COMPETITION – What to expect when you’re expecting

What did people say to you when you told them you were pregnant? After the congratulations were out of the way, how many times were you warned of the sleepless nights to come, the rollercoaster hormone ride?

How seriously did you take it though? ‘Oh yes, sleepless nights! How hard can it be? I’ll just nap when my baby naps, they have to sleep sometime right?’

*shakes head pityingly*

Of course sometimes it does go right. Take Bee for instance – she was a miracle baby, sleeping through the night from six weeks old. In my head it was all down to me and my chillaxed parenting style. I was more than happy to take all the credit for her amazing ability to sleep, right up until Belle was born that is. Then suddenly I was convinced it was nature and not nurture, how else could I explain Belle not sleeping through the night until she started school?

This is where Start4Life comes in. The Start4Life team of medical experts, midwives and health visitors has pulled together the essential information to help new parents focus on the most important things they can do to improve their health and to get their baby off to the best start. Whether it’s breastfeeding, post-natal exercise or just remembering to drink plenty of water, there’s a lot you can do to help keep your family fit and healthy.

Not only that, but they’ve given me three copies of What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ on DVD to give away. What To Expect When You’re Expecting follows the lives of five couples, dealing with the highs and lows of becoming parents, and concluding that no matter how hard you plan, sometimes life just throws the unexpected at you.

"What to expect when you're expecting"

If you’d like your own copy of the film, just leave a comment on this post with your top tip for new and expectant parents on things they can do to take care of themselves and give their baby the best possible start. The competition will close on 21 November and three winners will be picked at random.

Good luck!



  1. Michelle Ellison
    4 November, 2012 / 11:41 am

    Id like to say my top tip is not cuddling bubz to sleep, the sooner they learn that their crib/cot is for sleep the better…but most of us are reduced to mush when a baby crys. They are master manipulators.. So the best advice is to just chill and go with the flow, try to follow the “experts” ways but dont beat yrself up if it’s not working out.. Every baby is different, do what makes you & bubz happy…one day they will be independant….and you will be laying awake wondering what time they are actually going to roll in

  2. 4 November, 2012 / 12:14 pm

    Best advice from me is to not actually eat for two. I put on at least 4 stone, only 2 of which related to baby. I used my pregnancy as an excuse to pig out on everything I wouldn’t usually allow myself to eat – all under the guise of ‘baby needs plenty of nutrients’ – just eat healthily and don’t starve yourself – no need for the humped dinner plates x

  3. 4 November, 2012 / 12:18 pm

    Circle the date on the calander when the baby turns 6 weeks old. (well for me it was 10 weeks) Things get so much easier after that date. Dont get too fixated on the bonding with brestfeeding notion, Sometimes that doesnt happen. Actually be preparded that bonding may not happen for a long time. (I didnt bond with my son until he was 3 months old even though he was a long sought after pregnancy, really wanted child and I brestfed. I felt horrible that I didnt bond when everyone was telling me that I would fall in love instantly) Give everything time. Also, always turn on a timer when you turn on the stove or burners. Many times I wold heat a put of water to sanitize something, baby would cry and I would completely forget that I had turned the stove on

  4. Jaycee Daniel
    4 November, 2012 / 12:42 pm

    Best advise I can give is to accept help from grandparents, aunties etc. Have lots of cuddles with your new bundle & if the dusting isn’t done the world won’t end.

    But the worst thing that happened to me two months after my twins where born I nipped to the local shops leaving the babies at home with hubby. I bumped into one of the ladies I knew to say hello to, she asked me when my baby was due!!! I really thought I’d lost a lot of the weight but obviously not. LOL

  5. katie walters
    4 November, 2012 / 12:56 pm

    getting sleep when the baby does is the best thing you can do, and not being afraid to ask for/accept help

  6. 4 November, 2012 / 12:58 pm

    Before having your bundle of joy, rest lots, spend time with your better half, family and friends. Laugh lots it’s good for you all, very good for bump. Water is your friend but I can be tasteless so consider water favouring or each waterbased fruits like watermelon.

    When baby is born, baby yoga or massage is good to connect together. Holding baby on bare skin. Snooze together, play together. It can be lonely at times so pick up a hands-free kit or use a speaker this way baby gets used to different voices and you get to chat to someone, even for 5 mins. Baby will learn their voice too. Listen to music, no need for baby music, listen to music you like and you baby will enjoy it.

    Get baby used to loud noises, like tv or Hoover. Once they know the sound it won’t wake them up while you are busy.

    Make sure to make time for you, after all it is a full time job and sometimes the mummies and daddies are forgotten about. Treat yourself once a month, a top, bath salts or nail polish. Then put one night or a few hours away each week to have a bath and relax to also feeling like a human.

    Money can be tight at the start so get a jam jar and throw your change in it every time you come home from work, shop or whatever you are doing, it adds up and at the end of the month you may all be able to get a treat, also good way to save in advance for birthdays and Christmas.

