Not only did your partner just finish carrying the baby in her belly for 9 months, if she chooses to breastfeed, she’ll be spending hours each day and night feeding. It can be easy to feel left out or uncomfortable with a new baby; there are a lot of adjustments to make! But don’t worry, you aren’t expected to know everything or be perfect. To help smooth over the transition to fatherhood a little better, here are some tips for first time dads and a few ideas for how to help your partner.
1. Get involved in morning and night routines
Life will be a little bit calmer once you establish a routine especially for mornings and nights. There is a lot to get done between showering, changing the diapers, meals for you and the baby, and getting ready for work or school, and so much more. You can help with all of those things! Make parenting a 50/50 job. You’ll feel more involved, get to know your baby, and your partner will feel like she actually has time to shower in the morning. Another way to get involved is to plan some cuddle time with just you and the baby. Your partner will be grateful to have a minute to finish a few to-dos on her list or take a minute to relax. If all else fails pick up a broom, wipe down the toilet, sanitize the kitchen counters or throw something together for dinner.
2. Help with breastfeeding
Don’t feel useless during breastfeeding! You can make it a much more enjoyable experience for your partner. She won’t be in a position to get up and get everything she may want once she gets started, so offer to grab her the pillow she wants that is across the room or a glass of water. Practice burping your baby; you could make that your duty. You can also offer to bring the baby to your partner for night feedings, she’ll love you forever. If you really want to go the extra mile, try to help her relax during with some gentle music or a shoulder massage.
3. Do some research
If you haven’t spent time reading up on child development, now is the time to start. There are wonderful sources online, but there is also some skewed information out there (just be wise). Your doctor is an informative and trustworthy sources as well. Learn the signs of Postpartum Depression and ways to support your partner if she is struggling. Take her on a date when possible. Apart from all the research, find something that you love to do with your baby that is unique to you.
Most importantly, be patient with yourself. Your partner and your baby love you and they need you. It will take time for life with a baby to become normal. Learn to laugh at your mistakes; you are doing great! For more information see the links below.
The Bump: 6 Moments You Ned to Let Dad Have with Baby
Healthy Children: Dad’s Role in Breastfeeding
Cynical Parent: First Time Dad Tips