First Year

Adjusting to the changes
and challenges in the first year


The first year with a new baby brings with it many changes, and adjustments.

You may find that being a parent is pretty much as you expected it. Alternatively it may be much more challenging that you may have anticipated – for many reasons. You may feel that you instinctively know what to do, or alternatively you may feel like you have no idea and are wondering where the instruction booklet is.

The transition to parenthood in the first few weeks can also vary greatly from one person to another.

For women in particular, pregnancy and birth often results in many physical changes to your body as well as recovering from birth and adjusting to breastfeeding. For both parents there can be significant adjustments to your priorities, lifestyle, relationships – both with each other as well as with extended family and friends. For many there is a sudden reality that you are both now responsible for this new life, and the significant commitment that this brings.

This first year as a parent will bring highs and lows, joys and frustrations. There will be many changes which will seem to last for a period of time as your baby enters and exits many new growth phases and milestones in their first year.

The following sections highlight some of the major changes and challenges that the first weeks, months and year of life brings for new parents. Being aware of these as well as tips and strategies can help you get through some of the most challenging times, and importantly remind you that whilst others may not necessarily talk about their struggles openly, you are not alone and that you can get help.