How Dads Can Support New Mums
Becoming a parent is a shared journey, and while new mothers bear the physical changes and challenges of childbirth, fathers play a crucial role in providing support and love during the postpartum period. In this blog, we'll explore the importance of the partner's perspective in helping new mums, focusing on emotional support, childcare, and household tasks.
Emotional support is paramount during the postpartum period. New mums often experience a rollercoaster of emotions, from joy and love to anxiety and exhaustion. Partners can provide valuable emotional support in the following ways:
- Listen and Communicate: Open and empathetic communication is key. Partners should actively listen to the new mum's feelings and concerns without judgment. Encouraging her to express herself can help her feel heard and understood.
Offer Affection and Companionship: Simple gestures of affection, such as hugs, kisses, or a loving word, can go a long way in making a new mum feel cherished. Spending quality time together, even if it's just watching a movie or having a meal, can strengthen the emotional bond.
- Be Patient: Postpartum recovery takes time, and new mums might struggle with self-esteem issues or body changes. Partners should be patient and reassure them that they are loved and appreciated, just as they are.
Caring for a newborn is a demanding task, and sharing childcare responsibilities is essential for both partners. Here are ways dads can support new mums in this aspect:
- Night-time Feedings: Newborns wake up frequently during the night for feedings. Sharing night-time feedings can provide new mums with much-needed rest. While breastfeeding may be exclusively the mum's role, dads can assist by burping and changing the baby afterward.
Bonding Time: Dads can take an active role in bonding with the baby. This not only provides the new mum with a break but also strengthens the father-child relationship. Bath time, reading stories, and playtime are great opportunities for dads to bond with their newborns.
- Babywearing: Using a baby carrier or wrap allows dads to carry the baby while keeping their hands free for other tasks. It also provides comfort and closeness to the baby, which can be soothing.
New mums often struggle with the physical demands of postpartum recovery, and household tasks can quickly become overwhelming. Dads can lighten the load by taking on additional responsibilities:
- Cooking and Meal Preparation: Preparing meals or even taking care of grocery shopping can be a huge help. Nutritious meals are essential for a new mum's recovery, so having ready-made options can alleviate stress.
Cleaning and Tidying: Keeping the home environment clean and organised can create a more relaxed atmosphere. Dads can help with light cleaning tasks or hire a cleaning service to maintain a neat home.
- Running Errands: Dads can run errands such as picking up prescriptions, groceries, or baby supplies. This saves the new mum the trouble of leaving the house and allows her to focus on self-care and bonding with the baby.
Self-care is often neglected by new mothers who prioritise the baby's needs above their own. Partners can play a pivotal role in promoting self-care by:
- Offering Breaks: Encourage the new mum to take short breaks, even if it's just a 20-minute nap, a bath, or a walk. These moments of respite can help her recharge and reduce stress.
- Plan Date Nights: While it might be challenging to leave the baby for extended periods, scheduling regular date nights or at-home date activities can help the couple maintain their connection and provide a break from parental duties.
- Arrange Supportive Resources: Partners can also help new mums by arranging support systems, such as connecting with local parent groups, hiring a postpartum doula, or seeking professional help if needed.
Educate and Prepare
Being well-informed is crucial for both partners. Dads can take an active role in learning about postpartum recovery, newborn care, and infant development. This knowledge not only helps in making informed decisions but also boosts confidence in parenting.
Supporting a new mum during the postpartum period is a vital role for fathers and partners. Emotional support shared childcare responsibilities, and assistance with household tasks are all ways to lighten the new mum's load. Encouraging self-care and staying informed about postpartum and baby care are also crucial. By actively participating in the postpartum journey, partners can help new mums feel loved, appreciated, and well-supported during this significant and transformative time in their lives. The partner's perspective is an invaluable asset in the beautiful but challenging journey of parenthood.