Newborn babies are a bundle of joy, but they can also be demanding and challenging. Sometimes those first few months feel like they’ll never end, and watching your to-do list pile up before your eyes can be overwhelming. But if you have Dad to hand, here’s a few simple ways to put them to work, and help you both survive those broken nights.
The only to way to get used to changing a dirty nappy is to change a lot of dirty nappies, and your newborn baby will need to be changed a lot. So instead of ignoring the suspicious smell from your child’s derriere, get Dad to practice changing nappies until you both can discuss the colour and consistency of your child’s ‘little gift’ without feeling sick and/or can do it one handed.
Once your newborn is home and settling into their new surroundings there won’t be a lot of spare time to cook decent meals every night. Avoid stale ready-meals and oven pizza by having Dad cook large batches of wholesome dishes over the weekend. These can then be stored in the freezer for those times when your tiny tot decides to make a big demand on your time.
When you’re the stay-at-home parent, it can be hard for your working partner to find a way to bond with your newborn. Delegating bath time to Dad is a great way for him to spend some quality time caring and bonding with your new baby and it also gives you some much needed time to yourself.
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s essential that you do so for the first six weeks to establish supply, but after that you can express milk for your partner to bottle feed your baby. Keep a supply in the fridge and let him take over some late night feeds, but make sure to use it up after three days!
After giving birth, either vaginally or by caesarean, your body may take between six to eight weeks to recover physically. On top of this, new mothers can experience plummeting hormones and exhaustion. Ask your partner to temporarily take on some household duties that may not have been in his domain before the baby’s arrival. Things like laundry and dishes won’t do themselves, and an extra pair of hands can help maintain a sense of order during the chaotic first few months of your baby’s life.
Have your partner in charge of all baby equipment, along with getting them to set up the crib and car seat before your newborn comes along. He can put his own stamp on the nursery by building baby furniture, or hanging wall decorations to involve you both in your baby’s environment.
Going for walks
Newborn babies will tend to sleep for most of the day, albeit for one to two hours at a time! Have your partner take your baby for a walk in the pram to soothe any grumblings they might have (the baby, not the father) and to get some fresh air. While they’re out, you can do all the things that seem superfluous when taking care of your newborn like sleeping, eating, exercising and showering (in no particular order). Tell Dad to stay close to home though, between feeding and separation anxiety, distance isn’t recommended!
Establish a routine
It may take a while for your baby to get into a pattern, but they will eventually. To get ready for this, it’s good for you and your partner to prepare and encourage a routine in your baby as soon as possible. Have Dad draw up a typical day in your baby’s life, and put it somewhere visible where you both can refer to it. Planning a few daily and weekly activities can give you both a sense of purpose, but be sure to leave some wiggle room so you can adjust this schedule when your newborn has plans of their own.