This Netmums guide is a reassuring and – I hope – comprehensive manual for new parents. You won’t need anything else to get you through the first year with your baby – except perhaps a good sense of humour and about 75 per cent more kip.

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Ups and downs

It’s not just the way you feel on the outside that can take a battering after birth – your state of mind will also need some TLC. While you may well feel intermittently high, there may also be times when you feel very low. These postnatal mood swings – probably caused by a combination of hormonal changes, anxiety and exhaustion – are experienced, to some extent or another, by just about all new mums. They can be heightened if you’ve been through a particularly difficult delivery, if you’re finding breastfeeding hard going, if you’re really struggling with one or more of the physical consequences of birth, if you’re isolated from friends and family, or if your partner is not around much, perhaps because he’s had to return to a demanding job.

Often called the baby blues, this period of changeable emotions won’t last long and is best tackled by getting as much rest, sympathy and practical help as you possibly can. The development of full-on postnatal depression (PND), on the other hand, is something to watch for because you may need some professional help to get through it. 

You will probably feel a strong rush of love for your baby very soon after birth – but you may not. For some mums (and dads), the bonding process can take a while and those deep feelings of love may take several weeks or more to kick in. 

Image: Tom Clare /


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