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Advice for new father
How to be. Good husband.

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#1 Btexpress

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

My wife is due with our first baby in 4 weeks. Awesome times! My wife has been absolutely amazing throughout the whole thing and it's all good. What I'm wanting is some advice on what I can do as a husband for my wife when she has the baby. I feel like I know what to do for the baby but I really, really want to do what I can to help/take pressure off and make a smooth transition for my wife.
Ive read stuff like do the washing, do some cooking and those kinda things. Cool and I get that but I would appreciate if the Mums out there could offer some suggestions to help me be the good, supportive husband as I know it's important for us as a family. Even little simple things, I would like to know.
Keep in mind that despite posting on this forum, I'm the very typical bloke that usually does bugger all around the house, dont really cook and act like every other useless man out there but I'm very keen to do anything and everything I can for my beautiful wife to help her along.
Thanks in advance, I appreciate the help!Julian

#2 Mitis angelam

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:26 PM

The most important thing for me in the early months was sleep.  Sleep deprivation is appalling.  Anything you can do to let your wife get some extra sleep will be worth its weight in gold.

#3 greenthumbs

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

Sounds like you know what to do biggrin.gif

Also, I found it nice to have it acknowledged that he thought I was doing a great job. I was breastfeeding, so still had to do the night wake ups, but my other half sometimes took over if bubs just wanted cuddles and settling so I could sleep. He also did the bathing for bubs so he had some alone time with our son. After most feeds when he was home he would take over and do the burping and nappy changes.

Admittedly he felt quite left out until our son was older, but is having a fantastic time now that bub is 18months so can play and run and scream etc happy.gif

Also, he would take over if he could see my patience levels reaching their limit! This was/is great, makes me feel like we're more of a team in this parenthood thing.

Good luck! We loved the early days, it was such a loved up time in our house!

There is a dads section in this forum - right down the bottom I think in the forum list original.gif

#4 noonehere

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

we had a deal where i would go to bed at 7pm and he would wake me up for a feed if i didnt express before hand. he would care for bub till midnight then i would take over.

we found we both got enough sleep to just function lol

#5 Lickety Split

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:32 PM

Agree about the sleep. My husband would take our newborn daughter for long drives (she would pretty much only sleep in the car) after a feed so I could get 30-60mins of sleep. It was wonderful and pretty much the only sleep I got in the first few weeks.

#6 ~Supernova~

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:32 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 16/02/2013, 05:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The most important thing for me in the early months was sleep.  Sleep deprivation is appalling.  Anything you can do to let your wife get some extra sleep will be worth its weight in gold.

Yep, that. The housework can be forgotten for a while. Meals will mostly be super quick and easy for sometime. But sleep is the golden ticket. DH has always helped with sleep and settling, even with a very physically demanding job. God love him.

#7 cinnabubble

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:35 PM

Keep in mind that despite posting on this forum, I'm the very typical bloke that usually does bugger all around the house, dont really cook and act like every other useless man out there but I'm very keen to do anything and everything I can for my beautiful wife to help her along.

If you're serious about helping her, the above has to stop right now for the rest of your life. This is vital. You are responsible for another person. You can't go around pretending you can't do stuff so somebody else will do it because your wife will come to hate you for it.

Secondly, Your life has changed irreversibly. There is no "going back to normal". Normal is gone. You are living in the new normal. There is no point in imagining anything different.

Thirdly, looking after your own child isn't "babysitting". Ever.

Fourth, just because your wife is at home with the baby, you can't come and go at will. You may be her only contact with the outside world for the first couple of months. Don't roll in from the pub three hours late and reeking of beer. It will not go well for you if you do.

Finally, learn to manage the baby. You may not be able to feed it for a few months, but change the nappies, bathe the baby, mop up the vomit etc. Your wife isn't responsible for all of theses things by virtue of having gestated and given birth to the baby. She is not possessed of superpowers that mean she will always know what to do and you can't do anything. Muck in and be a parent. It's important.

#8 ZCE

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:44 PM

One of the best things my husband and I did was split the nights into shifts. From 6pm until midnight the baby was his (I was expressing so he would bottle feed her). If she cried, woke up etc she was his responsibility. This allowed me to catch up on the days chores, shove in some dinner, usually have that shower i hadn't gotten to and then get a few hours uninterrupted sleep before i was back on duty again. This allowed us to both get a good block of sleep.

We worked out that system after my husband found me one morning after 38 hours without any sleep hanging over the bassinet crying saying 'why won't you sleep'. He got straight up and sent me to bed. Called in sick and looked after her for the whole day. Be compassionate and empathetic when dealing with her. She'll be tired, emotional and not really her best self.

Tell her she's doing an awesome job even if the baby is screaming for hours straight. Because that's probably the moment she'll think she's failing and will need that encouragement.

#9 mollybot

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

Get a Jamie Oliver cook book and START PRACTICING.

Also, hire a cleaner for the first three months or so, while you learn how to do it. When your wife surfaces for a few minutes here and there, she'll feel SO much better if she can have a shower and wash her hair, rather than having to do the washing up or laundry because "You're useless". You SO don't want her thinking this about you !!

