When you are a new mom, the joy you get from your newborn is exhilarating and new. Motherhood is amazing and incomparable, creating a bond and commitment within you like no other. But as wonderful as motherhood is, being a new mom isn’t easy. Caring for a baby is hard work, requiring sleepless nights and full days, so some extra help from your partner wouldn’t hurt. If you are a new mom who needs a hand, you should know how to ask your husband for help with the baby.
It may seem simple, but asking for help isn’t always easy. In an interview with Romper, postpartum doula, baby planner, and founder of the Birth and Baby Company, Jessica Zablan, says that many new parents struggle with asking for help and the issue can be different for every family dynamic. She says, typically, it’s the stay-at-home parent or the breastfeeding parent who takes on most of the baby care. “The first few weeks are always a mess and everyone is trying to create a routine,” explains Zablan, “but if you have a plan from day one, it will really help.”
She says that with her clients, she suggests postpartum planning, which allows the birthing or stay-at-home parent to express their concerns and discuss what they might need the most help with. Zablan adds that this type of planning also opens the conversation about each person’s responsibilities and tasks, along with the option of hiring help if needed.
It’s hard to juggle work and a baby, regardless of whether you are a mom or dad. Zablan suggests that if a parent is working outside the home, they can be the one to handle bath time. She thinks that in the beginning, both parents can do it together, but eventually the working parent can take the lead. “As they become comfortable, this will be their daily thing to do with the baby,” notes Zablan, “so the stay-at-home parent can get at least 20 minutes to themselves.”
No solution is one-size-fits-all, so you should talk to your partner about what they can do to make your life a little easier. Zablan says that if taking over bath time doesn’t work for your family or schedule, you can find something else. She suggests asking your partner to handle making breakfast or lunch for the two of you, or even take over feeding the baby with a bottle if it helps. When I was a new mom, I asked my husband to take over late night and early morning diaper duty, and even asked him to take the baby for a walk when he could. It gave me extra time to nap and sleep, which really helped overall.
Zablan believes that the most important thing to remember is that you are a team, and when you need help, you have to speak up. If you didn’t make a postpartum plan while you were pregnant, she says it’s never too late to write down what you are struggling with so you can bring it up with your partner. You can even make a mental list of tasks that seem frustrating and fatiguing throughout the day, and just ask your partner to take over them if possible.
I’m one of those people that hates asking for help. I don’t know if it is because I have a sense of pride, a fear of disappointment, or just because it’s more convenient for me to take care of things on my own. But when I was a new mom, I realized that the baby was a shared responsibility, and even though it was hard, I asked my husband to help out. So if you are struggling, like so many mothers do, just let your man know what you need and when. Hopefully he’s a good guy and will follow through with what you and the baby need.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.