You've waited months, maybe even years, to meet your baby. After all that build-up, the big day comes and goes and before you know it, you've hit the ground running. Feeding the infant. Changing the infant. Holding the infant. Loving the infant. Worrying about the infant. That squirming bundle of bodily functions and emotions requires a
lot of time, energy, and care immediately, but who's caring for you? If you're parenting with a partner, hopefully said partner is seeing to your needs. I asked moms about the special thing their partner did for them the day after their baby was born and, fortunately, it sounds like these fine folks are really stepping up.
Now, when I asked other moms the best thing their partners did for them, a lot of the answers (very reasonably) were baby-centric. However, the best thing my partner did for me after birth actually had
nothing to do with our little one. You see, during my second pregnancy I had gestational diabetes. Also, during my second pregnancy, my "number one" craving was muffins. Muffins, full of sugar and carbs, do not vibe with the whole diabetic diet. In fact, they're probably one of the worst things you could consume from that perspective. I would literally cry, saying, "I have felt so bad for so long, and the only thing that would make me feel better is a basket full of muffins. And I can't eat a basket full of muffins!"
You think I'm kidding? Well, I take food very, very seriously.
So, the day after our daughter was born my husband returned to the hospital with our toddler and, perhaps even better, these:
Yes. Individually wrapped, delicious muffins in a simple and beautifully decorated wicker basket. All mine. It's one of the top five
nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
What sweet things did other partners do for their postpartum queens? Take a look (and if you're the partner of a pregnant person, take some notes).
"We brought [our daughter] home in a torrential downpour which lasted for a couple of days and there was no way I wanted to venture out. So he was asked to go to the drugstore and pick up an
embarrassing amount of feminine products."
"After total trauma with the premature birth of our son, we were both in complete shock but he rallied fast. Our second night, when I was off the scary meds and had my wits somewhat about me, and I was sad and scared, he brought his laptop and set up
Friday Night Lights (we had been binging through my pregnancy) and we snuggled up in my hospital bed to watch that. We watched Friday Night Lights and I pumped colostrum which he was in charge of taking to the NICU. You would have thought he was carrying The Holy Grail. He was so sweet and so earnest." He helped me as much as he possibly could. Which was all I could have asked for at the moment.
"The night we got home from the hospital my husband started vomiting, and was super sick for two days. I was in charge of everything baby-related because of germs, and as a first-time mom that was so stressful! The sweet thing he did was sleep on the floor in the living room (my home for the first three weeks postpartum) so that I wouldn't be alone at night, leaving the couch free for me to use when our daughter would finally fall asleep for an hour. It was so nice to have him there even though he probably just wanted to curl up and die."
I never changed one single diaper in the hospital. I had my son on a Saturday at 2 a.m. and was discharged on a Tuesday morning and never touched a diaper.
"Learned how to assemble, then field strip and clean, the hospital breast pump so I never had to worry about it. He was so impressed with any output too; it was like having the best cheerleader every time I
finished a pumping session. I felt so taken care of and cherished."
"I was sent to labor and delivery
for an induction straight from an appointment with a high risk doctor, so we had nothing with us. (It was a month early; my hospital bag wasn't even packed yet!) The day after I had [our daughter], he went home to get some things together and brought me my comfy pair of pants. After a shower and those pants, I felt so much better! It was nice to have my butt covered in front of our visitors, too!" Brought me food and water while breastfeeding and let me nap! Also, at night time, when the baby woke up, he would bring the baby to me. Photo courtesy of Erica McCartney
"I had to be knocked out when it turned out I wasn't fully numb when I was cut open for my emergency c-section. My husband did
skin-to-skin with our newborn back in the labor and delivery room while I was closed up and 'coming to' in the operating room."
"He changed all of the diapers for quite some time ... I had an
emergency c-section and we had just moved [and didn't have a] changing table, so changing diapers would have required a lot of bending." After hearing me cry about how much I didn't want to wear my maternity clothes ever again (after 40 weeks wearing the same clothes you never want to see them again), he went and bought me a couple pairs of yoga pants, nursing tanks, and a pair of cute Ray-Bans. I cried immediately and when I put them all on I felt like myself for the first time in nine months.
"This wasn't immediately after birth*, but within a couple weeks (when we were in the thick of intense breastfeeding struggles) my husband took over all the cooking duties. His logic was basically 'you worry about feeding the baby, and I'll worry about feeding us.' It was glorious."
[*Writer's note: Cheater. However, I'll allow it in the hopes that it might inspire other partners to up their chef game.]
"My husband did everything possible
to make breastfeeding and pumping as un-stressful as possible. This meant when our son woke in the middle of the night, he managed all the diaper changes and bringing the baby to me so I could nurse and then he'd rock him back to sleep so I could pump. He's also manage the cleaning of all the pump supplies so it was one less thing to worry about. Later, after our second and third were born, he took over the same tasks. This time I had a co-sleeper so our baby was always right next to me but he managed our older children. It made a world of difference for me." Everything. He did absolutely everything after my first was born via emergency c-section.
"[After my daughter was born, doctors] found my heart was enlarged from all the swelling and I also had postpartum preeclampsia: scariest day of my life. I was rushed back to labor and delivery for treatment ... [which resulted in] four more days in the hospital. My husband knew how important skin-to-skin was to me, but due to all the wires hooked up to me and the magnesium, which makes you
very dizzy, I wasn't able to do it. He sat there for four-and-a-half days, right next to my bed, and did skin-to-skin with our little nugget while holding my hand on top of her back. It was amazing to see him be such a trooper even though he was scared to death!"