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How to make connections as new parents

This guest blog is written by Sarah Davis, author of ‘Baby Daze’ which she wrote unexpectedly, while up for the 3am feeds! Recommended in ‘Mother & Baby’ magazine’s ‘3 of the best funny books’ feature, it reflects the rollercoaster of parenting a newborn – from the ‘aww’ moments, to the poo-namis and feeling like a human milk machine.


Sarah, author of Baby Daze

Before we become parents, many of us are reasonably comfortable with who we are. Our connections are often well-established with our partner, family, friends and colleagues. It’s easy to see where we fit in.

In becoming parents though, things change. Although most of our focus will naturally be on bonding with our child, the importance of making connections as new parents goes deeper than that. It’s a bit like trying to add an extra piece to an already complete jigsaw - it isn’t possible – you have to create a new jigsaw.


So, what will this look like and how can we adjust to our new way of life as parents? The poem, ‘Getting to know you,’ reflects the first connections with our child.


Getting to know you


The scan and seeing the beating of your tiny little heart,

Knowing that it’s really only just the very start.

Growing ever bigger as you struggle to find room.

Feeling kicks and hiccups as you move inside the womb.

Hearing your first cries just as you come into the world

Beginning your life’s journey – soon to be unfurled.

The gripping of my finger with your tiny little hand

The feelings and emotions only parents understand.


(from ‘Baby Daze’ - copyright belongs to Sarah Davis)


Obviously, our first priority has to be our child - to understand what they’re trying to communicate and to show them unconditional love. While navigating our way through, we can often be bombarded with advice from well-meaning onlookers.

  • There are the ones who are parents themselves – they know what worked for their child, so they believe they know what’s best for ours too!

  • There are the ones who’ve never been parents, who will present a

  • Then there are the professionals, who give great advice, but can’t be there for every decision.

It’s common to get conflicting advice too:

A Mum’s Lament

Oh, whatever can I do?

Up to my eyes in nappies and poo!

Baby has been up all night!

Will I ever get it right?

Tried to sing a lullaby

My Auntie Jean says “Let him cry!”

Not the same from Auntie Jo

Who’d pick him up and not let go!

It isn’t that I mind advice

Consistency would just be nice!

Peace at last...there is a lull

Life with a new born’s never dull!

(from ‘Baby Daze’ copyright belongs to Sarah Davis)

As novice parents without a ‘one size fits all’ guide, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do, but we know our child better than anyone else and so we are best placed to make decisions – even tough ones!

Communication

Every baby’s different

No one rule fits them all

It isn’t very easy

Looking after one so small!

The tears of a new born baby

Test the patience of a saint!

Leaving parents feeling

Overtired and often faint.

If only they could tell us

The cause of their loud cry

We would be much more able

To help or pacify.

But we learn to read their signals

And interpret their small cues

And in turn develop strategies

That we begin to use.

And in return they give us

That tiny baby smile

Telling us we’re doing well

And making it worthwhile!

(from ‘Baby Daze’ copyright belongs to Sarah Davis)

Baby Daze book

One of the most useful connections to make as a new parent is new parent friends, whether it’s developing current friendships, meeting with NCT friends or attending parent and baby groups. Sometimes it can be trial and error finding our tribe – other mums who have a similar outlook and parenting style. The main thing is to get out of the house (where possible) and to talk to others in the same boat. That said, we can’t judge our child against someone else’s. The parent who will shout from the rooftops about their child sleeping through the night, may not be as quick to tell us that their child won’t eat. Be honest with other parents and use the sessions to gather ideas to try out.

Mums and Babies Group

My local Mums and Babies group

Helps to keep me sane.

With adult conversation

To stimulate my brain.

When I am feeling anxious

It helps to get me through

To hear that all the other mums

Have fears and worries too.

We talk about our babies

And get stuff off our chest

And reassure each other

We can only do our best.

We have a laugh and giggle

About the week we’ve had

Sharing our experience

The good things and the bad.

By the time our tea is finished

And we’ve put the world to rights

We’re re-energised to face

Another week of sleepless nights.

(from ‘Baby Daze’ copyright belongs to Sarah Davis)

It’s important to make time for self-care in order to be a good parent. We need to adjust to our new role and re-connect with ourselves and with each other and it’s good to give each other the headspace to do this. We’re not just parents, we’re still individuals; a couple, daughter or son, siblings, friends and colleagues. It’s a good thing to take time out for ourselves and together – even if that means an extra 2 hours in nursery occasionally, so we can go for an uninterrupted meal together. We once felt guilty about going to the cinema one afternoon, while our son was at nursery. We looked across the half-empty cinema and spotted another couple from nursery doing exactly the same thing! Re-charging our own batteries benefits the whole family.

It can be hard to maintain friendships with people who have children of different ages, or no children – but it’s not impossible. Lifelong friendships matter too, providing that our old friends understand our new priorities. By prioritising our baby’s needs and our needs before anything else, we’ll be

giving ourselves the space to develop as a new family. Being flexible and adaptable, makes us open to new connections and new opportunities for us and our children.

I didn’t expect that becoming a mum would lead to me being a published author, selling over 1,100 copies of ‘Baby Daze,’ doing radio interviews; talking to big groups, like at Mothercare and the launch event for Baby Week Leeds. It’s also led to a change of career for me. I’ve moved from being a part-time teacher, to working freelance as The Parenting Copywriter. I provide website and blog copy for baby, child, parenting and educational brands and businesses. I also run a very engaged Facebook group and online networking group, called Parenting Business Connections.

It’s amazing how our children can often inspire us in different ways, to find a version of ourselves that we didn’t know before.

Sarah speaking about her book Baby Daze

The 2nd edition of ‘Baby Daze’ is available from Amazon, at £7.99. https://www.amazon.co.uk/BABY-DAZE-Humorous-Honest-Motherhood/dp/1838386394

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