by Justine Deputy, RN, MSN
Most of you reading this are probably pregnant or postpartum mamas. Feel free to continue reading, but I want you to share this one with your partners. Mamas need support postpartum. In many circumstances, the majority of that support comes from the partner. Engagement and involvement from mom’s partner can decrease her stress and anxiety surrounding pregnancy, birth, and caring for a new baby while providing her with the support and assistance she needs to get through this time. Here are some tips with experiences from Birth Center mamas and dads!
Tip #1: Go with mom to lactation and / or pediatrician visits early on if at all possible.
- “My husband accompanied me to all but one of my lactation appointments with Katie. That was crazy helpful, not only because he carried the baby up the 3 flights of stairs, but because he learned so much about breastfeeding and how to be supportive through my challenges.” ~ Lara, Birth Center Mama
Tip #2: Be prepared for it to be different from what you could ever expect.
- “Postpartum? Stress. The baby was so much work. I used to think the dog was high maintenance, but I had no idea.” ~ Joe, Birth Center Dad
Tip #3: PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE. Babies are a lot of work, unpredictable, difficult to understand at times, and love to be up half the night. Go with it, accept it, embrace it. As hard as it is, it won’t last forever.
- “Biggest piece of advice, stay calm.” ~ Craig, Birth Center Dad
Tip #4: Be there for mom. This may be different for every family, but find how you can be supportive and do your part in your relationship.
- “While recovering, my husband again did a lot of cooking and took care of a lot of house care needs. He stays home with our son and for the first year, he drove him to my work for lunch every day so I could feed him.” ~ Morgan, Birth Center Mama
- “My husband cooked, cleaned, and took care of the dogs while my son and I hung out in bed for the first few weeks postpartum. When life started getting back to our new normal, he continued to do extra around the house since I was in graduate school. Most days when he would come home, he would take our son while I did school work, then I would put our son to bed while he cooked dinner then he would clean up while I did more work. It was busy, but he made it possible!” ~ Justine, Birth Center Mama
- “He was my biggest cheerleader during the difficult first weeks of breastfeeding, and reminded me how much I wanted to do it every time I wanted to stop.” ~ Joyce, Birth Center Mama
Tip #5: Give her space, when the time is right. Eventually mom will start to feel better and may want to do something for herself or by herself. Sitting around in bed for weeks can get boring and frustrating. Follow her lead and help when she needs help, but give her time alone if that is what she needs.
- “While recovering, my husband was very protective for the first month and drove me everywhere I needed to go. It was smothering after awhile and I had to ask if my son and I could go grocery shopping without him. I wanted to get out and be independent.” ~ Morgan, Birth Center Mama
Tip #6: If mom is back to work, split the duties! Remember, even though she has the boobs there are things you can do to help. It is not fair for her to do everything.
- “Once I went back to work he would wash the bottles and pump parts every night, has picked up many a dinner duty, and splits night wakings with me.” Joyce, Birth Center Mama