How to Cope with a Newborn if You're at University

young mum graduating holding her baby

Dealing with parenthood is challenging enough at the best of times, but if you discover you are pregnant during university, it can be an extra hurdle.

I fell pregnant with my eldest in my third year of a four-year course and actually returned for my final year only a couple of weeks after giving birth, so I have experienced the highs and lows of having a baby as a student.

These are some of the ways that I coped with having a child at university: 

Inform the University 

The first thing to do is contact your lecturer and discuss the logistics of having a newborn whilst studying.

Not only will it help your lecturers to know the situation  (bear this in mind when it comes to any absence or missed deadlines), but the university will also be able to inform you of any additional benefits you might be entitled to and fill in any additional paperwork that may be required as a student parent. 

Don’t be Ashamed to Ask for Assistance

I was very fortunate to be at a university in my hometown, which meant that I was able to have help from my nan, who looked after my son while I was in lectures. She even brought him down to the campus for me to breastfeed between classes; it was invaluable.

However, if you don’t have family nearby, don’t be ashamed to ask for help from your friends. It can make all the difference having a support network in place when you are a new parent coping with all the challenges you'll face, especially whilst also juggling a degree. 

Enquire About Childcare 

If you don’t have any family close by who can take care of them while you're studying, childcare may be available on campus for parents. Many universities offer this at a discounted rate, or you may be able to apply for help for these costs from the government.

Having on-site childcare is really convenient, allowing you to easily see your baby throughout the day whilst continuing your studies. 

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Ask for Extensions 

Don’t be ashamed if you need extensions on deadlines. Parenting a newborn is tough, and studying for a degree is tough.

Don’t pressurise yourself more than you need to. The university and your lecturers will understand if you need a little time to complete your work. Don’t suffer in silence and let things pile up. 

Embrace the Different Lifestyle 

It’s unavoidable that student life will be a little different as a parent. Gone are the days where you’d head out for a bar crawl until the early hours, but there’s still plenty you can do to experience university life.

If you are away from home, discover the town or city you’re based in with your baby in tow, enjoy getting to know your fellow students over local cuisine and spend evenings in with your new friends. 

Be Proud of Yourself 

Above all, be proud of your achievements.

Being a student parent is really challenging but so rewarding and a fantastic way to show your child what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. Whether you graduate along with the rest of your class or defer, you are incredible for studying as a parent. 

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