It takes two to tango and we couldn’t have done it without our male counterparts.
Sure, childbirth can seem to be mostly about the mother and child, but the father is there on the sidelines — literally from inception — being the biggest cheerleader.
With gender roles changing and more and more families evening up the responsibilities between work and family, never before have fathers been so hands on. For this new role as “dad” there is much to learn, so in honor of our baby daddies we’ve made a New Father’s Guide to everything you’ll need to know after bringing your little one home...
Practice patience --
After giving birth, women’s hormones are shifting greatly which can cause strong emotions and mood swings. By being understanding, encouraging, and listening to what she needs you’ll better be able to serve as the rock she longs to lean on.
Baby proof the home --
The two of you have probably spent the last few months making sure the home is baby ready, but there are always those undeniable last minute loose ends to tie up. Whether it’s a quick touch up, a paint job, or going through (again) and rounding out all the sharp corners in the house, this will be a huge relief for the mother coming home from the hospital.
Help, help, and then help again --
Constantly ask how you can lend a hand. Learn how to change diapers, swaddle, and bathe the baby. Learn how to prepare a bottle, how to store breast milk, and volunteer to wake up in the middle of the night for feedings to let her sleep. (Babies wake up hungry about every 2-3 hours.) Take walks with the baby, learn their cues, connect through skin-to-skin contact, talk to him or her, and spend one-on-one time as a father and his child have an undeniable connection.
Take on cooking duty --
Research post-pregnancy diets and the right kind of food for a woman to eat while she recovers. Foods ideal for postnatal recovery include leafy green vegetables, Swiss chard, avocado, fish, sweet potato, whole grain cereal, oatmeal, eggs, and fruit. Breakfast in bed and home cooked lunches and dinners (sans grocery store runs) will allow for the new mother to concentrate on herself and the little one.
Don’t put too much pressure on each other --
This period is the start of a new chapter in all of your lives, so you must realize that life isn’t going to be exactly the same. There will be much trial and error while you navigate the changes as a family, but the most important thing is to be flexible, listen to each other, and work together.
Tell her she’s beautiful --
Her body has been through so much during this time and has created a human being that will forever be a part of your lives. Maybe she’s going to bounce back to her pre-pregnancy body right away, or maybe it’s going to take some time, but either way, be there to praise it, honoring what it’s done every step of the way. Everyday tell her she’s beautiful, amazing, and sexy -- and make her believe it, because she is.