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Becoming a parent


It can be an exciting and scary time waiting to become a parent for the first time.

Things are going to change for you both once the baby arrives. This might make you feel that you don't want to miss out on doing the things you've always done together.

There are loads of things mums-to-be have to think about while they're pregnant. Sometimes they want to make changes to their lifestyle to look after their baby's health. This might mean you giving up some of the things you love doing as well, so that you are supporting each other. It's normal for you and your partner to have a lot of questions during pregnancy, especially if it's the first time. And it's natural for you to be worried about some things. There's a wide range of different information and advice to take in. A new baby can mean a lot of change, so talk through your concerns and make decisions together, if you can.

You can get more information and advice at antenatal or parenthood classes, which are usually offered by hospitals. 

See Start4Life - advice for partners for more information.

Baby Buddy

Baby Buddy is the multi-award winning free app that guides you through pregnancy, birth, parenting and beyond. The app has been designed with parents and professionals to help you give your baby the best start in life and support your health and wellbeing. Find out more on our Baby Buddy page.

Support for parents

Being a parent is hard work, it doesn't come with a set of instructions and you won't always get it right! Support is available to parents across County Durham, either through fun activities where you can brush up on your parenting skills or through parenting programmes and support groups that offer that extra support when you need it. See Families Information Service for more information.

Secure attachment

Babies recognize their parent's voice from the womb and will recognize their face by the end of their first day. Babies are born ready and wanting to communicate. Mums, dads and partners can encourage this by talking and singing to their bump, and also having lots of eye contact and skin to skin contact once their baby is born. Bonding boosts hormone levels in mum, partner and baby, providing a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Daily positive communication with our children will support their emotional, language and social development. The earlier we start the better, and we encourage you to download our free Baby Buddy app to receive daily information to support you as parents and help you look after your baby.

Play helps children learn about themselves and the world around them and is an important way to develop early communication and social skills. Regular play is a simple and easy way to benefit your baby, and for both of you to have fun together. Babies are born to be sociable and love to interact. Play is a natural way of developing their communication and social skills. It is enjoyable for babies and adults and helps them to bond.

See the Words for Life for lots of useful tips. 

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a great way to get your baby off to the best start. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop. Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. See our Breastfeeding page for more information.

Maternal mental health including postnatal depression

Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the "baby blues" and is so common that it's considered normal. The "baby blues" don't last for more than two weeks after giving birth.

If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have Postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.

Additional support for parents

If you have experience of the following, they can all impact the health and wellbeing of mother and baby:

  • previous history of mental illness
  • a traumatic birth
  • a history of stillbirth or miscarriage
  • relationship difficulties or social isolation 

Make sure that you talk to someone. 

See Families Information Service for more information.

Contact us
Public Health
03000 264 109
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Adult and Health Services
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ
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