When you meet your new baby for the first time, it's often love at first sight. Something about their adorable little toes and cute chubby cheeks makes all of the poop and sleepless nights worthwhile. But by the time Dad prepares to head back to work, the new baby buzz may have worn off. But there are ways dads can and should help you when you're on maternity leave that can make your life just a little easier when you have to go it alone.
Although there are certain things they just can't do (if only they could breastfeed, right?), dads shouldn't underestimate their ability to provide you with support while you're on maternity leave. Running errands, pitching in around the house, and helping out with late-night feedings can give you the break you need to rest, recharge, or connect with friends.
Additionally, dads can and should find ways to get in some quality time with baby without your help. Spending time with the new baby not only gives mom some relief, it allows dads to develop their own special bond with your new little one, which has benefits that will last a lifetime.
Share this list with your partner before he heads off to work. And as soon as he's finished reading, tell him to log off and offer you a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and an extra pair of hands.
1. Take Over A Night Feeding
Parents suggests dads take over a night feeding to give mom a little time to pump breast milk or catch up on sleep. A couple extra hours of sleep at night could make all of the difference in a new mom's day.
2. Do Diaper Duty
Dads shouldn't be afraid to get their hands a little dirty. According to La Leche League, newborn babies go through five to six diapers per day. Changing one or two when he comes home from work can help a lot.
3. Show Mom A Little Love
New mom readers told The Bump that they wish their partners knew how much they need to feel desired and sexy after the baby arrives. Don't forget to let your partner know that she's still beautiful, breast milk stains on her shirt and all.
4. Take A Walk
Dad can take the baby out for an evening stroll, which will give mom a chance to have a little alone time, as Parents recommends.
5. Cheer Mom On
Being a new mom is tough, and often scary. Although baby may not be able to give her much feedback, you can let her know that she's doing a great job and remind her that you are always in her corner.
6. Pitch In With Housework
Even though she's home all day, a new mom has little time for housework. Pitch in and take over some of the household responsibilities. If not, you may not have clean underwear for months.
7. Give Her Some Free Time
Although Dad may complain about a day filled with meetings and reports, he has at least had some interaction with adults in the outside world. If Mom has spent her day inside alone with baby, she's probably dying for a little fresh air. Give her some time to venture outside of the house, even if she just walks around the block.
8. Talk It Out
You and your partner are probably dealing with a host of emotions, and there is nothing worse than keeping them all bottled up. Dads can help by encouraging moms to share the details of her day, and how she is feeling about all of the change.
9. Go To Doctor's Appointments
Believe it or not, mommy brain is a real thing. In the first few months, it can be helpful for dads to tag along to your baby's doctor visits to listen and ask questions. Besides, he's probably dying to know how much your little guy weighs.
10. Run Errands
Running errands like picking up dry cleaning can make a huge time-saving difference to busy new moms. So dads, grab that grocery list and go.
11. Be Patient
Even if this isn't your first child, adjusting to life with a new baby can be tough on everyone involved. Dads should give mom and baby time to get used to the new normal in your house, because it will probably change again in a couple of months.