bowel movements can be less firm than formula fed babies. But if your baby’s stools are watery it is an indication of diarrhea and this can dehydrate them quickly. Similarly if the bowel movements are hard, they are having difficulty in passing them, they have mucus or blood in them speak to your doctor.

Daycare

Working parents will need to think about daycare and this can be one of the biggest expenses that you have. Always choose a registered daycare provider and get as much information on them as possible. Visit them and see what their facilities are like and only if you are 100% happy employ them.

On average the cost of a newborn in daycare is more than an older child so you should expect to pay from $400 - $1300 per month depending on the number of hours your child will be cared for.

Maternity leave

The amount of maternity leave that you will be entitled to is down to the company that you work for. Speak to your HR department and find out what you can claim. However, based on the Family and Medical Leave Act 1993 (FMLA) women are able to take up to 12 weeks medical leave for birth and have their job protected.

If you work for a company that provides paid maternity leave of up to 6 weeks you will not have to plan your budget. If not, and the majority of workers in the USA do not, you will have to use your vacation days, sick leave, unpaid leave and even Short Term Disability.

Maternity care

During your pregnancy and birth you will need to be monitored and this will mean mounting costs. If you have a straightforward pregnancy and birth the costs will be:

Ultrasound tests – from $800
Blood tests – from $300
Fetal heart scan – from $250
Vaginal birth and care of newborn - $10,000 - $30,000
C-section birth and care of newborn - $20,000 - $50,000

These prices have been based on a study conducted by Truven Health Analytics for the New York Times.

Medical insurance

As the cost of maternity care runs into the thousands of dollars it is essential that you take out medical insurance. In most cases the insurance company will pay out around 80% of the cost of your maternity care. This still leaves you with a bill that you will have to pay for your delivery and care for your newborn.

If you have insurance in plan before becoming pregnant it can be beneficial as many insurance providers will not take on pregnant women as it is classed as an existing medical condition.

People on low incomes can find that Medicaid, which is a program run by the state, can provide them with the assistance they need during pregnancy and birth.

Mistakes all parents will make

No one is perfect and everyone will make mistakes. Having a baby and caring for your newborn can be a steep learning curve, but one that you will master. Here are some of the common mistakes that you will probably make:

  • Panicking about everything. With a new baby you feel as though you are on red alert, looking out for anything that is abnormal. As times goes on you will relax.
  • Not allowing your baby to cry. We associate crying with a problem when sometimes a baby is just crying. If baby is full, they are dry and clean and not overly tired or ill let them cry it out and cuddle them so they feel safe and secure.
  • Mistaking spit up for vomit. Babies tend to spit up a little after a feed and this is normal. If they are vomiting frequently and there is a lot of volume it could be a sign of illness.
  • Overlooking a fever in a newborn baby. If your baby has a temperature of over 100.4F you need to get them medical assistance as soon as possible.
  • Waking baby up in order to breastfeed them. This is a very common mistake as many parents don’t think that breastmilk will keep their baby full for long enough. Many breastfed babies will sleep all night so don’t worry if yours does.
  • Overlooking oral health. You might think that a newborn does not need any help at first but it is never too early to begin with oral hygiene. Wipe your baby’s gums with a cloth that has been dampened and use a toothbrush from the time that teeth start to appear.
  • Poorly installed car seats –when you buy a car seat ask the store to show you how to fit it.
  • Fighting in front of your baby. Your baby will pick up on bad feeling and this will make them unsettled. The occasional disagreement in front of them is fine and part of life, just don’t make a habit of it.
  • Forgetting about your marriage / relationship. It’s too easy to be swept up in the tidal wave of having a baby and as a result your marriage will take a back seat. Make a conscious effort to talk and spend time with each other and don’t just zone out when you are not caring for baby.
  • Listening to the wrong advice about parenting. There are always new fads and theories on how to bring up a child, but it is best to listen to tried and trusted sources. WebMD.com is a great resource.

Pay attention to these things

  • Having rooms that are too hot / too cold. Your baby needs to be at comfortable temperature and they can become ill if they are too hot or too cold.
  • Diaper rash – if you overlook good baby skincare your baby can get painful sores on their sensitive skin.
  • Constant crying – this could be a sign of croup (if your baby if pulling their legs towards their chest) or illness.
  • Fever – if your baby has a temperature of over 37 degrees you should give them baby friendly medication to bring it down. If this does not work within the hour or your baby is looking listless and not responding you need to seek medical advice. Fever in newborns is something to be taken seriously, so if your child is in this category get them to the doctor immediately.
  • The sleeping position of your baby – medical advice shows that baby’s should be put to sleep on their backs as it reduces the risk of SIDs (sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Make sure that car seats are fitted correctly and you know how to work them.
  • Don’t overload your buggy with bags on the handles when out shopping, this can cause it to tip over.
  • Trying to get back the old ‘normal’ you too quickly. Pushing yourself to exercise, lose weight and change your diet can stress you out and leave you feeling down.

