It’s been my experience that new Dads (bless their hearts) really can’t bring much to the table when it comes to dealing with a newborn. It’s just the way it goes. During this crazy 4th trimester (as some call it) new baby kinda-sorta craves Mommy and all that Mommy can provide.
That said, it’s not the Dad’s fault.
However, I’ve created a small list of bullet items that Dads may want to consider during the first few weeks of life.
Note: In no way, shape or form would I ever say that my husband, father to my two sweeties, isn’t helpful. In fact, he’s exceptional. He’s pretty hands-on and great. And I’ve said it time and again, I wish you all could have your very own Craig.
Moving on now that that is out of the way:
New Dad Primer
The first days
1. Get her stuff.
When your baby mama is sitting down to nurse for the ga-jillionth time that day, collect all of the necessary accouterments and bring them to her and place them within arm’s reach. It just helps. They are, but not limited to:
- Something to drink
- Burp cloths
- Various technological pieces: cell phone, iPad, kindle, remote control
*Learn the name of the various baby items so that when your wife asks for the boppy, you know what it is.
2. Always ask.
Always ask if there’s anything you can do. You cannot ask this too much. It’s music to a new mom’s ears. “Can I get you anything?” “Do you need any help?” “Can I buy make you an appointment to get a massage and a pedicure?”
3. Take initiative.
Make dinner. (Or order it.) Vacuum. Offer your nursing wife a pillow under her arm. Anticipate your baby mama’s every whim. Ok, well… you know what I mean. But seriously, if you see that there’s no milk, go buy milk. If you see that the jar of nutella is getting low, go buy two more nutellas. Stat.
4. Participate in night duty.
Nights are rough on everyone: the baby, the mom and the Daddy, it’s true. However, since the nighttime usually includes nighttime nursing, bouncing, and skin-to-skin mommy/baby contact which requires Baby Mama to sleep sitting up… it would be nice if Daddies would participate by doing the following:
- Fetching the baby from wherever it is currently sleeping (bouncy seat (gasp!), swing (gasp!) so that Baby Mama doesn’t have to get in and out of bed a million times while healing.
- Changing the baby’s diaper
- Getting up to put the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth
- Holding the baby so that upright-sleeping Mommy can actually lie down horizontally and without a newborn on her.
5. Encourage. A lot.
It’s kind of hard to be postpartum for many reasons; your body’s out-of-control, your life has been turned upside down and well, it’s just quite a shock to the system to one night have a baby in your abdomen and the next night have a baby stuck to your up-top like white on rice. So Dads? Encourage your Baby Mamas.
- “You’re doing a great job.”
- “You’re incredible.”
- “You are the most amazing person I have ever met in all of my life.”
- “You look great. I mean really great.”
- (I could go on and on.)
But seriously, new Dads might not be able to be hands-on per se, but they can definitely still be uber-supportive.
So, gentlemen: hop to it.