A father’s role
Having a supportive partner in the first few weeks and months after your baby’s birth can make all the difference. Here are some things that dads can do to help share the load:
Information: Pay attention to what the midwife, doctors, plunket nurse says. After the birth, your partner will be so tired and trying to focus on so many things, that it will really help to have an extra person taking note of the vast amounts of information that are supplied in those first few weeks. If your partner has had a caesarian or other medical complication, it would also help if you took particular notice of the instructions and information supplied on discharge from the hospital.
Emotional: your partner will be feeling a myriad of different emotions, ranging from feelings about the actual birth (especially if it didn’t go according to plan), to a focus on bonding with the baby, concerns about feeding, and sleep deprivation, not to mention all her hormones readjusting after the upheaval of pregnancy. Be supportive and a good listener during this time.
Practical help: This can take the form of anything from taking the baby to be winded once fed, or out for a walk while your partner snoozes, to bathing the baby, making dinner or taking any older children out of the house while she has a break. Proper rest and good nutrition and hydration are essential for a healthy postnatal mum.
Be on the lookout: watch for any signs that your partner really isn’t coping or seems unusually low in mood, as this could be a sign of Postnatal Depression. If in doubt, contact your midwife, plunket nurse or doctor asap.
Don’t forget: that you also need time to bond with your baby. The more you interact with your baby in these early days, the stronger your bond will be. Also use this time to learn about your baby’s needs so that you can help interpret baby’s cries and sleep patterns and feel more involved and useful.