Prepare for parenthood

The build-up to your baby’s due date is an exciting and special time. When he or she finally does arrive, it’ll be hard to find time just for you, so make sure you take the opportunity now to really look after yourself.

Sleep easy

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference to how you feel.

  • Try to make your bedroom a calm space that you want to spend time in.
  • Get your body clock into a good routine by going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time each day. Over time it will help you fall asleep more easily and sleep better.
  • Avoid using technology like computers, tablets or your phone immediately prior to bedtime as the light they give out can interfere with your natural sleep pattern. Switching off technology will help you start to unwind and relax.

Once you have a newborn, you may want to read this advice from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) on coping with tiredness as a new parent.

Getting out and about

Gentle exercise is good for you throughout your pregnancy. Going out for a walk every day is a good habit to get into now and to maintain when your baby arrives.

Your local children’s centre will run a number of local baby groups. Find out about them now, while you have time. Joining groups not only gets you out of the house, but is a great opportunity to meet other parents with little ones.

Find your local Children’s Centre.

“Me” time

It’s very easy as a new parent to leave your own needs to the bottom of the list. But if you’re exhausted and stressed, it’ll be much harder to enjoy parenthood and family life. Make sure you:

  • Make time for rest and relaxation – even half an hour to read a magazine or soak in the bath will make all the difference.
  • Once the baby arrives, ask your family, friends or partner to support you so that you can book a regular time each week to enjoy some of the things you enjoyed before becoming a parent – an evening class or a coffee with friends.

For further tips, read these five steps to mental wellbeing from NHS Choices.

Your relationship

Finding time for each other is more important than ever when you have a new baby. Communication is crucial – tell each other how you’re feeling. Remember, being aware of your own feelings and accepting all of them (even the difficult ones) is a positive and healthy thing to do. Feelings in themselves are never bad – it’s how we deal with them that counts. If you feel overwhelmed, or need support with your emotional wellbeing, do speak to your public health nurse (health visitor) or your GP.

The Institute of Health Visiting has more top tips for parents.

Family life is like a treasure hunt, with plenty of adventures, hazards, and discoveries to make along the way. Look after yourself so you can enjoy the ride!

For further support and advice:

Mum's Mind

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs the first dedicated perinatal mental health ChatHealth text messaging service- called Mum’s Mind. This confidential service offers advice and information to support mothers during pregnancy and baby’s first year.

The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a member of the perinatal mental health team within 24 hours. Outside of the working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Mum’s Mind: 07507 330 026

The Mum’s Mind service is not a crisis service and does not provide general advice on baby care- this is available through LPT’s original ChatHealth service on 07520 615381 (Leicester city) or 07520 615382 (Leicestershire and Rutland).