There’s a lot of advice out there for new moms and women expecting their first child. But what about the dads? For fathers, having a child comes with it’s own set of challenges. While many dads want to support their wife or partner during this time, it’s not always easy to understand what new moms are going through.
Below are helpful tips for new dads and fathers-to-be, and how they can best support their partner during this huge, and sometimes difficult, life event:
- It may take longer for new dads to bond with their baby
Mothers have had nine months to bond with their baby, which makes it easier to feel a strong connection to their newborn immediately after birth. For new dads, bonding with the baby might take a little longer. For fathers, bonding with your baby is an active process. It’s important to spend time alone with your newborn, or get more involved in feeding, holding or rocking the baby to sleep.
- Your pre-baby routine will go right out the window
Having your first child is a major life change. While having a newborn in the house brings many moments of joy, every parent struggles to maintain a normal schedule. With a newborn, life revolves around the baby’s eating, sleeping and pooping (yes, really) schedule. Your regular routines will quickly be replaced by the baby’s ever-changing needs and demands. During the first few months of child-rearing, it’s important that new dads and moms help each other out and are on the same team. Before the baby is born, It’s also a good idea to talk about how your schedules will change and how both parents will handle taking care of the newborn.
- Your sex life might change — a lot
For most women, it is safe to have sex during pregnancy, as long as the expecting mom feels comfortable and her OB/GYN gives the go-ahead. After delivery, it is normal for a couple’s sex life to change, especially in the first few months after a woman gives birth. Many health experts recommend that women wait four to six weeks after delivery before engaging in intercourse, to prevent the risk of infection or bleeding. After this time period, new dads and moms should have a conversation with their partners about how they’re feeling post-baby. For all couples, open communication about one’s sex life is key to a healthy relationship.
- Remember that being a mom is a full-time job
For new dads who go back to work soon after the baby is born, it can be difficult to understand what goes on with mom and the newborn while you’re away. New dads need to realize that moms are often tired, sleep-deprived and might even feel moody during this time, especially in those first few months. In addition to their child-rearing duties, dads can also help their wives feel better with small gestures, like a quick massage, a back rub, or a kiss and a hug. These small moments of care can actually make a new mom feel a lot better or brighten her day.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Having a child is a wonderful, beautiful life event. However, many new moms and dads experience feelings of frustration or depression. Paternal postpartum depression (PPD) can affect both parents, and even dads might feel depressed after having a baby.
Signs of postpartum depression include:
- Weight gain or loss
- Sleep problems
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
- Persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness
- Support, listening and encouragement are crucial
In relationships, men often want to “fix” the problem. Women, on the other hand, often want her partner to listen and provide support, rather than rush to solve the problem right away. If those first few months of having a newborn feel challenging, rest assured that things will get better. All the parenting classes in the world can’t quite prepare new moms and dads for having their first child. Again, it’s important to talk with your spouse about how you’re feeling, check in with each other on a regular or daily basis, and know that you’re both in this together.
No matter what stage of life you are in, you can trust HealthONE’s experienced obstetricians and gynecologists to deliver compassionate, quality care during every visit. HealthONE hospitals also offer preventative screenings and imaging services for breast cancer and other women’s cancers.
We have quality gynecologists and obstetricians at our Denver hospitals including: