Parenting: Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the parenting frequently asked questions. Post your question and we will write the answer. Get your questions answered by someone who has already experienced it.

How long after birth can you have sex?

Whether you gave birth vaginally or had a Caesarean section. Professionals recommend that you wait around 4-6 weeks postnatally. This is because it gives you time to heal and the bleeding will settle down or stop by 6 weeks. Please remember to use protection, as you have the highest chance of getting pregnant this early on. You are the most fertile. You can, however, have sex when you feel comfortable enough, but don’t rush anything.

Does breastfeeding hurt?

Breastfeeding is obviously a new sensation to your breast. Your body has gone through childbirth and now your breasts have filled up with momma milk! If your baby has a good latch on your nipple the feeding process shouldn’t hurt, but as you will be feeding regularly your breasts will produce more milk and the baby will be more hungry when they go through cluster feeds.

Your nipples may get sore and crack but there are some great creams out on the market! I used the Lanolin nipple care cream by Lansinoh. Remember to take it slow if the baby gets stressed have someone take them away as the scent of your breast milk will be overwhelming and can be a very emotional time for you and your precious little one.

Am I ready to have another baby?

The big question all parents have to think hard and long about. If you feel ready, you are fully healed from your birth, and your mental state is good. Money is another factor to think of when planning your next baby as another baby is lovely but they do come at a cost. Think to yourself, will your child cope with your attention being diverted to another baby? Is your relationship stable enough, housing situation? Don’t just go for it, truly think as they aren’t babies for long and they grow up so fast!

How to keep my child entertained on the airplane?

Firstly, book them a seat that will be next to or very near the window so they can see the takeoff, landing, and the flight in general. Bring coloring books with plenty of pens and pencils (use up that hand luggage allowance!) If you are leaving in the late evening or night time they will likely sleep through the flight to make it a little easier.

Download your child’s favorite film using an app like Netflix beforehand, this will keep them close to comfort and keep them entertained for a good hour or two. Bring plenty of snacks and order in-flight meals if your going long haul! -Bring a few toys to let their imagination run wild! To finish, just enjoy it! You’re not flying forever it’s an experience like no other. Have fun and don’t stress, your children will love it! If they don’t dive into your bag of goodies.

Do I need folic acid during pregnancy?

Due to its requirement for the production of cells in your body. The need for folic acid is crucial when it comes to having a baby. Folic acid helps with the development of a healthy fetus. It can significantly reduce the risk of any neural tube defects. Whilst it is very important. You should always pre-consult your doctor before administration during pregnancy. They will inform you if you should take supplements.

As well as point you in the right direction in terms of which ones you should use. If you have any form of kidney disease, have an infection, former alcohol problems or are anemic, you should always be wary of taking folic acid. For the best outcome, consult your doctor for their professional verdict. They can then direct you on what supplements you should take.

What is a trimester?

The word trimester can be used to refer to an academic term but in pregnancy, there are three main trimesters. These are the first trimester which is when a woman is between 1 week and 12 weeks pregnant. The second trimester is between week 13 to week 26 and is referred to as the golden period simply because most of the unpleasant pregnancy symptoms disappear. The third and final trimester is from week 27 to the end of the pregnancy.

What is sleep training?

Sleep training is a modern term that means the same as self soothe. It is a method used by parents to let the baby cry without comforting them. Whilst this may seem harsh, it is a proven method that works well in helping your little ones to help themselves.

Can you get pregnant on your period?

Whilst it’s not very likely, it is in fact possible to get pregnant whilst on your period. If you have had intercourse without the use of any contraception then you can get pregnant at any time during your menstrual cycle.

When do babies smile?

Every baby is different and will smile at a different age. However, the most common for your baby to do a real smile will happen around 6 weeks. Any earlier and it is likely that it is just wind.

Will my baby’s facial swelling go?

Yes, once a baby’s body has adjusted to the outside world the marks from birth should improve. It is recommended that you put mittens on your newborn as they will scratch at their face (not on purpose) it’s just what babies do! Do keep an eye on baby skin color as newborns are common to get jaundice. If you do notice this contact your health provider, you will have a midwife/ health visitor to come and see you in the first week anyway but if it occurs after don’t hesitate to ask.

Will the umbilical cord come away itself?

The answer is yes, it will gradually become dryer and darker and then will fall off. Usually, this happens within the first 10 days. If it develops any mucus/Reddening around the cord contact your local GP or health visitor.

Do I need to wake my baby for feeds?

Most babies will automatically wake up around the 3-4 hour mark, this is perfectly normal for all babies. However, some that have a low birth weight or jaundice need to be woken for feeds if they don’t already wake themselves. Breastfed babies tend to feed a lot in the first few weeks, they will also cluster feed which is fine as your breast milk is hydrating. It will not be dangerous for your baby.

