Parents are often told to trust their intuition, but caring well for a baby requires skill, knowledge and time, and it is normal to feel clumsy at the beginning. We learn from our own experiences of being cared for in childhood, watching other people care for their children, reading and the Internet. Parents each bring their separate past experiences, ideas and hopes to the new family, and combining these can be difficult. However, new parents depend on each other for support, encouragement and reassurance and disagreements are especially distressing at this life stage.
A baby does not come into an empty space! In addition to caring for the baby, parents have to manage other demands like a job that requires long hours or living a long way from family of origin. You cannot change some of these, but others can be changed in ways that are helpful in adjusting to life with a new baby. Families and old friends are vital, but you also need new friends and professional services that have not been needed before.
To create a family in which each person thrives, parents' needs have to be balanced with their baby's human right to be cared for as an infant. Babies develop well if their parents can:
- Relate to each other with respect, affection, and a willingness to share the work fairly;
- Learn about infant development and place their baby's needs ahead of their own in the early years of life; and
- Provide regular patterns of family life in which the baby is included.
This website has a series of worksheets that will give you some of the ideas, knowledge and skills to be able to do this. We hope that you can use them to grow in confidence, to build a sense that you are the expert on your baby, and to enjoy parenthood together.
It is important to read the How To Use These Worksheets page and then you are ready to get started.
This webpage last updated 27 February 2014.