After becoming a parent, partners of new mums often feel a little useless, or like there’s no clear way to contribute. Their lives and relationships also transform significantly. They might turn to work as a way to cope, leaving the onus on mums to care for the baby at home.
If your partner needs some encouragement or ways to play an active and meaningful role in parenting – or if you’re the partner of a new mum looking for guidance – here’s some handy advice to hang onto or pass on.
The long day trips or weekend getaways might be off the cards for the time being, but there’s still plenty for couples to do on weekends. New mums will appreciate the chance to sleep in on Saturday morning as their partners head out for a walk with the baby to grab coffee or groceries. It provides much-needed rest for one parent, and essential bonding time for the other.
Around the house
As one parent feeds the baby, the other can handle the job of feeding their partner. Don’t worry if it’s not a fancy, three-course meal the aim right now is for food that’s nutritious and nourishing. If mum is breastfeeding and needs to be with the baby for all feeds, their partner could vacuum, do the laundry, or sort out other household jobs to ensure everyone’s contributing at home.
The nature of parenting means mums often get the majority of one-on-one time with the baby, so their partners need to create those moments to bond. This might look like giving the baby their bath, handling play or story time, and putting them to bed in between feeds with mum. Breastfeeding mums might even express a bottle, so they can sleep through a feed or two.
Making time for each other
While caring for the baby tends to take over both parents’ priorities, the core of the family is the relationship between them. Making time to cook and eat together, watch a movie or debrief about each other’s day after the baby’s asleep is a great way to stay connected and ensure the channels of communication stay open.
Be open and honest
Emotions and stresses run high with a new baby at home, and there’s no better time to make clear what partners need and feel. Whether it’s more help at home, more opportunities to contribute, or an hour to themselves, both parents will have needs along the way and will appreciate the chance to express how they’re feeling.
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