If they drink too much whereas formula is more filling and can be dangerous if the wrong amount is given too often. Always use baby formula manufacturers' guidelines on making bottles do not assume.

Is weight loss common in the first few weeks?

Yes, as long as your midwife checks baby regularly until they are gaining a good amount of weight and they can discharge you both, there is nothing to worry about it is perfectly normal.

What is a newborn sticky eye?

The sticky eye is very common in newborns, it's usually a green/yellow discharge in one or both of the baby’s eyes. This is usually not a cause for concern and will go away naturally with some breast milk or warm sterile water.  It should be dabbed gently with some cotton wool to not irritate the eye. If it continues to irritate the baby, do not hesitate to contact your local health advisors such as midwife/health visitor or GP.

When will baby be awake in the daytime?

Newborns sleep a lot. They generally don't stay asleep for longer than 2-3 hours at a time during the day or night! From around 6-8 weeks (depending on the baby and feeding routine etc) you should expect to see your baby awake a little more in the day. They should also be sleeping for longer periods at night.

As I said before, each baby is different. Some sleep through from 8 weeks, some don't until they are 8 years old. It is all about your child and how they are, no two children are the same. As you would find that outgoing to baby groups, it's not a competition who's baby does what quicker! just enjoy parenthood.

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression is a condition that affects one in ten women after childbirth it can occur within the first year of becoming a parent. Although more common in women it can also affect the man too.

It is important that at the first signs of depression you should contact your midwife, health visitor or doctor. This is because if depression is left untreated it can begin to affect people in day-to-day life. Preventing them from going out, bonding with their baby and daily things. With the right type of help such as therapy, counselling or self-help women and men can make a full recovery and get back to their usual self.

What are the symptoms of postnatal depression

Many new mums and dads feel drained, down, sad, tearful and anxious a few weeks after birth. It is often called the baby blues, but baby blues are seen as normal whereas when a woman continues to feel sad and depressed for weeks and months on end it is a sign they need to see a doctor.

  • A persistent feeling of sadness or lowness.
  • Low energy feeling tired all of the time
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Thoughts of hurting self or baby
  • Trouble getting to sleep during the night

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of these symptoms and have recently or in the past year had a baby, do not hesitate to recommend they speak to a professional for advice and help. If it is a close friend or family member they may benefit from talking to you for relief of bad thoughts.

I hope this information has helped, and remember you are not alone, it will get better. If you are feeling suicidal you should contact a professional immediately. If you don’t feel like you can keep yourself safe you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can’t get yourself to A&E.

In the event that you need some support right now but don’t want to go to A&E then you could contact the Samaritans on 116 123, they are available 24 hours a day and will listen to your problems in confidence. You could contact your local GP for an emergency appointment. If you are in England, you could phone the NHS at 111 for advice. If you are not the person that is feeling suicidal you should check out this article on helping someone with suicidal feelings.

How to relieve postnatal depression?

Getting out and about doing the things that you did before having a baby should help. Attending baby groups to talk to other mums in your position. Talking to friends and family about what you are going through. Not isolating yourself from others. Attend self-help groups. Visit your GP ask to be referred to a physiologist, therapist or counsellor.

Encourage your partner to get help if they are suffering from mental health. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a great way to relieve anxiety and depression disorders. This is because it gives you techniques to cope. You are also given skills and ways to get over the depression in your own way that works.

There are also anti-depressants offered to help relieve your symptoms but if you would rather not take these types of medication. There are herbal medicine alternatives, and mindful classes such as yoga can help you.

Do kids get more expensive?

There is a debate on whether kids get more expensive as they get older, there would be arguments for and against. Mainly because, it depends on the types of things you are willing to buy for your children. Obviously, there will be expensive versions as well. However, if you research popular items today for each age range you can see that children do get more expensive.

For example, toys for a baby may cost you £10 each or more like £100 if you are wanting to buy an activity play center that does a lot more. Toddlers will have toys ranging from the same initial £10 but this time high-end toys are the likes of a £100 bike, or a £200 garden swing set.

How expensive are teenagers?

As they slowly become teenagers they will likely want for items such as a mobile phone, games console, etc. It is highly likely that kids do get more expensive but ultimately it depends on the child. As they grow up they will of course eat more food, use more electric and have more things that they want to buy.

Teenagers don’t exactly play with toys anymore. They are now more into technology and whilst parents typically spend under £100 for their child’s first phone at the age of around 12 years old. A little while later comes the need to keep up with the new models of the leading brands to fit in, and these phones can cost between £200 and £600, this is a crazy amount of money to be spent on a phone. My first phone was a basic Nokia 3310 and I loved it, it wasn’t too expensive at the time either.

