If you have recently become a parent, or are expecting your own new-born in the coming weeks or months, then I am sure that you are more than aware of the emotions that one experiences when the patter of little feet enters into your life. While this is an incredibly joyful time, it can also provide you with a number of concerns if he or she is your first child due to the fact that we are required to learn ‘on the job’.
Luckily for you, I have decided to put together these handy tips in order to assist you with those turbulent first couple of years.
Bringing Your Little One Home for the First Time
Those first months that you bring your baby home for the very first time will provide you with some of the happiest days of your life, so try to treasure them as much as you can do.
It is a good idea to try and document as much of these days as you can do and take plenty of photos of you all together; it is always a pleasure to look back at past photos and more importantly, they will provide you with plenty of ammunition later on in life when he or she brings their first boyfriend or girlfriend home!
However, when you aren’t taking photos and pulling silly faces, try to wrap your baby up in a blanket as much as you can do to keep them warm. They are probably feeling slightly traumatised due to the fact that they are taking their time to adjust to life outside of the womb.
This is an essential time for both parents to bond with the baby, luckily there are no longer any excuses for dads not doing their part due to the fact that the UK introduced paid paternity leave on 5 th April 2015, making it possible for new fathers to take shared paternity leave for up to 52 weeks. However, in reality, new dads will only be entitled to either one or two weeks paid paternity leave if the couple do not elect to share the paternity leave.
While you may be thinking that this was actually a highly positive and long overdue move by the government, the UK’s allocated paid paternity leave pales insignificant compared to Sweden, where new fathers are expected to be given a third month of paid paternity leave this year.
Sadly it appears that the UK is still quite some way behind other more progressive countries in Europe, where there is a strong acknowledgement of the importance of allowing a new family the time to bond with each other and share the care load between the two parents.
However, this isn’t the only issue of inequality that plagues new parents in the UK, in recent months there has been an ever-increasing issue of maternity discrimination in the UK, with new-mothers being pushed out of their roles of employment and having to reply on lawyers specialising in maternity discrimination and settlement agreements in order to defend their rights.
The Terrible Twos
We are all more than aware of the challenges that face parents once their little darlings become toddlers. You can be assured that you will face a variety of different challenge and trepidations ranging from tantrums, discipline and nutrition. However, while this can be a particularly challenging period, it can also be incredibly rewarding due to the fact that you are able to interact with your child and assist in the crucial development of their social skills.
This is an ideal time to encourage your little one to interact with other children and can be achieved through arranging activities with others parents, or sending your toddler to a nursery specialising in care of toddlers, like my local nursery in Hove does. This really is an excellent way of developing your child’s confidence and social skills and it will provide them with a huge benefit later on in their lives.
While it can be a challenge to afford quality childcare, it is certainly not an area that you should be watching your pennies. When ascertaining whether or not a nursery is right for you and your child, take some time to carefully research the nursery; if they have had a recent OFSTED inspection that was either rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, then you can take this as is a kind of seal of approval. You should not be afraid to ask questions and you should try to find out how they will assist you child’s development through classroom games and activities.
Another suggestion that I believe to worth consideration is introducing your child to a variety of animals while they are young, as again, this has been shown to aid a child’s development. This could either be through your own animals, a friends or even taking him or her to an animal farm park for the day, which is great fun adults, too!
When the Time Comes to Return to Work
As previously highlighted, women continue to be discriminated against in the workplace when it comes to returning to work, this is due to the patriarchal dominance that sadly continues to plague the workplace.
If you believe that you are being discriminated against due to the fact that you are pregnant, then do not be afraid to stick up for yourself and speak to an employment lawyer who specialises in maternity discrimination.
However, there are a couple of other challenges awaiting you when you do return to work; it will take time for you to adjust to your new routine and being back in the workplace. It is important to take it somewhat easy for the first few weeks in order to ensure that your return is as smooth as possible.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and have gained some useful insights into the world of parenthood. Don’t forget to come back for part 2, coming soon!