Every baby comes with plenty of joys and several challenges. And while women seem to be born like superheroes, they are still human. They get tired, anxious, emotional, stressed—the whole works.
Fortunately, you are there to help ease the transition of becoming a new mom and make it a more pleasurable experience for your family.
Here are three things you can do:
1. Learn as Much as You Can about Breastfeeding
Just because she does, it does not mean you can no longer participate. It can be an intimate and memorable moment for you both.
As a partner, your job is to learn the different breastfeeding tips for new moms. What’s the ideal head position for the baby, or which side should the infant be on if they’re breastfeeding on the bed?
What does a new mom need when breastfeeding? She would likely want to have a breastfeeding pillow, nipple creams, and cold compresses on days when her breasts are sore. She might also desire a breast pump and bags, so she can store excess golden milk.
You can read books, check out YouTube videos, or even join the breastfeeding class (although you might want to schedule a private session for this one as other moms may feel uncomfortable having you around).
2. Take Up the Tasks She Cannot Do
A new baby means more sleepless nights, like, a lot! Studies show that moms and dads are likely to spend less than 5 hours sleeping during the child’s first year. That is over 50 percent less than the recommended amount of time.
However, new moms may sleep even less because of new chores like breastfeeding. Newborns often feed between 8 and 12 times each day during the first 30 days. That means they may eat every two hours!
The breastfeeding interval may widen as the baby grows old. By the time they reach 2 months old, they may eat only 7 to 9 times within 24 hours. Night feeds can drop to between 1 and 3 once they are already 4 months old.
Nevertheless, the first few weeks can be extremely exhausting for new mothers who have yet to recover from the delivery. Let’s not forget that breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, sapping her energy every day.
Dads can help by taking on other responsibilities in the house and even for the baby. These may include cleaning the house, preparing the partner’s supplies before breastfeeding, looking after the other kids while the new mom is adjusting, prepping and cooking the family’s meals, walking the dog, etc.
3. Be There for Each Other
Baby blues, which are a mild form of depression, can affect about half of new mothers. Meanwhile, around 10 to 20 percent may eventually develop postpartum depression.
Many factors can increase the risk of the condition. One of them is low social support, according to the CDC. However, you can be prone to depression as well. In fact, the health agency revealed that at least 5 percent of fathers might feel depressed during the child’s first year.
Being new parents is definitely not easy. You have a long list of worries and to-dos. Women will have to deal with physiological changes such as hormone fluctuations that may further impact their mood and emotions.
But having a newborn is one of the best times to expand that line of communication and extend patience. Your partner may be less attentive to your needs or may even forget special occasions. You may find her more prone to irritation due to lack of sleep, hormones, and stress.
Ask her what she needs and how you can help. On the other hand, share your thoughts with her. Tell her what brings you joy at the moment and what scares you the most. More likely, she too has the same fears.
When symptoms of depression worsen, encourage her to seek professional help. The same goes for you too. When necessary, request reinforcements. Reach out to family members and friends you can trust and are willing to help your family out.
Being a new parent is one of the life-changing events in your life, but it can also challenge you in ways you can never imagine. This is especially true for women who have to take on the role as soon as the baby is born, even if she too has to take care of herself.
While you may not be able some of her tasks, like breastfeeding, you can still help and support her (and even each other) in many ways.