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Our life as new parents

Having a new baby brings major changes, no matter how you feed.

our new life as parents

You may have discovered, or you're about to discover, that your whole life changes when you become a parent. For most of us, a new baby in the house is a brand new experience.

Many of us have little knowledge about what to do and how to navigate the changes a baby brings to our personal lives and our relationships.

Everyone telling you what to do with your new baby?

From the time babies are born, new parents receive advice from family members, friends, even people you meet at the shops! Knowing which advice to listen to can be confusing. 

There are many strange ideas about breastfeeding and parenting out there. Most of them come from a time when not much was known about how breastfeeding works or why it's important. You'll hear ideas about what babies 'should' do, how babies 'should' behave and what foods a mum needs to eat. Remember that mothers all around the world breastfeed their babies and they have very different diets.  

We now know a lot more about how breastfeeding works and why it is important.  

When you have a question, ask someone who has breastfed their own baby. When you phone our Breastfeeding Helpline, it helps to know that all ABA counsellors have breastfed at least one baby for at least 6 months. They are trained to help mums breastfeed and have access to the most recent research findings. 

Getting out - breastfeeding in public

In Australian Federal Law breastfeeding is a right, not a privilege. Mums can breastfeed their babies anywhere. Many mums feel uncomfortable with this idea at first, but soon breastfeeding while you are out will be a normal part of caring for your baby.  

For mums who are looking for more coverage, tops that lift up show less skin than ones that need to be unbuttoned. Layering singlet tops and shirts can also give more cover.  Most people don't even notice that baby is being fed. They just see a mum holding her baby close. For mums who prefer extra privacy or babies who have special feeding needs, there are parents' rooms available in many places where you can feed and change your baby.

What about our sex life?

A woman's body goes through lots of changes when she is pregnant and gives birth. These can make some women lose interest in sex for a while. This happens to both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding women. Childbirth affects women's sex lives more than breastfeeding does.  

Not all women are ready for sex at the same time after birth. Some women won't want sex because of soreness or extreme tiredness caused by a difficult birth and lack of sleep. Some women say that the emotional and physical effort of looking after a baby makes them feel 'all touched out' by the end of a day. 

A woman needs her partner to be patient and sensitive as she recovers from birth and gains confidence in breastfeeding and as a mother. Sharing the care of your new baby is a loving act too. This phase won’t last forever. 

Back to work

Many mums keep breastfeeding even when they go back to work. Most women feel worried about leaving their babies and are happy to know that they can keep breastfeeding.

Babies in Early Childhood education and Care who don't get any breastmilk get sick more often, so breastfeeding helps mums and babies with the adjustment. ABA has lots of helpful information about paid work and breastfeeding, and expressing and storing breastmilk.

You can offer your partner support as she negotiates her return to work. There’s plenty of practical support you can offer on a daily basis.

Breastfeeding and parenting are a team effort 

Looking after each other is important. You both need a good balanced diet to help you cope with the extra work of caring for your baby. Having a few easy, healthy snacks and meals on hand can help when you're busy.  

Sharing the care can help you each get some rest.  

Parenting a new baby can be tiring and challenging, but it is also a very exciting time in your lives. Enjoy it! Take time to cuddle your baby and discover what a precious and unique little person you’ve brought into the world. 


© Australian Breastfeeding Association May 2022

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