Tips for encouraging daddy to help out after birth
Some daddies are old pros and know just how to jump in and help out after a new baby arrives, making dinner, changing diapers, and pinch-hitting for mom when she's exhausted. But some new daddies are a little clueless and don't know quite how they fit in to the whole picture. What are some tips you can give moms to encourage new daddies to help out with their new little one?
After my first was born, my husband and I had a lot of problems. We'd get in each other's way, argue about who was doing what, and it was just not how I wanted things to be after my second birth. So we spent a lot of time figuring out what I'd need help with. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with the baby, so I needed my husband to take care of ME.
I had a bag filled with nursing stuff (a book, snacks, a bottle of water, nursing pads, burp cloth), so he could just grab it if I forgot it, instead of having to play fetch.
Church friends brought us dinner for two weeks, so all he had to do was reheat dinner and push a plate of food in my face. He also made sure I was drinking plenty of water, and taking my vitamins, and the million and one supplements I was taking to help with my milk.
Every night before bed, he'd entertain the kids for a half hour so I could take a shower, or spend some time on the computer. He got bonding time, and I got me time. Getting just a little bit of time everyday to myself had an unexpected bonus for him too--once the kids were in bed, I was in a good enough mood to spend an hour or so with him. We'd talk, trade massages, watch a TV show, and just enjoy each other's company.
If thing were really chaotic, I offered him a choice. He could make dinner, or play with the kids. Either way it's a win, but he usually opted for the "easy" job of spending time with the kids, so I got to squeeze in a little alone time there, too.
The most important thing I've learned is to let him spend time with baby in his own way. He may change the diaper differently than I do, but he still gets it on there, and that's all that matters. Being critical makes him want to help less.
My hubby and I had our first together 10 months ago and he didn't know what to do. He wanted to help but really didn't know how. So here are some ideas that worked for us to make home more enjoyable for everyone.
Before I actually had our son, we cooked up simple things like spaghetti and chili and soup and stuff and just put it into freezer safe containers in proportioned sizes. This helped an awful lot when we got home because in all reality having a baby is hard on a guy too (even if we don't like to admit it). He just threw the portions into the microwave and presto meal done.
B'cuz I was nursing there wasn't much else he could help me with but I have to say, he was amazing with bringing me towels, receiving blankets, diapers wipes .. youu name it, he brought it.
He also got me walking, after giving birth it is important to get walking, it is like having a major surgery, youu could throw some clots. While I didn't want to walk, and my man helped me get walking a lot more then I wanted to. But he was considerate of how I was feeling with pain and everything.
The biggest thing a Daddy can do for Mommy?? Tell her she is more beautiful today then she was the day youu met her. Keep her self esteem up .. its not an easy job but it is one that needs to be done. Baby Blues are something that could be worse.
And Good luck with your new family :D
My daughter is almost 2.5. With her it was a learning experience for both of us. As my daughter would never nurse (I pumped for her instead) my hubby would usually change her diaper while I got the pump ready or the bottle (usually to save warming I would pump then feed when possible). At times he helped with simple chores (I had a c-section so I was not allowed to do things like vaccum) and would help make sure dinner was out for the next day and either I would pop something in the oven or he would as soon as he got home. We are currently trying for our 2nd and this time around we have discussed the need for him to help out a bit more so we both get some time with each child and some time as a family (plus I run an in home daycare so it will be busy). I am going to get some freezer meals done up, he will need to help clean up the house in the evening and he always does bath (then I do pjs).
My biggest tips:
- Don't do nothing ---when mom is ragged don't sit down with a book...as much as she doesn't say it, she will want to mame you!
-Don't whine about how hard your day was (especially after she kept the baby so you could sleep) and that you had nothing to do at lunch...she was lucky to have eaten lunch!
-Do as much prep work with or for her the night before (like prep for dinner, for her lunch, help with some laundry, etc...)
-Try to handle things for the 20 minutes so she can take a shower. Even if baby screamed the whole time, don't tell her that. Yes, you will have to fake being cool as a cucumber, but it will make her feel better!
- Do something sweet your first week or two back to work so she knows you appreciate her. Even though she is likely a mess, the house is a disaster, etc... she is grasping the ropes of a new life to care for! A boquet of flowers, a nice card, even order takeout from her fav place and bring it home (hell even her favourite cofee).
-Ask what you can do and be sincere. Pay attention to what she does today and try to once in a while be a step ahead (just so she doesn't have to ask!).
-Lastly, when she is so tired in the evening, suggest her favourite movie and maybe a snuggle on the couch or a foot rub. Something romantic but no strings attached, keep the work on the couple just so its not missed!
My kids are a bit older, 19, 10 and 7, but or last was the worst when it came to dad helping out. Not that it was his fault, he was living two states away working. He was there when she was born and did not leave her side (even when they cleaned her after delivery and took her to the nursery to be checked out and shots and all) until he had to go back to work. We both felt bad that he couldn't be there with her to further bond, but when she was 2 months old, we moved to where he was and she is now a daddy's girl. He worked 16 hour days back then, but when he got up for work every morning, he would spend time with her for a little while before he brought her (with clean diaper and fresh bottle) in to me. She was usually asleep when he he got home, but that was when he spent time with the older kids.
Our situation was not typical, and I do not recommend it to anyone. Because of jobs and insurance needs, we were apart for 8 months and decided that we will not do that again. But we both love our kids and daddy helps out where and when he can. (with some coaching from mom!)
You may have to be specific about what you need or want. As you said, some are born to be dads, and others may or may not want to be helpful, but just don't know how. Show him how to change a diaper, if he doesn't know. Show him how to fix a bottle. Also, after that, let him know (gently, nagging never works) that you'd like him to show baby off to the grandparents, or go for a ride, etc... Or even out for a picnic at the park. Babies like to feel and experience different things, and the leaves around the park may be a good experience, as well as touching sand and what not. There are usually baby swings too. When they're out, it's fine to catch up on cleaning and laundry, but don't forget to indulge in that nap or bubble bath or something.
When my daughter was born (nearly 3 years ago) my husband stayed home for a couple weeks.During that time he did a lot of the cooking and changed diapers if I didn't get to them first. I was breast feeding so he couldn't really help in that department. But he did spend a lot of time cuddling and giving attention to our little girl. After he went back to work I think was when the reality of the situation kicked in. We both like playing video games, I don't have a problem with it. But once he went back to work after 2 weeks home, after dinner he would go to the computer and spend most of the evening there. Same thing on weekends. I started to get really upset. I was at home with the baby all day, didn't have family that I could ask for help if I needed a break, and when he came home I got ignored and still didn't get a break. Sure I understand that you may need some down time after work, but the whole evening? I told him that I didn't care if he wanted to mess around on the computer for a while, but every minute of free time was too much. It felt like he was going out of his way to ignore us (me and the baby). I said to him that I was home with the baby all day without breaks but at least he got to work and be baby-free most of the day. My job doesn't stop because it's time for bed, I get woken up every 4-5 hours to feed and diaper the baby. Once we had that talk things got way better. He started spending time with us again, gave me breaks for showering or a soak in the tub to relax. I don't think that men realize how tolling it can be for a mother, especially a first time mom. They go to work and when they come home they know that's the end of their "work day" but I'm not sure it is always apparent without the mom telling him that her job is 24/7.
it is good 4 daddy 2 help out