10 Ways New Dads Can Help

October 16, 2012

I won the new daddy lottery with my husband. Reflecting back on the early days of parenting I have tried to figure out how he was so helpful. Part of it is that he is just that helpful and part of it is that I’m just that blunt. Here are 10 things that a new dad can do for his new mom wife.

1. Find the humor in her moodiness. When I would start crying about Ellery being one day older or turning double digit days old. Andrew helped me find the humor in this and we would laugh. On the flip side when I cried because I had a c-section and was disappointed with how little I could do he reminded me that everyday things would get better.
2. Know Nursing. If your wife is going to nurse learn about nursing. Go to the class with her, read a few chapters in a breast feeding book or go on the Internet. Nursing is hard work at first and can be very painful. Be her biggest cheerleader and know enough that if she wants to talk about it you can carry on an intelligible conversation. If you are doing formula learn how to make a bottle and feed your babe.
3. Encourage her to go out. I believe it was day 5 the first time I left Elle for her first “daddy daughter date night,”. It was good for all of us and we’ve continued this once per week since. Also don’t take offense when she leaves you with detailed instructions. Yes, you are the dad, but there is nothing more powerful than motherly instinct, we can’t help ourselves!!
4. Become an expert burper! It was so nice in the early days to nurse and then hand her over. When Andrew was home he did 100% of the burping the first couple months.
5. Cut her a break. Lower your expectations about the house and intimacy the first couple months. She is trying to figure out how to be a mom, it’s overwhelming and the house and the bedroom aren’t at the front of her mind. If the house really bothers you and she’s on board hire a cleaner to come clean a couple times in the first couple months.
6. Cook dinner. Or bring home take out once a week for the first 6 weeks and on the other nights if you have to eat a PB&J sometimes, eat it with a smile. This will get better, or at least in our house it did. By two months I was able to make dinner almost every night.
7. Be a team player. You will not regret team parenting. We do baths together, bedtime together, take her on walks together, read her books together, we even change her diaper together when Andrew is home. Just be involved however you can, it is so much fun!
8. Get on board. There are so many different ways to parent. Don’t be a passive bystander. Make the choice together, will you do Ferber, Babywise, Attachment Parenting, co-sleeping, child led sleep and feed, the list could go on and on. Talk to your wife about how she wants to do things and learn the ins and outs so when she isn’t sure what to do she can go to you, instead of google! The biggest problems I’ve seen in marriages with kids is a divided home, dad gets left out from the get go, so make sure you are in the decision making from day one.
9. Take the monitor. Every Saturday morning I get a monitor free nap. Once Elle goes down for her first nap of the day Andrew takes the monitor and I go to bed. He started this on his own and it is total bliss. I tell him what time I have to nurse and unless she is extremely upset he does not disturb me until that time.
10. Compliment her. She has just had a body change 10 times more awkward than puberty. In the early days Andrew would say that he couldn’t believe how thin I looked. I know I still had a pooch and still do, but for him to compliment my appearance was so flattering and made me feel like a million bucks. And when you think she is doing a great job as a mom tell her that too!

Well there you have it. These are just my thoughts, take them or leave them. I hope this post inspires you men to be helpful and inspires you women to have an honest discussion with your man about what you need! All you mamas out there leave a comment with your helpful tips!

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2 Responses to “10 Ways New Dads Can Help”

  1. This is so sweet! I love it.
    My favorite thing Blake did when J was tiny was: After I nursed her in the middle of the night, I’d wake him up and he would change her diaper for me, while I closed my eyes and started getting sleepy again. I just loved it because it made me feel like I wasn’t the only one doing parenting in the middle of the night. This time with A, I haven’t had him do that. Just because A doesn’t need a new diaper every time she eats, like J did. (That girl would go #2 the second she saw the boob! Baby-A doesn’t always go #2 even once a day.) But Blake won so many brownie pointe doing that last time, that it still counts in my mind this time around. 🙂

    • campbell2008 said

      Lydia, I hear ya! Ellery pooped EVERY SINGLE DIAPER for the first month, then suddenly she went down to once per day or less SO NICE!!

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