The arrival of your long awaited bundle of joy is an incredible experience unlike anything else. However, the transition can be difficult on new parents as they try to find balance in their new roles and responsibilities.
It’s a normal struggle to feel the frustration of unfairness on both sides. Moms may feel that there is too much pressure on them, whereas their partner feel out of place and helpless. A harsh combination of resentment and guilt can build up and create a toxic atmosphere threatening to poison this precious season with your new baby.
Here are 12 Practical Things PARTNERS can do to Help
- Keep mom hydrated
- Either by keeping bottled water stocked & set up, or continually filling her water bottles you can help mama stay hydrated. This is especially important if she is breastfeeding. The #1 way to help keep milk supply up is drinking lots of water! Regardless, if she’s nursing or not (fed is best!)- her mind is so occupied taking care of the baby’s needs that she will often forget about her own most basic ones. It’s a simple but incredibly important way to serve her.
- Meal Prep/ Cook
- One of the biggest struggles for a new mom is eating. The baby nurses so often that there is not much time to cook or eat meals. Helping mama by having ready made meals in the fridge or freezer is so helpful! My husband would make me smoothies for breakfast, and it was one of the kindest most helpful things. Tip: Try to avoid dairy as much as possible if nursing! Many newborns are very sensitive to dairy & caffeine.
- Take care of Appointments
- Nobody talks about how many appointments need to be made right after a baby is born! Appointments for the birth certificate, postpartum check ups, pediatrician visits- dealing with dates & times while being incredibly sleep deprived is not fun! Sitting next to mama and setting up the appointments for her, while also inputting reminders in her phone/ calendar is a HUGE blessing.
- Do Baby Research
- Ask mama if there is anything that you can research for her about the baby or herself. I had NO IDEA what to do as a parent, and the anxiety to research everything and sift through incredible amounts of information was so draining. When I began to delegate some research to my husband it took so much weight off mentally AND it also helped HIM feel much more involved in parenting our child. Through research we learned things together like when to add Vitamin D supplements for our baby, different sleep training options, what activities to do to help baby’s development-etc. It turned a very anxious task into a really fun way to discover more about our wonderful baby as a team.
- COMPLIMENT HER
- A mother’s body goes through so much change, and women are notorious for not noticing the beautiful queens that they are. Postpartum is an especially difficult time for her because she’s too small for maternity clothes but too big for her regular wardrobe. Swollen, bloated, stretched, deflated, aching, healing, recovering, tired, in pain- there is a big physical toll, it’s not just vanity. Leave notes on her mirror that say “She’s Beautiful”. Look into her eyes and let her know how much you appreciate all her sacrifice. Tell her out loud that you are amazed by what she has done, and that she is strong and powerful. Tell her everyday how much you love her.
- Leave Little Gifts
- What are her favorite snacks? Her favorite flowers? Favorite Take Out? If you set aside $20 every month while she is pregnant, this can be a little “Spoil Mama” budget for you to leave little surprises that can make all the difference on those extra hard days. It doesn’t have to be every day- even just once a week leaving her favorite candy next to the changing table with a note that says “You are amazing, thank you for taking care of our baby” will mean the world and remind her that you are thinking of her. If you REALLY want to get fancy, bring her family & friends in and gather little gifts with notes to leave for her throughout those first 3 months.
- Physical Tasks
- Have dogs? Try to either walk them yourself when you can or hire a dog walker for the 6 weeks. Moms after birth or surgery have to take it easy, so the more physical tasks you can take care of, the better! Taking out the trash, bringing in groceries, carrying the laundry– this is your time to shine Hercules!
- Give her a MASSAGE
- The baby may only weigh 7lbs, but trust me- after a couple hours it feels more like 70lbs. A shoulder, back & foot massage is ALWAYS welcome. Tip: Use all natural coconut oil instead of scented massage oil- the smell could upset the baby.
- Don’t ADD to her plate
- Try to schedule as little as possible during those first 3 months, double check with her on any plans and be flexible in case you need to miss or reschedule. Her well being and the baby’s needs come first. Seeing family, attending events, trips, conferences, volunteering– if she’s not up for it, don’t push it. Go at HER speed and be patient. This is a special season that doesn’t need any additional seasoning.
- Take her picture
- There are so many pictures of the baby, but not many of mama. Be sure to document this incredibly beautiful and selfless woman. If you see a moment that makes you smile, just take a second to capture it so it can keep you both smiling for years to come.
- Help Keep the House Clean
- Why are the dishes piling up? Why is the toilet dirty? What is this spill on the counter and why hasn’t it been cleaned? Who left these candy wrappers on the couch? Your home may look like a raccoon moved in. Have grace- this is a season where mama is figuring the baby out, and it is the most important thing she can do. It’s understandable to not want to live with a racoon, but expect to help pick up around the house during this time, and try not to make comments. Maybe consider hiring help the first month or two if the mess is overwhelming- it’s understandable to budget paying for help if it means maintaining peace during a priceless time.
- Just ASK
- Simply by asking her “How can I help you” shows that you are involved and supportive. If you struggle with forgetting, keep a note at your desk or by your bed with “Just Ask” written to help you remember.
I hope these tips are helpful for you and your partner to give grace and support one another during this unique and vulnerable time. Just remember this is just a temporary season! Baby’s needs change so quickly with time, they will get more and more independent and so will you. You will both find your new rhythm as a team to the beat of your baby’s heart, and so begins a new dance.
Which task would mean the most to you as a new mom? What does your partner do for you that is helpful? Share below!