Finding Your Tribe: Building Support Networks

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Once you bring your baby home, life will never be the same again. With major change comes challenges and it’s ok to need help. The sort of support you need might be different from what others need, or what your partner needs, but it’s important to be aware that asking for support is not a sign of failure, it means that you are human.

You can mentally prepare for parenting, have an intellectual understanding that you will be tired, and sleep deprived, but actually living it is entirely different. You may find that you can operate on little sleep but you’re really lonely. Or you may find that you can’t function without at least seven hours sleep so just getting through the day is a massive triumph. Whatever it is that makes you feel wobbly, accept it and work towards managing it.

Get Your Partner on Board First

If you already know that the sleep deprivation is going to be a major issue for you, then think about some strategies that can help. Get your partner on board, express some breast milk or make up a bottle of formula and go to bed early and let your partner give the 11pm feed. So when you wake at 3am you’ll have been asleep since 9, and you’ll be able to catch another two hours after that night feed.

Tap In to Your Family

Before you have your baby, catch up with your Mum, your sister, brother, or any family member that you’re close with. Let them know of any worries you might have about the birth, the baby and parenting in general. Then ask if you can call on them if you need to.

Stretch the Friendship

Your friends will love sharing your pregnancy and celebrating your happy news with you once your baby is born. Being part of that lovely journey with friends goes both ways, so let them know you plan to call on them for help if you need to. It might be just to keep in touch, have a coffee, or it might be more practical help like taking the baby for a walk so you can sleep.

It won’t take long for you to get into the groove of parenting. But while you’re still learning it’s important to have people to call on when times get tough, or you just need a break. Building a strong network in the early days will lay the foundation for a happy sense of community, and that’s a great way to start life as a parent.

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