Other Family Members

The arrival of a baby brings many changes to a family, each person will have their own feelings and reactions to the baby. Talking about these feelings can bring the family closer together. As with any time of major change there are stresses involved and it is important that you allow time to adjust to your new family roles.

Becoming a Father

Becoming a dad is an amazing, life changing, and, let’s face it, a physically and emotionally demanding event, from day one.

  • Having children is one of the most exciting and positive things you can do with your life and you want to enjoy it.
  • Be prepared to be pushed to the limit, from the first few crazy days and sleepless nights with your newborn.
  • Start with as much sleep as you can get, whenever you can manage it– even catnaps can pep you up.
  • Your partner is going through emotional changes, just as you are.  The demands of a new baby may put your relationship under stress. Where you used to be able to talk, now you might both be too tired after broken nights sleep. Things will calm down and you will find time for each other again.
  • Children value having a good relationship with their dad, whether they live with him or not.
  • Try to spend quality time with your baby, playing with him, talking to him, changing his nappy. Making time to spend with your baby will help develop a special relationship with him and enable you to be there for him.
  • Sometimes it may seem like baby’s mum knows a lot or has become very busy with baby and you might feel left out. Try to get involved too, and talk about your feelings with her.
  • It is important to understand that this is a vulnerable time and baby’s mother needs care and to feel valued as an equal.

Financial problems

If you are having budgeting problems your local Citizens Advice Bureau (listed in the White Pages) may be able to help you find a budgeting service, or inland Revenue for benefit entitlements 0800 227 773.  For more information www.familybudgeting.org.nz.

Time for each other

Broken sleep and the demands of parenting can put a strain on your relationship. It is important to talk about concerns and problems.  At times you may have differing opinions and ideas on parenting; these may have come from your own childhoods. Discussing your feelings and ideas may help.

There may be times when you will want a change of scene and even to get away from your own baby for a few hours.  It can help to occasionally have some time for yourself and for you and your partner to be together, leaving your baby with a trusted adult (or teenager over 14 years old).

The Arrival of a Sibling

Coping with a new baby and a toddler or older child can be very demanding. For a toddler accustomed to undivided attention, discovering how much time must be devoted to a small baby’s needs can be an unpleasant shock. It is quite common for an older child to regress temporarily to an earlier stage, in an attempt to regain attention. This situation calls for patience, love and as much time as you can manage.

It might help if you

  • give her a present from the baby to make her feel special.
  • teach your toddler how to cuddle, touch and talk to the baby while you watch them.
  • talk with her about how she is feeling and telling her you love her and how special she is.
  • ask friends and family to give your older child some special time, particularly if she is feeling every one is interested in the baby.
  • ask friends to look after the baby so that you can spend time with your older child.
  • try to include your older child in the baby’s care. She will enjoy fetching nappies and toys for the baby.
  • have books or games ready for your older child when you are feeding the baby. She may enjoy hearing a story or playing quietly next to you.

If you are tired after a wakeful night with the baby, facing a busy toddler in the morning can be hard.  Remember you are not superhuman.  Sometimes, the baby or toddler has to wait.

  • sleep when baby sleeps
  • take the phone off the hook
  • leave a message on the answer phone saying you’ll call back later
  • ask visitors to help, they usually want to be involved.  Get them to wash up, vacuum, make the bed, hang out clothes, go to the shop.  Stick list of chores to be done on the fridge.
  • try not to use baby’s sleep time to rush round tiding the house
  • try to do some exercise, probably the last thing you feel like, but some fresh air and a brisk walk will make you feel good

It’s only for a short time!

Twins or more

“Approximately 845 sets of twins and 10 sets of triplets are born annually in New Zealand. Quads and quins are rare”

The New Zealand Multiple Birth Association (NZMBA) provides support, clubs information and advice. Phone: 0800 489 467.