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New parents

new; parents; mum; dad ;

Becoming a mum or dad can bring great joy and wonderful experiences into your life. There can also be worries and challenges and it can feel a bit scary at times. A baby doesn’t come with a ‘how to’ manual and there are lots of new things to do and changes to get used to.

The good news is that most parents work things out as they go along and grow into their role with experience.

Having a baby is also a chance to think about your values and the kind of parent you want to be for your child.

Becoming a mum or dad

Having a baby changes your life. As adults we are used to looking after our own needs but when a baby comes along, their needs come first. They depend on us for everything. It can take time to get used to the changes and work out how you will do things.


  • you are learning ‘on the job’. You are not expected to be perfect and have all the answers
  • all parents bring their own strengths and skills to their parenting. It is important to believe in yourself and be confident in your parenting
  • parenting is easier when you share the load.
  • being organised, flexible and adaptable will help
  • looking after yourself makes it easier to look after your baby. Make time to do things you enjoy
  • all parents need help at times. Seeking help when you need it is the smart thing to do.

Perfection is not reality

Some new parents have ideas about being a ‘perfect parent’ just like they see on TV or in advertisements. They may think badly of themselves when they find the reality is quite different.


  • there is no such thing as a perfect parent. All families face difficulties, however they may appear on the outside
  • being a ‘good enough’ parent most of the time is what’s needed.

Be patient with yourself. You are learning on the job and it takes time to work things out, e.g. you might try different ways of settling baby to sleep and feel frustrated until you find what works best.

More information

Have a look at the Parent Easy Guide New Parents for many more ideas. This guide was developed by Parenting SA which is a partnership between the Department for Education and Child Development and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network - South Australia 

Other topics on this website

Raising Children Network

The Raising Children Network is a Australian Government website which has a lot of excellent information about parenting babies and children, such as the topics in the sections:

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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