Being back at home

Arriving home with a new baby is something most parents never forget. The first few weeks usually pass in a blur of tiredness and lack of sleep, visitors and gifts, nappies, wet clothes, and getting used to your body changing once more after birth. You’ll be visited by your midwife for the first 10-14 days, and then you will be under the care of the Health Visitor.

After the birth of a baby about half of all mothers experience the ‘baby blues’. This can be because of hormone changes and the demands that a new baby brings. If you feel down it’s important to talk about how you feel with someone. Usually the blues only last for a few days, but if they continue, talk to your doctor, midwife or Health Visitor about it.

You will need to register your baby’s birth within 6 weeks from when your baby is born – this is the law. For babies born in York, ring York Register Office to make an appointment – either at the Register Office or available in some Children’s Centres. If you are not married, and want both parents’ details on the birth certificate, you will both have to be present at the appointment. You’ll be given a short birth certificate for free, but will usually want a full certificate, which costs £4 at the appointment. You’ll need to send your child’s birth certificate with your claim for Child Benefit – see here for more information.

Babies actually require very little equipment. If you are happy to receive second hand things from friends or relatives, then you need spend very little money. Second hand baby equipment is also available free from freecycle.org. (see here for more information) of for sale at gumtree.co.uk/york or on facebook. Babies are not bothered who has worn their clothes or used their pram before them!

Bonding with your baby

By spending time with your baby and making sure that their needs are met, you are ‘bonding’ with your baby – most new parents do this without thinking about it. What babies need is really basic. Talk to your baby, tell them about what you are doing, smile and make faces, watch and respond to what they are doing. Try and give them your full attention while you feed them. They love the sound of your voice, and it is never too early to sing and tell them stories. Stroke and tickle your baby, play games with their fingers and toes. When they cry, respond to what they are trying to tell you, and work out whether they are hungry, tired, wet, cold, scared or poorly, or just in need of some love and attention.

Your child’s early experiences are the building blocks for them to learn to trust others and make relationships, to be able to explore the world, recognise their feelings and needs, learn about who they are and their place in the world. If you are struggling to bond with your baby, talk to someone you trust. This could be your health visitor, midwife or G.P. There may be a reason for it, such as depression or your early childhood experiences that are getting in the way.