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Motherhood is the most exciting and challenging adventure you’ll ever have. Make the most of it with our guide to your baby’s first two years…
Congratulations: you’ve done it! After nine months of waiting, your baby has finally arrived. Amazingly, over the next 24 months, you’ll nurture him from a tiny newborn to a fully-fledged toddler.
Early days
New motherhood can be a magical time, but it’s also demanding to say the least. You’ve just been through the most physically exhausting process known to woman – giving birth – and you could do with a good night’s sleep. You’ll be lucky. In fact, you’ll soon be dreaming about having even four hours sleep! So what can you do? Follow our golden rules to getting through the days – and nights – ahead…
1. Accept all offers of help. If no-one offers to help, ASK. That’s what family and friends are for.
2. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Easier said than done, but if you want to stay sane, it’s essential to get your head down whenever you get the chance.
3. Don’t try to be a domestic goddess. Housework isn’t your main priority, so ignore the chores. If the dust and grime get you down, again, enlist the help of others. They can do the washing-up, but only you can breastfeed your baby.
4. Have a good cry. Your hormones will be running riot for a while, so have a good weep whenever you feel the need – it’ll make you feel better.
5. Involve your partner. Okay, so he didn’t have any stitches, and he’s been sleeping through the night – but he’s probably almost as tired and emotional as you are. Get him baby-friendly from the start: there’s lots he can do, from nappy-changing to bottle-making (if you’re not breastfeeding) and bathing your baby. It will take the pressure off you and help him bond with the newest member of the family.
6. Take a break. A chat with a friend; a soak in the bath; an hour at the hairdresser’s; two weeks in the Maldives (if only!) – whatever it takes to make you feel human again, just do it. This advice holds true for the next 18 years: when you need time out, make sure you get it.
Useful Tips
I love the warm feeling I get when I’m breastfeeding. Plus, it’s always ready at the right temperature – and it’s free!’ Sally, mum to Jasper, 3 months

Breastfeeding is best for your baby – breast milk contains antibodies that boost his immune system – so if you can, do. But if you can’t – for whatever reason – it’s not the end of the world. Your baby will still thrive and grow up healthy and happy.