At this age, they also want for things such as laptops which can work out very expensive, and of course, games consoles which have an RRP of around £249 nowadays, each game that they want will cost you an additional £50 unless you buy it second-hand. Another contributing factor is the fact that once kids become teenagers their bus travel will cost more, and I know it doesn’t cost too much but it does add up over time.

So it’s settled, that teenagers do indeed cost more money than kids. They do get more expensive as they get older. You do have control over this and it all depends whether you want your child to fit in or stand out. The main problem is not the money itself but the social pressure from friends, and with the hopes that following the trends will keep you popular’ but unfortunately, it is just an illusion. A good friend will like you whether you have the new games console or not.

Is having a child in the UK expensive?

I hear a lot that children are so expensive and I do believe that this is somewhat a misconception. Whilst yes, having kids would cost you more money than if you were childless because of costs related to water, electricity, gas, food, clothes, travel, and admission fees when you go on days out.

Realistically though, in England, there is a lot of support regarding money for child benefits and child tax credits which in my personal opinion covers new clothes and food. When I say that it covers food I mean if you are buying ingredients and cooking. Cooking a little extra for a child makes barely any difference to the cost of ingredients.

However, if eating out, that can get very expensive depending on the restaurant. It is said that a child from 0-18 years old can cost a whopping £75,000 pounds. But I still think that this is inaccurate. Maybe it varies depending on the parent and how well they manage money.

Should kids have a night light?

Should kids have a night light? 

This is one topic that is highly debated nowadays. Children have such great imaginations and sometimes this can be a negative for them. Children eventually go through the age where they worry about monsters especially at night time when it’s dark and scary. Each child is very different but at this time when they are worried, they can ask for the light on. As a parent, we don’t want our children to be scared, and essentially we have only two options.

Option 1

  • Keep the light on, they will not fear monsters for as long as the light is on. They will grow up and whilst their fear of monsters may fade, they may develop a fear of the dark. This could have an extreme effect on them as they transition to an adult maintaining their childhood fears.

Option 2

  • Explain to them that monsters are not real. That you shouldn’t sleep with the light on as it is a waste of electricity, and that it will keep them awake. After you have helped them understand, you can turn the light off. Later on, their development will not be affected by it and their fears will fade.

When I was a child, I was scared of the dark. I secretly without my grandparents knowing watched films on my iPod. Even though I am now an adult, I still like to fall asleep in the evening whilst watching or listening to something. I find comfort in it and feel that it helps me sleep. I don’t think that I did myself any favours by watching things when I was younger at bedtime. But then what would you do if you had the direct choice – be scared or don’t be scared?

What environment is the best for sleeping?

What environment is the best for sleeping?

A night light up until the age of three years would be fine. As long as it isn’t a long term solution. After your child’s third birthday is when they may start to develop fears of monsters or darkness and this is when it is important to encourage them to sleep without a light.

The ideal sleep environment is cool, quiet and dark. In those earlier years when your baby is still an infant, it may make it easier to check on them during the night if there is a soft subtle light. There are many parents who think that nightlights are fine and many who think that they are bad.

There are also many choices of different types of night lights on the market that all claim to be beneficial to sleep. Many state that night lights that use red LED light can help to encourage sleep. It does this by boosting the production of melatonin. Whether these claims are true or not is difficult to tell. Especially considering that a dark room also stimulates the body’s production of melatonin. Another reason to avoid using a nightlight is that they can become hot, causing them to pose a risk of a fire during the night.

Is a small age gap better?

is a small age gap better 

Having two children or more that have a small age gap definitely could be beneficial. But the term better is inaccurate. First, we will discuss the benefits of a small age gap and then we will look at how a longer age gap could be beneficial. With most things within our world. There are not any right or wrong answers.

Instead, the world is full of those choices that are better suited to some, and not so much for others. It all comes down to personal preference and which lifestyle works out to be better for you as both an individual and as a family.

The benefits of a small age gap?

The benefits of having multiple children that are close together in age rely on the fact that they will likely share the same interests, and enjoy the same toys. This will help them to grow, learn and develop at a very similar pace. The slightly older child will help to educate their younger sibling, and at other times this could be tough in regards to sharing, and disagreements. But this is common law for most brothers and sisters.

If they both attend the same school, it’s also likely that they will look after each other. Being protective of the likes of bullies and will offer support to each other in general. Being of a similar age, despite their differences. They will be the best of friends when they are at home, insisting that most things will be done together.

As a parent, a small age gap could be easier in some ways but also more difficult in others. For example, two children that are both demanding their parent’s attention can be a stressful experience.