    One thing enjoy it. I’m not saying it will be easy, but the tough jobs are always rewarding. I hope a few things have helped.

    • 4 November, 2012 / 8:01 pm

      Yes, agree, spend quality time with hubby now, because when the little one is born both of you won’t have the time.

  7. anna
    4 November, 2012 / 1:34 pm

    my top tip is get rest when u can and just enjoy the time as pregnancy & newborn days are special but they go really quick

    really liked this film, saw it at the cinema its funny!

  8. Sam Goodwin
    4 November, 2012 / 1:34 pm

    Listen to what other people have to say, but always follow YOUR head and your heart. You know what’s right for your baby and yourself, don’t feel pressured by other people.

  9. olivia kirby
    4 November, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    Eat healthily and give yourself a treat but don’t eat for 2!! Rest whenever you can and accept help.

  10. 4 November, 2012 / 2:58 pm

    eat lots of greens. and make sure you have time for yourslef when the bay comes, it is essential, if possible.

  11. 4 November, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    Go out to classes etc & meet other new mummies. Having a baby is a great way to make lovely new friends – you’ll support each other & years down the line you’ll always have kids the same age which is very handy!

  12. 4 November, 2012 / 3:43 pm

    never deny help from anyone-if anyone offers you help-dont get all macho thinking that you can do it all. Family and friends are there to help and you shouldnt be ashamed in asking for help.

  13. Lynne Donnelly
    4 November, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    Sleep as much as you can before baby arrives!

  14. Vicky Limerick
    4 November, 2012 / 4:53 pm

    my top tip would be use your maternal instincts, clever books and stuff are all well ang good but I think, they were never around in years gone and many healthy generations were born

  15. Lorna Henderson
    4 November, 2012 / 6:08 pm

    Follow as many of the fabulous tips that everyone is leaving here. But if things still aren’t going right, and you feel you aren’t bonding, or you can’t cope, make sure you talk to your health visitor or your GP. A lot of women don’t feel able to discuss negative feelings surrounding their baby – they feel too guilty for even having them. Post-natal depression can strike anyone. It doesn’t matter how planned your baby was, how much you want to love them, how helpful those around you are. There is no shame in feeling that way, and there is no shame in discussing those feelings. In fact, tackling them pro-actively is cause for commendation.

  16. ashleigh
    4 November, 2012 / 6:55 pm

    Accept help and have faith in your own abilities x

  17. Rachel
    4 November, 2012 / 8:24 pm

    My tip is to get as much sleep as possible leading up to the birth, and then rest as much as possible afterwards. I got quite low after having my first two children due to lack of sleep but with my third I tried to rest as much as I could, sleeping when he slept, and it really helped! x

  18. johanna munn
    4 November, 2012 / 8:48 pm

    Drink plenty of water if breastfeeding. Don’t feel you have to leave the house if you don’t want to, the baby won’t care but going to a baby group (find you local children’s centre) to meet other new mums can help you feel normal and sociable. Your baby will be happier if you are relaxed so put your feet up and ignore the state of your house a bit of dust won’t harm your baby.

  19. Helenthemadex
    4 November, 2012 / 11:15 pm

    my top tips would be accept help that is offered, when people come to visit you and the new baby get them to make you a drink of tea, coffe or something to eat and do not be afraid to ask for help

    Also when you are pregnant and making a meal make double and freeze one, there will be quite a few days (weeks) when you dont feel like cooking after the birth so having meals in the freezer is so helpful and eusures you eat properly

  20. Solange
    5 November, 2012 / 2:57 am

    Explain clearly but don’t be too restrictive, its really important for kids to be able to make mistakes and learn what the consequences are. Also boredom is necessary to develop imagination, don’t give in too soon when they tell you they are bored, give them a chance to conjure up an activity of their own devising first

  21. 5 November, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    My life was made so much easier when I learned how to breast feed lying down! The joy of being able to snooze during those first relentless feeds! I wish I’d learned it sooner!

  22. caroline kelly
    5 November, 2012 / 10:01 pm

    Don’t listen to other people who ‘tell’ you how things should be done. Do what you feel is right for yourself and your baby. And try not to compare you child to everyone elses – as hard as that is!

  23. 6 November, 2012 / 4:15 pm

    Don’t pay too much attention to ‘baby books’, you know the sort, the ‘how to’ types. Do whatever suits you….Your instincts are often correct…fuff the books, fuff your mother, if it feels wrong to you, then don’t do it!! Don’t do what other people tell you to do, because they are the font of all wisdom, if you ain’t comfortable with it, then don’t do it…

  24. Ang Gallant
    6 November, 2012 / 8:32 pm

    Remember you cannot be a superparent, accept that now, accept and actively seek out help! Also take plenty of photos, even if you don’t feel like it, you’re creating fantastic memories for your little one!

