Welcome to the next instalment of Survival Guide for Dads to be! Hopefully, you found the first two posts in the Survival Guide For Dads To Be helpful. Next up – First Few Weeks With A Newborn – A Guide For Dads.
In case you missed the first post, I’ve put together a little Survival Guide for Dads to be. I will be giving you advice on how you can support your pregnant wife (or partner/girlfriend) through pregnancy, labour and the newborn stage. I have broken these up into three separate posts:
- How to be a supportive husband during pregnancy
- Tips For Dads During Labour
- First Few Weeks With A Newborn – A Guide For Dads
You’ve survived pregnancy and childbirth – Congratulations!
Those first few weeks with a newborn are going to be a whirlwind of nappies, tears and napping – and that’s just mum! Poor mum is going to feel like she’s been hit by a bus! She won’t be able to do as much as she could before, so it’s going to be down to you to be sportive and help out.
We don’t like the old fashioned idea that mums look after the children and dads work. Having kids is a joint effort, and both parents should share the responsibilities.
So, I’m going to share with you exactly how you can help.
Get up in the night
Your newborn will be waking a LOT in the early days. And if they’re anything like my 3-year-old, still waking in the night now. It is not down to only one parent to always get up.
Although I was breastfeeding our little one, my husband would get up in the night with me as moral support whilst he was on paternity leave and during the weekends.
If your little one is bottle-fed, you could help by getting the bottle warmed, measuring out the formula, or you could comfort your baby whilst mum gets the bottle sorted.
If your baby is breastfed, you may wonder what you can do in the night whilst mum is feeding the baby. You could change baby’s nappy or be on hand to pass mum her water, hairband, muslin etc. For more advice on helping mum whilst she’s breastfeeding, make sure you check out my post, Breastfeeding Advice For Dads.
Feeding your baby at night can be a lonely experience, so having that company is much appreciated.
Be Understanding and Supportive
Like I said above, mum is going to feel like she’s been hit by a bus. There are some serious hormones going on, emotions will be all over the place, and depending on the type of delivery that she had, she’s going to SORE.
If she’s had a viginal delivery, there is a chance that she had some tearing or needed an episiotomy (a surgical cut), which will be incredibly sore. Walking, sitting, going to the toilet is going to be a struggle.
If mum had a Caesarean section, it could take several weeks to recover. She won’t be able to lift anything heavier than the baby, and there is a risk of infection in the c-section cut.
Mum has essentially had an operation. But rather than having a few weeks off to recover, she’s been handed and baby!
There is also the chance that the baby blues will hit mum. Now, just because it’s called the baby blues, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t something to be taken seriously. The Baby Blues are caused by the sudden change in the chemicals and hormones. This can cause mum to become:
These feelings should pass within a few days. However, if this continues over a few weeks, this may be an indication of postnatal depression.
Sterilise And Make The Bottles
When babies are hungry, they want feeding NOW. They do NOT like to be kept waiting. Imagine the horror of stumbling downstairs at 4am to do a bottle and to find none of them clean. Yes, you can wash it, but it’s imperative that the bottle is sterilised as well.
Save yourself the hassle and ensure that all of your bottles are washed, sterilised, and stored correctly ready for the next feed. There is some helpful advice on the NHS on how to sterilise your bottles and tips on how to make up baby formula.
Help With The Housework
When you have a newborn, housework is not the most important thing in the world. However, it is essential to keep on top of the basics; otherwise, it will just build up. And you don’t want to live in a dirty home with a newborn baby now, do you?
There will be certain jobs that mum cannot do, such as hoovering or anything where she has to bend and lift, such as washing.
And talking of washing, there is going to be SO MUCH. This tiny person will have more outfit changes than Lady Gaga in concert. Vests, babygrows, muslins, scratch mitts, teeny tiny tops and trousers, it is endless!
There will be a few weeks where you will need to do most of the cleaning, cooking, etc. until mum starts to recover and can help out a bit more.
You will constantly be changing nappies: All-day, every day. No matter how careful you are, there will always be a poo explosion that goes up their back.
Just got them dressed? Poo explosion.
Just changed them? Poo explosion.
Just bathed them? Poo explosion.
Feeding them? Poo explosion.
Just about to leave the house? Poo explosion.
And you get the picture.
A helpful hint with nappies is to always make sure that the frilly bit on the legs is pulled out. If it’s tucked in, you are more likely to have a leaky nappy!
Spend Quality Time With Baby And Mum
After changing, feeding and bathing your newborn, you might feel like all you do is spend time with them; however, it is still important to spend quality time with both baby and mum.
Although you can’t play games with your newborn yet, you are still able to play with them by reading them books, singing them songs and having lots of cuddles. For more ideas on spending time with your newborn make sure you check out my post Breastfeeding Advice For Dads – How To Support Mum And Bond With Baby.
Look After Yourself
Much focus goes on mum and baby in the early weeks, which I’m sure you’ll agree is fair enough. However, it is also essential to look after yourself. You can’t take care of your new family if you’re running on empty. Make sure that when possible, you are resting and eating well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
And this concludes this part of the Survival Guide for Dads to be. I really hope that you have found this First Few Weeks With A Newborn guide helpful! Is there anything else that you would like to have a survival guide on? Let me know in the comments!