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Living with your family
Living at home with a supportive family when you have a baby can help you to get off to a good start. Being at home may mean there is somebody there for advice and support. If you are lucky, there may be somebody who will baby-sit from time to time!! It would also allow you time to learn the skills required to care for your baby without the responsibilities of managing a household on your own.
Your family may have to make a few adjustments in order to make space and time within the household for the new baby. It is important to keep this in mind and not take them for granted. Below are some points to remember if you decide to live at home with your baby.
Learn to Pay your Way.
Household expenses increase when there is a new baby in the house especially in the winter time when the house needs to be warm all the time for the new baby. There is also a greater demand on things like the washing machine and dryer if you have them. Whether you are working or receiving a Social Welfare payment it is reasonable for your family to expect you to contribute something to the household. This contribution helps with the day to day expenses and prepares you for a time you will have to be paying bills of your own.
Respect the rules of the house.It is important while you are living with your family that you respect the rules of the house. Even though you are now a parent yourself and may feel very mature, your parents still need to have some ground rules so that all the family can function well. Ideally, these rules need to be agreed by both you and your parents for them to work well. If there are younger children in the family they may look to you as a role model so its important to show you respect your parents. If you are under 18, your parents are still responsible for you and have a right to make some decisions for you. Compromises may be struck in difficult situations but the secret to all of it is ........... keep talking to each other.
Childcare issues when living in the family home.
If a family member (mum, dad, aunt, sister etc )has offered to care for your baby while you go back to work or school it can really take the pressure off, as finding suitable childcare is difficult. It means you do not have to get the baby out in the early morning and he/she is in familiar surroundings. All the baby equipment and food is to hand so the process is less stressful for you.
- Caring for a baby is a tough and tiring job. It is important that you do not take advantage of this family arrangement by returning back from work or school on time to relieve them.
- If payment is given to your family member, make sure that you have it for them when they are expecting (every week, month).
- If extra hours are needed, be sure to agree it with them beforehand and pay them if required.
- Be clear on whose responsibility it is to get things ready each day for the baby such as food, clean clothes and so on.
You and the family member who is minding your child, need to be very up front and clear about the day to day baby-care routines to avoid confusion or arguement. These would include……
- Use of soothers
- Sweets and treats
- Sleep routines
- Toilet training
- Dealing with misbehavior.
Two mums in one house!If you are lucky enough to have your mum around she can be a great mentor/teacher for you as you learn to care for your baby. You might however have different ideas on how you would like to bring up or care for your child e.g. you might have learned that it is best to put baby to sleep on his/her back and your mum might think otherwise, you might want to bottle feed and your mum might prefer breastfeeding. Small problems become big problems if they are not managed properly.
Keep yourself and your mum, or other family member, updated on changes in healthcare practices or parenting by bringing home literature available at your health clinic or by talking to your GP, public heath nurse or TPSP staff. Maybe you can talk about these and decide together how you want to do certain things.
Keep talking and try to stay calm.