You have just witnessed your partner bring your new baby into this world and you are so overwhelmed with joy. You and your partner have lots of support in the hospital, but once you get home your roles quickly change. As the non-birthing parent you may feel lost as to what you can do to help your partner in the first weeks home as she is healing and adjusting to the 4th trimester.
How Can Dad Help The First Weeks Home?
According to the source Pregnancy Birth & Baby they say, “While she is breastfeeding, you can help her by bringing her a drink or a pillow, looking after siblings, pets or visitors, and settling your baby after the feed”. As the non-birthing partner, you can see that your support is needed even for the smallest things and your other half will appreciate you being involved and offering the help! Here are some ways you can help Mom during the first few weeks home.
- Help Mom get set up for breastfeeding or bottle feeding by getting all supplies set up and ready.
- Ask her if you can wash her pump parts if she has any, along with babies bottles.
- Offer to rub her back or feet as her body is adjusting and create an intimate moment between you two.
- Suggest a time that you will watch the baby. This allows Mom to shower or do what she needs to do to re-set and take care of herself.
- Take charge of doing some of the laundry. Take the dog for a walk or siblings to the park so Mom can have alone time. This also offers one on one time with your first born.
- Educate yourself on what postpartum blues and postpartum depression is. This way you can identify signs and symptoms in your partner to seek appropriate medical help.
Communication is key in understanding what your wife needs during the first few weeks home. Working as a team is essential during the 4th trimester not only for your wife but for your relationship and your new baby as well!
Ways Dad Can Be Involved With Care For Baby
There are many different things that dads can do to help both Mom and baby in the first weeks home. You are an important piece of this new puzzle and your help and involvement goes a long way!
- My favorite suggestion is SKIN TO SKIN!! You have a different smell than mom, but that’s okay. Your baby will love getting to know your smell, as well as enjoy your warmth and extra snuggles! Bonus points if you have chest hair to allow your baby to explore this new sensory feeling.
- Change diapers in the middle of a feeding to allow mom to get set up to feed on the other breast.
- If your baby is bottle feeding offer to feed the baby.
- Get up early with baby so Mom can sleep in for some extra rest. This gives you time to bond with your baby.
- Plan a time everyday where you can be alone with baby. Read a book, do tummy time, give a bath or put baby down for a nap.
All of these ways to help in the first weeks home are vital to create a special bond with your baby while also supporting your partner. I want to add that it is equally as important to take care of yourself as your role in the house has also changed. Seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, uncertain about things or if you simply just need to talk to someone as an outside resource. Check out The Mayo Clinic website, as it offers some great suggestions for ways you can help to manage your own stress in order to be the best partner you can be!
About The Author
Kaitlin’s years of experience on the postpartum/antepartum floor at a local Boston hospital helped solidify her passion for partnering with families welcoming their newborn home and transitioning to the fourth trimester. Her first day there she knew she found her purpose. Kait’s nurturing, calm, and caring demeanor puts families at ease. She loves the opportunity to provide more impactful support in the home where she can help new families establish a healthy sleep foundation. Kaitlin’s first bachelor’s degree is from Southern New Hampshire University in psychology with a concentration in mental health as she later went on to pursue her Nursing Degree and in the fall of 2021, Kaitlin passed her nursing boards!