How Daddies can help with this important time
For the first few weeks, your baby needs to get used to the hard job of feeding, sleeping and filling nappies; your role as daddy is to be their hero. Here’s your mission, should you chose to accept it…
Your partner has just gone through labour and birth and you have a tiny baby. You would do well to feel in awe of this amazing woman who has just pushed a small person out of her nether regions but her work is not yet done. She’ll be exhausted and emotional and needs your support. It’s time for you to get involved with helping your partner and new child, to feel truly included in your new family unit. Here’s what to do…
For the first few days, a new Mummy should do nothing but feed and care for her baby – so help make that happen. Fend of unwanted advice on babies getting ‘spoiled’ if they are held too much, or people suggesting you try a ‘top-up feed’ if the baby is grizzly and just allow the two most important people in your life to start the business of getting to know each other. They should be together, skin-to-skin, feeding and resting, as often as they need to be.
Bring stuff to her
When a baby needs feeding, their Mummy will often just instinctively pick them up and settle down and in the early days, this takes time. Then, she’ll soon realise that she’s hungry or thirsty, or a magazine or TV remote is completely out of reach. Offer assistance with snacks and keep her hydrated with water and Weleda Nursing Tea to produce that amazing milk. Try to anticipate what she needs.
Which brings us to… cutting up her food
Mothers have to eat one-handed while holding a suckling baby. Cut up her food for her or bring her a spoon!
You can’t breastfeed – but you can get educated! When a baby is grizzly and Mummy exhausted, they may get disheartened and think they are ‘doing it wrong.’ The more you know about feeding a new baby, winding, the letdown reflex, the importance of good nipple cream, the easier it is to support. Keep the number of a breastfeeding counsellor on speed dial in your phone.
After a long feed, you can step in. Wind them, change their nappy and settle them into their crib while your partner relaxes. Take on baby chores – washing and sorting clothes, housework and the bedtime routine.
Be a shoulder to cry on
Motherhood is an emotional rollercoaster, so don’t panic if your partner is elated one minute, then sobbing or shouting at you. The hormones surges are unbelievable and tiredness can exacerbate this. Be as calm and patient as you can and realise that this phase will pass. If, however, you suspect that your partner is not coping well mentally, is depressed or anxious, talk to her about seeking medical help and keep a close eye on her.
Be a mechanic
Learn how to use the breastpump, how to put it together and take it apart for sterilising. While you’re at it, learn how to use the steriliser too, ensuring all baby’s feeding gear is super clean.
Be the gatekeeper
Everyone will want to come and see the baby but this can feel overwhelming. Let others know if you need peace and suggest times to visit that are suitable. If they are coming over, ask them to bring some groceries, or a meal with them.
Tell her, frequently, what an amazing job she’s doing!