Helpful advice during the first year

Being a parent can be the best and the hardest thing you’ve ever done – especially during your baby’s first year.

Looking after yourself

Being a new parent is like nothing else you’ll ever do. It brings joy and surprise as you get to know your new baby, along with sleepless nights and changes to your body and sex life. Find out about looking after yourself.

You may feel down after having a baby – known as the ‘baby blues’. These feelings usually only last a day or two. If the blues don’t go away you may be developing postnatal depression. Ask for help. Postnatal depression can be treated.

Sex after having a baby may feel like the last thing you want to do. Some women have sex a few weeks after their baby is born; for others it may be several months later. Having sex again when you are ready is one approach, but sometimes having sex again within 6 weeks actually helps you to realise that your body is back and functioning again. 

Coping with a crying baby

All babies cry. Crying can mean hunger or a dirty or wet nappy, or they may just need a cuddle, a song, a walk or a ride to soothe them. Your baby will cry to tell you what they need; as you get to know them better you will learn what each cry and sound means.

How you respond to baby’s crying will make baby feel secure and safe. Read our tips on coping with a crying baby.

Dads and partners

Kids need their dads. Spending time with your baby will also help your partner and your lives together as a whānau. Here are some tips for being a great dad

Smokefree car and home

Cigarette smoke is very harmful for your baby, both during pregnancy and after birth. Babies who live with smokers get sick more often than those who don’t. Find out how to have a smokefree car and home, how second-hand smoke can harm your baby and how you can be smokefree. 

During an emergency

Emergencies can happen at any time with little or no warning. Babies are especially vulnerable during an emergency and require special care and attention.

Breastfeeding remains the best way to feed babies, particularly in an emergency.

If breastfeeding is not an option in an emergency, extra care needs to be taken when preparing infant formula. 

Parents and carers of infants are encouraged to get ready before an emergency strikes, with a plan and feeding supplies at hand to ensure they can keep babies safe, healthy and well fed.

Go to Feeding your baby during an emergency for more information, including advice on breastfeeding, formula feeding and a list of the emergency supplies needed to feed a baby safely during an emergency

In this section

  • Congratulations on your new baby! Being a new parent is like nothing else you’ll ever do. It brings joy and surprise as you get to know your new baby, along with some sleepless nights and big changes to your life.  Read more
  • All babies cry. Crying can mean hunger or a dirty or wet nappy, or they may just need a cuddle, a song, a walk or a ride to soothe them.  Read more
  • Get to know your baby so they can bond with you – it is as important for your baby as it is for you. Spending time with your baby will also help your partner.  Read more
  • You may feel down after having a baby – known as the ‘baby blues’. These feelings usually only last a day or two. If the blues don’t go away, you may be developing postnatal depression. Ask for help. Postnatal depression can be treated.  Read more
  • Cigarette smoke is very harmful for your baby, both during pregnancy and after birth. Babies who live with smokers get sick more often than those who don’t. Read more
  • After your baby is born you may feel that having sex is the last thing you want to do. Read more
  • Every year too many New Zealand babies die suddenly during sleep. Many of these deaths can be prevented. Read more
  • Get help quickly from a doctor or phone 111 if your baby or young child shows any of the danger signs listed on this page.  Read more
  • Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby and breastfeeding is perfect for you too. Find out why. Read more
  • There are things you can look out for to see if your baby’s poo is normal. Read more
  • Learn about baby’s sleeping patterns, and use our guidelines to help settle baby to sleep if your baby is not sleeping well. Read more
  • Vitamin D helps our bodies build and maintain strong bones and teeth. If your baby doesn’t get enough vitamin D, they can develop health problems like rickets. Read more
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