A good majority of men are typically clueless on what next to do after the arrival of their first child. It is also during this time that the realities of his newly acquired status as a father or dad begin to sink in slowly, and it can take a toll on some of us. Recent research shows that over 40% reported mild to severe breaks of postpartum depression after their birth of their first child. But gentlemen, if you’re reading this, now is the time you stand on your two feet and be as supportive as possible to the new mother to your child. Here’s how new dads can lend a helping hand to the newest mom in town.
1. Help Meet her Physical Needs
Being a new mom means being ever exhausted as nothing is as taxing and physically draining as babysitting a newborn child. If anything, lending a hand in the kitchen can go a long way in making her day. Pop in the kitchen every once in a while and make her a sumptuous breakfast before heading to work. Take turns preparing dinner as often as you can; you will be surprised how welcome this will be. What’s more, make sure that she is consuming at least three wholesome and balanced meals per day to keep the production of break milk at the most optimum levels. Protein keeps her comfortably full while veggies, nuts, leafy greens, seeds and healthy fats are essential for revitalizing the body. Get rid of processed foods from her diet and instead substitute it with a nutritious/natural alternative.
2. Be there for her Emotionally
Women, as you may already know, are quite emotional beings. Unlike men, women feel things at a deeper level, and the experience of childbirth will most likely rattle her to the very core of womanhood. As a man, understand that your job is not to ‘fix’ her or ‘console’ when she breaks down while recounting her experience in the labor ward. You may want to provide a loving and shoulder to lean on whenever this occurs – and it is bound to happen a lot especially in the first six months. And most of the time she will only need your precious time and an attentive ear. However, should you suspect that she might have sustained severe emotional trauma, let her talk to a professional birth de-briefer or a seasoned counselor before it escalates to something serious.
3. Help with the Baby
One of the most helpful things you can do for the new mom is help with babysitting, feeding, changing diapers, and, generally, taking care of the newest member of the family. So every once in a while take the kid out for a brisk stroll so that she can unwind, sleep or shower. Ensure that you always feed the baby (it can be baby formula or expressed breast milk) at night or dawn – on her behalf – whenever she is feeling exhausted or physically unwell. You could also take the bubbly bub for a long cuddle if she starts crying while mama is upset, flustered or worked up. While at it, make sure you familiarize yourself on how to change nappies/diapers and to bathe your newborn child.
4. Help Around the House
Hire a helping hand/cleaner (if you can afford to) or volunteer to stay at home and help during the first few weeks after childbirth to lighten her load of nursing a newborn child. If you choose to stay at home to help – instead of hiring a doula – always see to it that the main areas where new mom hangs out with the baby are always clean and well disinfected (think of it as her workspace). From experience, it can be pretty tough and stressful for a mom if her ‘nest’ is always messy while she is always occupied with nursing the baby. Also, take the initiative to make sure that her visiting friends or relatives do not overstay their welcome or show up during inconvenient times.
The first few weeks after childbirth are without a doubt some of the most stressful and exacting moments for a new mom. Lending her as much physical, emotional, and financial support as you can during these trying times is very crucial to keeping your union intact.