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I always seem to be drawn to people who’re at a similar place in life, so at the moment I find myself surrounded by new mums. And if there’s one thing we all have in common it’s a reliance on our partners to share the “load” of parenting.

Dads these days are required to be–and do–so much more than they were a generation or two ago. While stay-at-home dads are becoming more common it’s still mainly women who stay home in the early months for practical reasons. But as soon as the partners return from a day in the office they’re expected to take over with baby. Most dads I know look after the bathing and bedtime routine each evening, change just as many nappies as the mother and even do their share of night time feeding if their baby’s on formula or takes expressed milk from a bottle.

And what older women seem to find most amazing about this is that the fathers want to do it. Rather than spending evenings at the pub, they want to spend time with their children. And it’s not just playtime they’re interested in, they want to be carers and nuturers for their children.

I’ve heard a lot of new mums saying that in the past our mothers had other female relatives to help them whereas today we’re more isolated. But I’ve spoken to a lot of older women who say this wasn’t the case for them. They too were far from family or who had mothers who told them to simply deal with their lot alone.

I know I’d be completely overwhelmed without Nath’s help and that’s with just one baby. Quite frankly, I don’t know how our mothers and their mothers did it but I certainly respect them more for it now.

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When you’re pregnant you get used to getting advice from everyone you know – and don’t know – about every aspect of looking after your baby. The advice is always well meaning and usually something they wish they had known first time around but it’s not always helpful.

Every baby and mother is different and specific techniques won’t work the same for everyone. Of the dozens of tips I’ve been given I found these three more general pearls of wisdom have helped the most.

  1. All you need to do is feed them, change them and love them.
    Thanks to my sister for this one. As a mother of three and grandmother of two (soon to be three) she knows that as simple as it sounds it’s true. Unless your baby has special needs that’s really all there is to it.
  2. Any bad habit can be rectified within 1-10 days so you should just do whatever you can to survive!
    Thanks to Julia I can bring Lenny into my bed to help him sleep and thanks to Louise I can give him a dummy guilt-free. Like they said there might be a few days of pain to break the habit later on but in the early days you’ve just got to do what works.
  3. You know what’s best for you and your baby.
    A few people offered me this advice and in the first week or so I didn’t get it. I looked everywhere else – the internet, the midwives, books – for the “answers” to what I should be doing. But now I understand. While you may not get everything “right” first time it’s really important to back yourself. If you question you’re own ability, your lack of confidence will turn into stress for both you and the baby.

So if you do number 1 and keep number 2 in mind, believing number 3 comes easy 🙂

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