safe motherhood

Life with your baby

Planning your day

Now you're a parent you'll need to change your view of what can be achieved during a day, which may be a big adjustment if you were someone who enjoyed achieving lots in a day before your baby's birth.

As one mother said: "While Ben naps, I get washed and dressed and do the washing up. It's always a challenge: can I get everything done that I want to do before he wakes up? Sometimes I'm just stepping into the shower when I hear him fret."

Here are some tips from other parents:

• Get help. It's worth getting some short-term help with cleaning and ironing if you can possibly afford it - perhaps a local teenager would come and help you for a month or so.
• If you have a partner, take it in turns to get up at the weekend so that you each get a little lie-in on one day.
• Get as much of the evening meal prepared ahead of time, so that when you're really tired at 5pm, you don't have to start the lot.
• Tell, for instance, your partner or mother, how good they are with the baby - you'll all feel better about letting them take over.
• Make friends with an expert - whether it's your health visitor, midwife, practice nurse or breastfeeding counsellor, use their skills to help sort out any worries you may have. They will enjoy feeling appreciated.
• Do something that makes you feel good every day - whether it's chatting to a friend on the phone or watching your favourite TV soap opera. A happy mum is what every baby needs!
• Get out and meet others. Leave the washing, the mess and the jobs to be done. Just getting out of the house can make you feel you're getting somewhere!
• Keep your changing bag topped up with spares, ready to go by the door.
• Have a 'nappy changing station' on every floor of your home so that you don't have to keep running up and down stairs.
• Think about organising food you can eat while holding the baby at the same time.
• If your baby doesn't usually sleep with you, bring him or her in for their first feed in the morning and have a lie-in together.

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