Mom has just gone through a world of pain to bring your child into this world!
So how do you ensure that her first few weeks as a mom are (relatively) pain-free, insanely enjoyable, and less tiring?
Following on from my post about what a new dad should know about pregnancy, we will have a look at what new moms need from their husbands!
These tips are straight from the horse’s mouth (my wife). I’m not calling my wife a horse by the way… although she does go through shoes like a horse. I also get thrown from her back occasionally.
So buckle up, get prepped, and get ready to be a top new dad that will make the rest of them look mediocre at best!
Just think of it as putting some relationship points in the bag for when mom is fully recovered...
10 Things That New Moms Need From Their Husbands
This list is definitely not conclusive, and it depends entirely on your situation. These tips will give you a solid foundation. The most important things you can do as a husband are to offer support, understanding, solidarity, and help with the new baby. Oh, and do not forget to offer your services around the home too!
If mom has just gone through a ‘classic childbirth,’ then these tips apply.
If, however, mom has just been through a horrendous ordeal like emergency surgery or a C-section, then there are some other things you need to consider. You are now looking at taking care of a person who has just been through some major surgery!
I have said it before in so many posts on this site but preparation is the key to success for pregnancy, childbirth, and being a new dad.
You should be preparing months in advance for the first few weeks at home with a new baby. If you leave it until the last minute, you will add extra stress to the mom and the new baby. The first few weeks can be stressful because you are basically given a life to look after, and there are no medical people around to help!
The 1st thing that new moms need from their husbands is patience!
Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue.
That is your mantra for the 1st week, at least, maybe for the 1st year. You will find out.
During the first few weeks, and because my wife had gone through terrible childbirth, I was on my feet quite a bit dealing with multiple requests for drinks, blankets, food, hot water bottles, and diapers. Then throw in the things my new Son needed, and I was whacked out.
The important thing is when a brand spanking new demand arrived from wife or son; JUST AFTER I SAT DOWN, I needed to attend to it with a smile.
When a demand arrived for something that we didn’t have in the house, attend to it with a smile. Should a demand arrive for something not in the house, and it is 3 am, attend to it with a smile.
Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue.
Listen, mom has just been put through the wringer. Everything hurts—literally, everything.
You need to understand that.
During the childbirth of my son, I had 15 minutes of sleep in 3 days. I had a heavy cold (a sore throat, blocked nose), but all of that was kept quiet because my wife was going through something much worse.
As long as you understand what mom has just been through, the rest should come naturally.
Your job is also to understand what new mom needs from their husbands physically too. This isn’t just a mental thing, although that is more important.
New moms need rest, and to be comfortable.
For Dad To Listen
One of my biggest challenges as a new dad was to listen, which is something I really needed to work on.
I generally listen in life, but when you are sleep-deprived and your brain isn’t switching off, listening gets pushed to the back of the queue for your brain.
Bring it right to the forefront of your mind, just for mom!
New moms will have a lot to say, and they will also have many questions that might need to be answered. Listen to what they are saying and asking, so you can respond quickly and confidently.
Suppose you don’t know the answer to a question, text someone who will know, and then report back to your wife. Easy.
For Dad To Take Charge Of The New Baby
This is huge and really helped my wife recover and also helped to create a strong bond with my son (something I hold very dear to me).
It is dads job to take charge sometimes so mom can chill.
Before my son was born, we agreed that the night feeds would be shared. It was one of the best decisions we made as new parents. One of us took the last feed (22:00ish), then the other would take 02:00, then we would swap again for 06:00.
It made the first few weeks much easier to handle.
Not only do you need to arrange the feeds, but there are also so many things that dad will need to take care of. Here is a small list:
- Make sure you have enough baby things (Diapers, cleaning wipes, etc.)
- Do some laundry (So everyone has clean clothes)
- Do some shopping (So you have some food in)
- Clean up (So the house is tidy for visitors, women panic about people visiting a dirty house!)
For Dad To Not Assume
Do not assume; ask.
If you assume your wife is hungry and make her lunch, she might flip out (hormones, tiredness).
It may sound ridiculous because it is, but you tend to flip out over the little things when you are tired and hormonal.
Take away the opportunity for a major flip out by asking your wife if you can get her anything. Cycle through the same old questions:
- Would you like something to eat?
- Do you need to sleep for a while?
- Can I get you a drink?
- Are you comfortable?
This can be a bit overbearing, but it is important to ask these questions. If the new mom has had an easy(ish) childbirth, then they are likely to be able to do a lot of things themselves. They may get fed up with you asking these questions, so be aware of the responses.
Know Where Stuff Is
Do you know where the following items are:
If you don’t, then go and find out exactly where they are. From 30 weeks onwards, my wife had put all the important stuff in place, and I was shown where it all was. A few days later, it changed around. This process continued until my son was born. My job was to keep up and make a mental note for when the time comes.
There are some items on the list that will need replacing after a while. Please make sure there are replaced before they run out.
Being an organized person has huge health benefits, including making the right food choices and improving sleep!
Ask Before Arranging Visitors
When your new baby is here, everyone and their wife will want to come and visit you!
That is good news because they usually bring gifts (drop some hints for yourself too, you also need a new dad survival kit!)
It all seems too good to be true, they bring gifts, AND they will take the baby off your hands while they are visiting. Win/win!
BUT – let’s not forget that the new mom has just been through childbirth and may not feel up for visitors. It is definitely not good to spring some visitors on at the last minute, especially if the house is also not up for visitors.
Arrange for visits together, and be prepared to cancel people at the last minute if it is not a good time. People understand.
A woman’s body is flooded with hormones when pregnant, and they do not stop after childbirth!
Those hormones are pumped through the body to make them naturally be a good mom. A downside is that they tend to put a block on being away from the baby for too long.
Mom must get some time alone to reflect on what she has just gone through. When you return, her mental clarity will be better, and she will (hopefully) be more rested.
To get to the stage where the hormone-ravaged wife will let you walk out with your baby, you need to convince her that you know what you are doing. Increase confidence by taking charge of small things at home. When the baby needs changing, get on your feet, and do it. The more confident they are in your ability, the more relaxed they will be while you are out.
A New Mom Survival Kit
I asked my wife what she would like in a new mom survival kit, and this is what she said:
Try to steer clear of giving anything alcoholic if mom is breastfeeding! It might just infuriate them, and you really do not want that…..
LOOK OUT FOR THEM!
THE BIGGEST TIP ON HERE, but it is not what they want; it is what they NEED.
Dads must learn about Postpartum Depression and all possible symptoms.
Forwarned is forearmed.
Health Professionals are excellent at spotting the symptoms. They are trained to ask the right questions to ensure there are no red flags that could indicate the onset of Postpartum Depression. Dads are not.
I genuinely think they should have classes JUST FOR DADS on the warning signs for things that can go wrong during and after the pregnancy.
Around 1 in 10 women suffer from some of the most severe symptoms of Postpartum Depression. Make sure you know the symptoms so you can get some help for the new mom before it escalates.
After asking my wife what new moms need from their husbands, she gave me 9 of the 10 things above! The last tip was from me because moms need someone to look out for them after giving birth! It wouldn’t hurt to give mom a little encouragement too.
The most important thing is that you remember exactly what they have just been through. Not just the whole childbirth thing, I am talking about the 9 months leading up to the childbirth too. As soon as women get pregnant, they are flooded with hormones.
It doesn’t stop there either; the hormones carry on well into the new baby’s life. Give them time, give them space, and use a hell of a lot of patience to make sure they remain cool.
Sort things out and take control – you may not be thanked for it, but you will have a much happier, healthy family unit.