  25. 6 November, 2012 / 8:36 pm

    Get some fresh air – it clears your head, baby will often nap in the pushchair and I’m certain mine slept better when we’d been outside. It’s almost like a bit of exercise as well :-)

  26. emer breen
    7 November, 2012 / 2:42 pm

    Eat lots and lots of kiwis, i swear by them! Drink lots of cranberry juice. Take lots of nice long baths and pamper yourself :)

  27. 11 November, 2012 / 4:39 pm

    Don’t worry about the state of the house, just enjoy your baby, get lots of rest and don’t be afraid to accept help or to say no to visitors!

  28. Sarah
    14 November, 2012 / 10:57 pm

    My advice would be not to be scared of asking for help,

  29. aly
    16 November, 2012 / 12:52 pm

    I would say make sure you and partner make time for the two of you. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being a mum and sometimes partners feel left out, and it’s so important to stay connected to each other. And let him do his share, he IS capable of changing a nappy/cuddling/making feeds etc. It’s his baby too and you will cherish the time off.

  30. Lyn
    17 November, 2012 / 1:29 pm

    Follow your instincts and don’t doubt yourself! I was always so worried that I was doing it “wrong” I’d worry about what other people thought of me and I was paranoid incase people thought I was a parent…eventually I realised that I was doing fine and my baby was happy, healthy and loved and that’s all that matters!

    • Lyn
      17 November, 2012 / 1:29 pm

      a bad parent*

      Sorry for the typo x

  31. Nicky
    18 November, 2012 / 7:10 pm

    My top tip for new parents is to accept help and advice from family. With my first child i thought i should do it all myself, by baby number 4 i had learnt to accept help from my mum and my mother in law. Both of whom had invaluable advice and experience.

  32. Kristian
    19 November, 2012 / 11:33 am

    Make time for yourself and accept help – great advice given to me by my mum!

  33. Ruth Tesdale
    19 November, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    The best start you can give yourself and your baby is to relax during pregnancy and enjoy the experience as stress is bad for both of you

  34. Claire Heffer
    19 November, 2012 / 7:55 pm

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help, everyone needs it that first time!

  35. 20 November, 2012 / 12:12 am

    My tip would be sleep! Lots of it. Get as much rest when pregnant & once baby is here then sleep when he/she sleeps. Being rested is the best thing you do for both of you :)

  36. Lorraine
    20 November, 2012 / 12:57 pm

    My tip is to cook in batches and freeze it. Time is so precious and this makes it easier to have a half decent meal on the go.

  37. Jo
    20 November, 2012 / 2:29 pm

    The best thing someone told me was to remember that there are no books specifically written about my baby so don’t get hung up on what a book or a website says and whether or not your baby is doing/not doing it. All children are different and nobody ever gets everything right!

  38. stacey webb
    20 November, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    Coming from the mother of a badly colicy baby, I would say accept any help offered & don’t be to hard on yourself, I thought I was a terrible mother having this baby that just cried all the time & it was stressing me & my baby out, then I started to accept help & realise that I couldn’t do it all on my own. You have to have a sanity break at some point, for the good of you & your baby, as they do tend to tell when you are stressed & it then rubs off on them!

  39. Wendy
    20 November, 2012 / 5:08 pm

    Listen to the advice everyone gives you …… and then do exactly what you want!! If you listen to what others say, you can filter it and try things or ignore them as you please. What works for one doesn’t necessary work for the other and there are no guarantees with what works with a new baby – whatever works for you is best.

    20 November, 2012 / 8:39 pm

    Parenthood is a guilt trip from start to finish so just do your best and don’t worry. Go with your natural instincts when it comes to your babys care and you can’t go far wrong.

  41. 20 November, 2012 / 10:54 pm

    My top tip is to stick with your gut feelings. It’s ok to listen to advices and ask other mums for advices, but trust your instincts. You know your child better than anybody else and every baby is different and unique! :) x

  42. 20 November, 2012 / 11:10 pm

    Before the baby arrives, it’s a good idea if making meals like bolognaise, chilli con carne, curry, etc. to try and freeze some portions to make things easier initially.
    And once the baby arrives to do as others have suggested and follow your gut instincts. Somehow you find that you just instinctively know when they are at a certain stage, like weaning. Don’t feel pressured by other parents trying to compare. There always are some. And I still remember my health visitor saying that usually if one baby is quicker than other babies at doing something they may be slower at something else. It all balances out.
    Don’t worry what others think as long as you do what you believe in and do your best.

  43. 21 November, 2012 / 1:08 am

    Get as much done before baby arrives as possible, make sure your home is in perfect organisation, freezer full of healthy meals, because even at 4 months my baby has the house turned upside down and I just don’t have the time to sort things out as I want to…….I thought I’d be able to get things done when he had naps……..silly me!

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