While there’s always a place for professional advice, there’s nothing quite like learning from mums who’ve been there, done that.
‘Routines are key’
‘You should create a routine so that baby’s in bed by a certain time every night. Be sure to make time for you and your partner, like having dinner together once the baby is asleep. My husband and I tend to curl up on the couch to watch an episode of The Sopranos or I enjoy a bubble bath.’
Dahlia Cuby, 38, head of production and mum to Elijah, nine months
‘It’s easier Second time around’
‘You know what to expect and you don’t have time to be precious about things because the siblings need attention, too. You’ll also have an established routine so a new baby won’t cause the huge change to your life that the first one did. And for all these reasons, parenting is more fun!’
Alex Maric, 43, customer services and dad to Saskia, five, and Max, two
‘Don’t try too hard’
‘Relax. You’ll be fine. Your job is to give your kids a good start in life but to accept that you are not perfect and neither are they. You will no doubt manage to fail them somehow, so accept it. Don’t try to avoid it. Stop trying to be a perfect parent and focus on being a loving parent – the rest will come naturally.’
Al Tepper, 39, head of digital and dad to Coby, six
‘Be money savvy’
‘Don’t rush to buy every bit of baby kit; your baby will outgrow some things in weeks! And do collect vouchers for nappies and days out – you’ll be surprised how much you can save in a year. Kids grow out of shoes really quickly, too, so buy the next size up when the sales are on.’
Puneet Bhandal, 43, author and mum to Roma, seven, Arjun, five and Milli, nine months
‘Make time for your partner’
‘Get the kids to bed so you have time to chill. If you want a night out, plan it in advance and book a babysitter. If you’re both in, turn the TV off and have a meal so you can chat properly. If you don’t make time to be together you end up never having a proper conversation. It’s just, “Did you get the milk?” or “Where’s my key?”
’Andrea Mitchell, 36, art editor and mum to Nicole, four
Soothe your baby
Babies tend not to cry without reason so, no matter how frustrated or upset you may be, remember that there is a reason and try to soothe your baby. If it gets too much for you, ask your partner or a friend for help.
Don’t always go by what the text books say. Follow your instinct. Parents often understand their babies better than anybody else, so if your child is not eating/drinking the same amount as your neighbour’s baby, don’t worry – they are all different.
If your baby is unhappy sleeping on his own, put him in your bed. This stage doesn’t last long and if it means you get some sleep too, take it! But always follow safety advice and make sure baby is not under the duvet (use a baby sleeping bag), close to a pillow or is in any danger of being squashed.