Welcoming a baby into your family and introducing them to your loved ones can be an exciting time.
The people you love will be looking forward to your baby arriving and may offer lots of help and advice. For many people this can be a very special time and make you all feel very close.
Having a new baby can also put added pressure on relationships that have experienced rough patches before, or can cause difficulties for the first time.
Babies are very aware of any friction between the people around them.
Arguments and upsets are not good for your baby’s brain development, both before and after they are born. It makes it harder for them to feel safe and secure and build strong bonds.
When you are expecting a baby take time to think about the people you are close to. What ways might the new baby affect your relationships?
Whether this is your first baby together or you have other children, each new arrival will make changes to your relationship with your partner. During pregnancy there is a lot to think about for both parents.
Alongside this, pregnancy hormones can make you feel very emotional. Pregnancy illnesses and tiredness can make it a difficult at times. You may find it hard to know how best to support each other. This can cause misunderstandings and arguments.
The most important thing you can do is talk to each other.
Talk to each other about how you will cope together in the early days.
Click Relationships offer more relationship advice and support.
I'm worried about my relationship
If you are arguing a lot of the time and finding it hard to talk together you might find relationship counselling useful. This can help you learn ways to communicate better when you are under pressure.
Some relationships are unhealthy and abusive. Sometimes this becomes more obvious, or gets worse, during pregnancy.
It is very important that babies are not around abusive relationships either before or after they are born. It puts them at risk of physical or emotional harm.
You may have worries that there is domestic abuse in your relationship. As parents you need to be sure that your baby is safe.
Please talk to one of your health professionals if you are worried. They will not judge you. They can help you and your partner get support.
Family and Friends
Family and friends can be an important part of the support network for both parents and for your little one.
Share your thoughts and feelings about the baby with loved ones. This gives you the chance to get the support you need from them. They may have had some of the same feelings and experiences and have helpful advice on how they coped.
When you are expecting a baby, it can feel like everyone has an opinion or advice on what you should or should not do. It can feel overpowering and frustrating.
How do I know if advice is correct, or works for my family?
When deciding whether a piece of advice works for you ask yourselves;
Remember this is your baby and it is for you both as parents to make decisions together about what you think is best.
I don't agree with the advice I have been given?
When people offer advice you disagree with it can be hard to know what to say. Things you could try are;
Some of the ‘old ways’ of doing things have been shown to be harmful to babies so keep calm and be firm about what you want to do.
If people offer to help now or once baby arrives say yes! It is good to have help with the practical side of having a new baby in the house.
Offers of meals, shopping, dog walking and laundry can make a massive difference. You can focus on getting to know your little one and resting when you can.
If you and / or your partner have other children sharing the news of a new baby and preparing them for the new arrival is a special time.
Lots of parents feel a bit anxious too - about how this will affect their older children and their relationship with them. This is normal and to be expected, a new baby is a big change for everyone.
When do I tell my other children about the new baby?
When to tell older children that you are having a baby is a personal decision. It is a good idea to take some time to get used to the news yourself first. Some people like to wait until the first few weeks have passed and they have more information about when baby is due and how the pregnancy is progressing.
When deciding the right time think about how old they are and how you think they will cope with the news. Things you might want to think about;
Whatever age your child is try not to expect too much from them when you decide to tell them.
Help prepare your little one by getting them used to any changes to come before baby arrives. For example if your partner, or other family members might be putting them to bed, or collecting them from nursery begin this before baby is born.
Keeping to routines and boundaries will help your child feel secure and cared for when the baby is born.
It can be hard for children to share how they are feeling about such big news. Keep an eye on how they are behaving they may become quiet or they may be loud – their actions may show you how they feel. Find time to spend with them to talk about what you have noticed and give them the chance to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
If they seem negative about the new baby try not to be stressed by this. Let them be honest about their worries. Knowing you value their feelings is important and likely to reassure them they are still just as important to you as ever. Feeling secure in their relationship with you will help them build a positive relationship with their brother or sister.
Whatever the age of your older child/ children take time during your pregnancy to be together. Avoid all conversations being about the baby and take time to focus on them. This is a great habit to get into now and to carry on after the birth.
If you feel worried and would like more advice you can speak to your midwife throughout your pregnancy and up to 28 days after the birth of your baby.
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