Don’t worry too much about these

  • Panicking over every noise your baby makes – this is normal and as time goes on you will get used to the normal sounds of your baby.
  • Forgetting a feed – we have all done this and in most cases baby will let you know when he or she is hungry. It is a good idea to get into a schedule with feeding and sleeping (however impossible that might sound) so that baby is well fed, well hydrated and rested.
  • Not giving your baby the latest equipment. Your baby will remember how much love and attention you show them, not the cost of their crib.
  • Feeling as though your emotions are taking over. This is natural and is something that all new parents will go through. This will pass as you, your partner and baby settle into your life together.
  • Your raging hormones. After you have given birth your levels of progesterone and oestrogen will fall and this can cause you to feel depressed and overwhelmed. This should not last more than a couple of weeks, however if this does not seem to be getting better, please speak to your doctor.

Getting Your Social and Personal Life Back

How to keep your relationship on track after a baby

When you have a baby your relationship will change forever. This can be a daunting time and many couples don’t know if they can get back to how they once were. Here are some easy ideas on how to re-connect as a couple and how to feel sane again after a baby:

  • Make time for each other and share things together.
  • Talk through problems so that they don’t get blown out of proportion. A baby can make the smallest problems seem massive, don’t allow this to happen.
  • Be tactile, it can work wonders and bring you closer.
  • Don’t just centre your conversations around your baby or you will feel as though you are losing each other.
  • Make sure that you share responsibilities so that there are no feelings of resentment.
  • Understand that your sex life will change. It might takes weeks, months or even a year or more to get back to what you feel is normal.
  • Don’t stress over the small things. The washing will still be there tomorrow, so curl up on the sofa together and watch a movie.
  • Take a new sport or get back into something you used to enjoy. This will help you to look good and it is an amazing stress buster.
  • Take a long bath – light some candles, put on some music and lay back and relax. This will help you to escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life and can make you feel human again.
  • Treat yourself to a new haircut, a manicure, pedicure or a facial. It will make you feel more confident and it feels wonderful to have someone else look after you for an hour.
  • Go out for dinner with a friend and have some adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around feeding schedules and sleeping patterns.
  • Try to get enough sleep. This might be easier said than done, but you can manage it. If your partner takes the baby out for a walk, go to bed for an hour. You will wake feeling refreshed and ready for anything.
  • Spend time reading, gardening or any other solo activity that allows you to calm your mind and refocus.
  • Go shopping and treat yourself to a new outfit, then go for lunch or spend time watching a DVD. Giving yourself these moments of pleasure will help you to feel happier and more like your old self.

Common obstacles to getting back on the social scene and how to overcome them

  • You have lost touch with your friends. Don’t worry if this has happened, most new parents will feel like this. Call friends up and ask them round for a coffee or arrange to meet them for lunch.
  • You don’t seem to enjoy the activities that you used to and this can be down to being sleep deprived, your changing hormones and the fact you feel worn out looking after your baby. Everyone changes and while you might have loved going out clubbing before baby things are different now. Don’t beat yourself up about your changing tastes, you are not a different person you have just got different priorities. Enjoy a movie, go to a sporting event or the theatre with friends now.
  • Sleep deprivation means you don’t have the energy to go out. All new parents will feel like they are running on empty and this can make you feel very antisocial. Understand that this will pass and as your baby gets into a routine and you have a babysitter that you can rely on you will want to get back on the social scene.
  • This is a fantastic resource that will help you to learn more about sleep deprivation and see what to expect.
  • You don’t have the money to spend on socialising / you feel guilty about spending money. Socialising doesn’t have to be expensive – get your friends round or go round to theirs. You need to have fun yourself to be a good parent, so don’t feel guilty about spending time and money on yourself.

Common worries about leaving baby

  • He /she will miss me – some babies really miss their parents, others don’t. However you will need to make the decision to leave your baby with a sitter at some point otherwise you will have a very clingy child on your hands in the future.
  • What if there is a problem? Sure there could be a problem while you are out but if you are contactable and not too far away from home your worries will be eased.
  • What if they don’t sleep / cry for their sitter? Well guess what? This is what some babies do! Make sure that you are 100% comfortable that the person you are leaving them with is capable of putting up crying or not sleeping and you will feel a whole lot better.

Ideas for fun after baby that won’t break the bank

Go out for a picnic – you can prepare everything at home and set off to your destination. This can be just you and your partner or you can take baby along too.

Treat your other half to a night where you pamper them for an hour and then they do the same to you. For example treat them to a massage, run a bath, wash their hair – all of these things will help you both to relax and re-connect with each other.

Have a baby shower and invite friends and family. This is a fantastic way to get together and have fun and you will get lots of gifts for you and baby. Check out some of the best places to shop for baby gifts online:

Cook a meal together, this is a lot of fun and can provide you with some quality time out from your routine.

Check out your city and find out what free things there are to do in your area. Look at it through the eyes of a tourist and you could be surprised at what you can get up to.

Try to schedule a date night each month where you can dress up and go out to the movies or for a meal. Look out for deals and discounts to get the best value possible.

Love the outdoors but don’t like the idea of camping with a baby? Turn your front room into a camp and spend the night there, light some candles, turn off the TV, forget about cell phones and chill out.