You welcome a child in your life, and suddenly everyday things seem even more beautiful with everyone congratulating you, for you are a new Dad! Your little bundle of joy infuses more love in your life. This wondrous journey doesn’t stop at childbirth, and this is where you as a new father need to be mindful of a few things.
So, you’re now home with your wife, she is all drained and sore, emotionally and physically post childbirth. She will be cranky and low. At this time, all she needs is your support and understanding. This blog post is aimed at helping you cover the initial days of fatherhood and help you cope with the changes your partner is going through, while you support her in her journey towards healing.
Your partner is bound to feel weak after an excruciating experience of childbirth. If she has given birth by C-section or conventionally, she will be sore for sometime. The recovery period from C-section requires her to limit strenuous activity for few weeks. If she has gone through a conventional delivery, she might experience discharge and bleeding for several weeks. The healing period will be longer if she has had a vaginal tear. She may also experience problems like constipation or hemorrhoids, in addition to the strain of delivery.
What you can do
- Try to help as much as possible
- Become an expert in bathing your baby and changing diapers
- Take up heavy lifting chores: grocery shopping, meals, and laundry
- Be careful and moreover patient when it comes to physical contact. It could take 4 to 6 weeks for your partner to heal completely. She may not be ready for sex. Let her take the lead in giving you hugs and kisses. She may welcome an occasional foot rub.
Breastfeeding may not be easy
Breastfeeding is not as easy task as it looks like. It is not easy for all moms and babies. Your partner can get irritated if your baby is fussy while feeding. It can give sore nipples initially until your baby gets to latch on properly. A few women get clogged milk ducts which can be painful. Your baby needs to eat every 2 to 3 hours so your partner ends up with barely any sleep.
What you can do
- Put her off to sleep while the baby sleeps without any distraction
- Take up the responsibility of night-time diaper changes
- If she is using a pump, learn to sterilize it
New mothers have emotional stints of anxiety called ‘baby blues’. These feelings of anxiety and sadness are normal where a women is adjusting to the changes brought about by motherhood. If these feelings get severe or last long, then she may be suffering from postpartum depression. Its recommended that you convince her to discuss this issue with her doctor.
What you can do
- Communicate. If you sense she is low, ask her how she is feeling. Sometimes, just talking may help
- Coax her to take a break, to get up and get out of the house while you take care of the baby
- If you notice that she has symptoms of postpartum depression, get her help immediately. She will not realize that she is depressed.
Know that this state is a temporary condition. Your wife will soon bounce back to being her old self again. Your baby will also sleep for a long time at a stretch and you will settle into a happy, comfortable routine as a family. Good luck!