The New Dad’s Guide: Helping Your New Mommy
Posted on March 04 2022
Bringing home baby is one of the most joyous occasions for any new parent—you’ve finally got your little one safe and sound, while cheerfully anticipating your future as a family.
For Mom, there’s going to be plenty to do and, even if there are grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles around, Dad needs to remain Mom’s go-to guy. Yes, we know you’re busy too, Dad, but you’re going to have to step up. So, if you’re confused about just how you can be the most helpful to your new mommy, here are seven top tips to help you out!
In any functioning relationship, it’s important to communicate, but things tend to get a lot fuzzier when there’s a new addition, sleep is coming at premium and your wife’s hormones are all over the place. Especially now, you’re going to have to work to keep lines of communication open and clear.
Here are four easy steps to make sure you two are connecting and supporting one another: First, listen intently to what your partner is saying. Then, understand what she wants, needs or what she’s trying to tell you. Third, consider what you can do to help or how you can most expeditiously fulfill this request. Finally, respond kindly and considerately.
Of course, instead of asking, you can always anticipate. Does your wife love a long bath? Get the tub going without a request. Perhaps a relaxing massage? Book one for her and take over the baby duties for a couple of hours. Does she just want some peace and quiet? Take the baby for a walk around the neighborhood. Maybe it’s just doing some of the more forgotten domestic duties
like a honey-do list from six months ago you haven’t yet got around to. What can you do to make her life a little sweeter without her having to ask for it?
When Mom’s busy keeping up with feeding baby, burping baby, the both of you sleeping and not sleeping, there are things that just go out the window. One of the first that tends to go is remembering to drink enough water.
Nursing can be both emotionally and physically exhausting for new moms. Keeping her hydrated is also good for baby as breastmilk is almost 90% water. A nursing mother produces about 26 ounces of breastmilk a day and needs to remain hydrated. Therefore, breastfeeding mom should drink as much as they did before the pregnancy while accounting for the amount of fluids they lose when feeding. On average, a nursing mother would need to take in an additional 24 ounces, so, Dad, make sure she always has water by her side!
Keep it Clean
Do as much as possible to keep her stress-free and off her feet and this includes keeping the house maintained. With swaddling clothes, butt wipes, baby supplies, mom’s dirty clothes, your dirty clothes, booties, blankets, diapers and dishes, there’s going to be plenty to do around the house so get moving!
Get in the Kitchen
If you can cook, great, you’re one step ahead of the game! If you can’t, well, you better learn how! Hopefully, your friends and family helped you out with a meal plan, but it’s not going to last forever. The last thing you or mommy wants is to open up the fridge and be faced with nothing to readily eat. Our best suggestion is to meal prep for the week. Check out some simple one-pot meals you can set and forget.
But, even though simple one-pot weekly meals are great, at least once a week try to make something fresh. Ask your wife what her favorite meal is and make it for her.
Check-in (But Not Too Much)
Eventually, you’re likely going to have to return to work before she does (if you had any time off at all) so try to take some time to check-in on her, gauge her emotional temperature and say something sweet and motivating: an “I’m proud of you,” or “You’re amazing,” goes a long way. Alternately, don’t bombard her with texts and calls every hour—she’s got a lot going on!
Don’t Ask “How Can I Help You?”
Everyone is a little different and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” for helping your wife transition into motherhood. She may in fact want to cook or clean up around the house just to have a change of pace or sense of a return to normalcy. She may want you to check-in multiple times a day or not at all. Sometimes you might anticipate her needs and get it wrong!
It might seem that the magic words, then, are “how can I help you?” But these kinds of open-ended questions can often lead to more stress as she tries to figure out what she wants or needs! Instead ask pointed questions: “Are you hungry? Can I get you a granola bar?” or “Would you like me to put on a movie? Comedy or drama?” “Would you like a shower? Do you want me to take the baby for a while?”
When you ask pointed yes-or-no questions, you’ll make her decision process simpler and life so much easier for the both of you!
During these early weeks and months, it’s going to feel like Mom always comes first and this will mostly be true—at least for a while! So, communicate, anticipate and be helpful, but make sure to take some time for yourself as well. You’ve got this, Dad!