A negative of having multiple children in a short time is that the mother is unlikely to have replenished the nutrients that would have been lost during pregnancy and energy levels could remain low. As children get older they become more independent and could end up doing things by themselves. So let’s explore the benefits of a bigger age gap.

The benefits of a bigger age gap?

We have already discovered that a bigger age gap could provide you with less stress. This is mainly because the older child will be less dependant on their parents. It doesn’t end there; the older sibling would be more helpful in regards to helping their parents with the younger child.

Whilst having a bigger age gap will prolong the duties such as changing nappies and doing the school run for a longer time. It definitely will lighten the load. There are no right or wrong choices, just the choice of what is better suited to you.

Pregnant With My Second

I looked down at the two pregnancy tests, after numerous weeks of arguing with my partner and snapping at every little thing that went wrong. There they were, the two faint lines. Our daughter was only 6 months old at the time, how would I tell Ryan that I am pregnant again? How could I cope with raising two under 2?  What will my family think? Could I love another baby, how will I pay for more nappies or deal with preeclampsia again.

All these questions ran through my mind, I was quickly emotional. My first initial thought was to get rid of the baby, which I didn’t, even though I was suffering from anxiety issues. As the weeks flew by, it became more real.

Moving house whilst pregnant

We had moved house, whilst I was in the early stages of pregnancy. Our families helped us move to our new home. My mum looked after our daughter while we got everything ready, making the house a home.

As months went by, becoming more settled and at our 20-week scan, we saw our perfect, healthy baby boy. “yay, one of each,” I said to myself.

Our families were excited, however, my body was struggling; I hadn’t let it rest, my weight was constantly fluctuating, my back, and legs would hurt because of pregnancy-related SPD.

As the due date was approaching, I was having regular checks on my blood pressure, bump growth, even urine samples: this was due to having preeclampsia with my firstborn. I was living in fear that it would happen again or that something terrible would go wrong as I had read plenty of horror pregnancy stories.

Going into labor with my second born

In the final week, I was showing signs of labor, I thought it was Braxton hicks but it wasn’t. it had started, although I was still far away from giving birth. After 2 am I was waddling around the house, unable to keep still. I was having contraction pains at 10-15 minute intervals, some pains were stronger than others.

I called my mum, and Ryan’s nan, then we headed to the hospital. After a few hours we were sent home as the labor was slow, I wasn’t dilating.

Around 8 pm the next day I was having very regular, and painful contractions. Starting to panic, feeling tons of pressure, and that the baby was going to be here very soon. After contacting the local hospital, they told me that there were no more beds available and that I would have to travel for 40 minutes to a different hospital.

I would also have to get my daughter collected and looked after by someone. There I was, standing outside my flat waiting for a babysitter and the ambulance. The gas and air carriage awaited, once at the hospital, I had my gorgeous son ‘Teddy’ just 10 minutes after arriving.

I had to stay in with my son because of a possible septic spot, which was found during his paediatric examinations. Despite it being completely fine, he was given a course of antibiotics as a precautionary measure as well as some blood tests. We were discharged, 4 days later.

Raising two kids under 2 years old

Bringing my second born home, was a very odd experience. My daughter who had been our only responsibility was now unable to have our hundred percent attention. I chose to breastfeed the baby, and Ryan was tired of looking after Olivia on his own. I felt as if we couldn’t give her as much love, affection as she was receiving before. As my milk came in, I become more emotional, I was regretting having another baby so quick, our baby girl couldn’t have us all to her self anymore, and was also being kept up at night with the crying due to us all sharing one room.

As months went on, we finally moved to a lovely house, with the most friendly neighbours. This is when it became easier raising two kids under 2 years old, I decided breastfeeding wasn’t allowing me to be the best mum, that I could be to Olivia. Bottle feeding seemed better, as other people could help me. As the kids grew together, they became the best of friends.

Raising two kids got easier

They play so well together, parenting became so much easier, as long as you have routine, you have everything! Getting enough rest, as a mother, and father is very important and shouldn’t be underestimated when they sleep you should too.

At the time of writing this my daughter is 5, and son is 4. It’s been a tough five years being a mum, and I know it doesn’t stop here. You can’t even go to the toilet, without little visitors by your side asking “mummy what are you doing” and “mummy I need the toilet”.

This is not something you want to hear when you have IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), and cannot get off of the toilet as it is. This age they are both at is one of the hardest yet. They both are having bad tantrums, fighting with each other but we will get through it. It’s what us parents do, ‘we cope’. My main advice is to: rest up when you can, stay in contact with your friends, breathe, ask for help, and never give up because you are strong, and you can do this.


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