The first few months of a baby’s life give the whole family a new appreciation for the word “chaos.” It’s amazing how such a tiny person with such elemental needs — food, sleep, love — can turn an entire household upside down. Whether it’s all night fuss-fests, screaming through car rides, or marathon nursing sessions that immobilize mom for hours, a baby can seize control of any situation and render it 180 degrees different than it was before.
Moms tend to take the brunt of Hurricane Baby, especially if they’re nursing and, in one fell swoop, find themselves acting as 24-hour diner for a demanding little customer. But even bottle feeding moms end up being the front line of baby care — and the front line of baby stress.
Not to say that caring for a baby is all trouble and strife, far from it. But in my experience, at least, being with a little baby is disorienting and confusing in addition to being an emotional high unlike any other I’ve ever felt. I love my kids with the power of 1,000 suns but trying to interpret and calm the cries of a newborn left me drained and helpless.
If you’re the partner of the mom of a newborn, remember that she needs care as well as the baby. Learning to be a mom to a new little person is not easy and she’ll need a few boosts along the way. Take a few moments to do things for her to make her feel special and appreciated.
Here are some tips for partners of new mothers:
Flattery Will Get You Everywhere 1 of 5Is she doing an amazing job? Does she look beautiful? Are you completely blown away by this woman as she parents your child? Tell her! Tell her every day! She needs to know that you see what she's doing and you appreciate it!
Take The Night Shift 2 of 5Even if mom is nursing and has to do all the feedings, there's no reason you can't step in and finish the job of putting the baby back to bed at 3 a.m. You don't need breasts to rock a baby back to sleep, or change a late-night diaper. And if your family is bottle-feeding, alternate who gets up for the baby.
Don’t Ask, Offer 3 of 5Whether it's taking the baby for a walk to give her a moment to shower or bringing home take-out for dinner, just take the initiative and offer to do it. Asking if she wants you to do it puts the onus on her to make yet another decision. Try to anticipate her needs and accommodate them proactively.
Do Windows 4 of 5Take on more of the housework. Don't ask about it. Just do it. Vacuum, dust, empty the dishwasher. And don't brag about doing it. This is your house, too, and you totally should be doing this stuff.
Say It With Flowers 5 of 5Or a card, or candy, or an iTunes giftcard. Everyone loves a little present now and again. Something sweet and special can brighten a new mom's day immeasurably.
Photo credit: photo stock
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