The first months of having a baby can be difficult on many levels. There are just so many things to juggle: the breastfeeding success or failure, the crying, the dirty diapers, the lack of sleep, and then there's all of the household stuff, too. Even the good days are hard, for new moms. There are ways your partner can make maternity leave easier, though. And yes, they should be looking for ways to make it easier. If they're not, you can just send them the link to this article and they should be sorted out in no time.
New moms can often feel like they're going it alone, thanks to weekdays spent with just the baby, and night feedings that happen frequently enough that it only makes sense to be the one feeding. They may hold back on asking for help, because they think it's supposed to be easier. That can be a recipe for disaster, when the pressure becomes too much. So what's the answer? A supportive partner who does everything they can to help out, actually. A partner who understands that, just because you're home all day with your baby, doesn't mean you have time to cook, clean, shop for groceries, and more, on top of taking care of the baby. Sometimes, new moms only have time to take of the baby.
With all of that said, here are 11 ways your partner can make maternity leave easier for everyone.
1. Help With Laundry
You have no idea how much laundry needs to be done until you have a baby. It's even worse if you happen to be cloth diapering. Helping change over a load of laundry, or just carrying the hamper of dirty or clean clothes to or from the laundry room can make all the difference to an exhausted new mom.
2. Support Your Breastfeeding Choices
If you're planning to breastfeed, I can't underscore how important it is to have a partner that will support you however you need it. That can be by helping clean the breast pump, fending off the haters in public, or making sure you have water nearby. Alternatively, if you're choosing to use formula, your partner should support that choice as well.
3. Give You Breaks From The Baby
Being home all the time with your baby is great, except when it isn't. Every new mother needs a break, from time to time, whether it's to go get a coffee with a friend or go get a much-needed pedicure.
4. Make Sure You Get To Shower
I can't underscore how important this is to help keep some women sane. It can feel impossible for a new mom to leave her baby unattended, even when they're sleeping, long enough to shower. Make sure your partner knows that this needs to happen.
5. Help With Household Chores
Or don't give the dishes on the counter a second glance, if they're there. The point is not to put pressure on a new mom to do more than she can handle. Taking care of a new life, who is utterly incapable of doing anything for themselves, is a feat in and of itself.
6. Take On A Night Feeding
Waking up every two hours around the clock is hard. Your partner may have to go to work in the morning, but the reality is that you both need to function on reduced sleep, and you shouldn't have to sacrifice it all, just because you're at home during the day.
7. Pay Close Attention To Any Signs Of PPD
Postpartum depression can sneak up on a new mom at any point during the first year, and it can manifest in more than one way. Being home alone with a baby, day in and day out, is hard on anyone, so your partner should be watching to make sure you're managing well.
8. Offer To Cook Some Meals
Maybe you're the type of person who is able to plan meals in the morning, when the baby is in a good mood and you have time to devote to cooking. If you're like most moms, though, you're trying to cook right when babies are their fussiest. Having a partner who can take over cooking sometimes is a godsend.
9. Talk To You
It's amazing how much you can miss adult conversation, when you're home with a baby all day. Your partner can often be your lifeline when you're on maternity leave, and it's a great way to stay connected at a time when you may not be connecting physically yet.
10. Listen To You
Sometimes, you just need to unload. A partner that will listen to the minutiae of your day, from the sublime to the ridiculous, is worth their weight in gold.
11. Change Some Diapers
Actually, change lots f diapers. Seriously, it doesn't matter how many diapers your partner things they're changing; you are changing more. You are always the one changing more. So make sure they're changing a lot of those damn diapers, when they're around, and without complaining or gagging.