You’re a dad now, congratulations!
Many fresh dads feel a bit left out during the 4th trimester of the pregnancy (aka the time after you bring the baby home). Your partner is in pain and feels uncomfortable (it takes a while for the body to heal after birth) and she is tired most of the time. In addition, the baby doesn’t really seem to bond with you and this can be soul-crushing.
But we promise – it gets better!
You just have to be patient and provide all the love and care you can muster to your most precious beings in the world (momma and baby).
Here’s what you can do to feel involved and helpful:
Help Her Recover
Both C-section and vaginal birth take a huge toll on a woman’s body. And it’s not just about being tired. She may need help going to the bathroom, taking a shower, or doing any other things that most of us take for granted.
Moreover, women who go through a C-section will need support when lifting the baby up for breastfeeding.
The time after birth should allow room for healing (both physical and emotional) and both her and the baby need your support and patience. For this, it’s important to be present, so the best way to help is to take paternity leave (if it’s available). If this is impossible, help her when you are at home by taking care of the night feedings (if she doesn’t breastfeed) or making breakfast and allowing her to sleep an extra 30 minutes in the morning.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and buy a ton of things for the baby, but make sure to include momma on your shopping list as well. For example, consider a pregnancy pamper kit that is safe for both her and the baby.
It may take a bit of research, but it will mean the world to her to see you are paying attention and caring for her needs.
Help Her with the Breastfeeding
It may sound like breastfeeding is an exclusive mom-baby experience, but it helps to get the dad involved as well. Keep in mind that your partner is tired and she still has to deal with a lot of post-birth stuff, so it helps to have another adult around.
This doesn’t mean you have to supervise your partner during breastfeeding. But it helps to offer gentle advice when things don’t go smoothly (it happens). Pay attention to what your lactation consultant teaches you and do your own research online. The information is helpful for both of you as it will help make your baby happier during feeding.
Your partner needs time, space, love, and care so it’s important to do your part in being a parent. It will be difficult at first, but as you get used to it and start bonding with the baby, you’ll start to understand just how rewarding this is. Also, once the recovery period is over, you’ll already have lots of bonus points scored with your partner and she will be happy to show her deep gratitude!