New dads are seemingly left in the dark when it comes to new babies and postpartum moms. Here's a quick primer.
- Remember that babies aren't really breakable. Don't be afraid to hold yours! Ask someone who is around to show you some great holds for little ones whether it be a midwife, doctor, nurse, doula, mom, relative, friend, etc.
- If you are feeling left out talk to your partner about it. Chances are it's not on purpose.
- New moms often have emotional ups and downs that are not predictable. Be supportive and offer an ear when possible. Learn the warning signs of postpartum depression and seek help if the situation is heading out of control.
- Support her with breastfeeding. Tell her that you're proud of her and protect her from well meaning but negative comments about breastfeeding. Take a breastfeeding class during the prenatal period if possible.
Help with the other children or household. Remind mom to let the house go and to focus on her recovery and the new baby.
- New dads can also experience the blues or postpartum depression. Much in your life has changed and its important to realize this and get help if you need it as well.
- Remember that the only thing you can't do is breastfeed. You can change diapers, soothe a crying baby, carry the baby, play with the baby, anything the baby needs done.
If you need help ask for it. Know who to call in your area for help and support whether it be a doctor or midwife, a postpartum doula, lactation consultant, or the local babysitter.
- Mom is going to need extra sleep and care while her body recovers. Get up with the baby when you can. Bring the baby to her in the middle of the night if possible. If you must go back to work check in with her during the day. Perhaps surprise her with some healthy take out food or fresh flowers.
- Remember that adding a new baby to the mix is always going to stir your life up a bit, even if it's not your first baby. Learning to live with another human being takes time. Give yourself a break if you need it as well.