Lastly - take your Paternity leave AFTER she comes out of the hospital. If she has a normal birth she'll be out in a couple of days, but if she has a Caesar you don't want to lose three or four days (or more !) of your paternity leave while she's in hospital.

Please tell me you're taking Paternity leave ?!

Ooh and my best advice for all new parents - get one of those A4 Vanessa Day Diaries. In hospital they get you to write down when you fed the baby, and for how long, which breast, when you changed them, when they slept etc.

Keep this up when you go home - that way you can easily track your baby's rhythms and routines and at the same time, when one of you takes over from the other, you can see at a glance that the baby was fed 30 minutes ago, but hasn't had a nappy change - so you can take over from one another  and can immediately see where you're at in the routine.

Edited by mollybot, 16 February 2013 - 05:50 PM.

#10 Madnesscraves

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

I agree with the sharing 'night duties' my husband and I alternates on who got up for the baby if the other wa asleep. We even alternate sleep ins on the weekends.

#11 Manicmum

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Don't view it as helping her but rather being a partner in raising your child and keeping your home functioning and you won't go too far wrong.

Also don't always try to fix things with a quick solution, sometimes a cuddle and thrashing about ideas is more helpful.

Best wishes!

#12 mandala

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:52 PM

Come home on time. When you're counting the seconds until you can have someone else deal with the screaming, having your husband home late is devastating.

Keep track of all the stuff to do. One of the hardest things I find is the thought load of remembering when DS last fed, last slept, do we have enough clothes clean in his size that are appropriate for the weather tomorrow, are we going to run out of milk unless I drag myself out of the house this afternoon... Just having someone else keep track of these things as well and be proactive about it is wonderful.

Sleep - but specifically sleep before midnight. I struggled to nap, and I found sleep after midnight wasn't as refreshing even when I got a fair bit of it. That's what made being home on time so important. It meant I could eat, shower, and get a couple of hours sleep before doing all the night feeds.

Remember that you have known your baby for just as long as your wife has... which means you've had just as much experience in how to change nappies, burp, dress, bathe etc etc. So be confident that you can do those things without 'supervision' and demonstrate it. It's much easier to relax and sleep and recharge if you know you're not going to get questions every two minutes about where the nappies are etc!

#13 whale-woman

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Thing I appreciate most are: bringing me water/tv remote/a tissue etc when I 'm stuck immobile feeding bub for hours on end.(usually its water as you get very thirstyBFing)
Getting me food so I'm not left starving till I get a minute when bub is settled so I can eat. (so not disappearing to eat breaky leaving partner feeding bub - bring her food on a tray and then eat youself)
Holding bub so I can have a shower.
Doing bubs baths/nappy changes as Dads can do these things where Mums are stuck with the endless hours of feeding that they have to do if BFing. (This includes changing bub at night too)
Not getting offended with your partners emotional instability/crying jags/irrationality in the 1st few days after the birth. (not that all woman are like this but I certainly lose the plot with 'baby blues.')
Taking some time off work to support your partner esp when they come home from hospital. My DP only took 2 days off work;whilst I was in hospital and I was severly p*ssed about it.

#14 H3X

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

I like cinnabubbles advice :-) Especially about wanting things to go back to normal - this is the new normal and there's no changing it now! The adjustment is hard for many people (mums and dads) but it only makes things harder to complain about how you wish you still had the life you had pre-baby.

I think it is important to remember that you are both new to this and she won't automatically know what to do with the baby any more than you will. Don't leave things to her because you've never done them before - she's never done it before too! You can do everything with the baby she can do except breastfeed - so make sure you do it!

But having the concern to ask shows you're going to do great!

ETA: When you come home from work and the house is a tip and there's no dinner ready and your wife is sitting on the couch with the baby - DO NOT ask what she's been doing all day. She may crack it!

Also, if your wife has been up in the night feeding/tending the baby and you've been woken by the baby but not had to actually get out of bed it's not a good idea to complain about how tired you are. And lack of sleep generally isn't a competition between you and your wife, so try not to let it become one.

Edited by Hunca Munca, 16 February 2013 - 06:07 PM.

#15 MacFeral

Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

Water and food for your wife, especially if she is breastfeeding. For me, since I was breastfeeding anyway, there wasn't much my hubby could do to help with sleep since I had to get up anyway but I always forgot to eat and drink when I was caught up with the baby.

#16 Mianta

Posted 16 February 2013 - 06:04 PM

Sleep, housework and affection.

Just knowing she is absolutely adored and appreciated by you plus you being ready and willing to take on the workload of the house hold, while she focuses on your baby, will mean a lot to her.

You sound like an amazing husband!

#17 Btexpress

Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:30 AM

Thanks so much for all the input muchly appreciated. Really great advice there. Very good times ahead!!

#18 dimensionk

Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:48 AM

Good luck, you sound lovely! original.gif

As a female, I really enjoyed reading this, gave me more of an idea of what I'm in for and how DH can help. Love the idea of shifts.

#19 Freddie'sMum

Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:59 AM

Firstly OP - good on you for asking.

There has been loads of great advice in this thread already - here's my 2 cents worth:

Apart from breastfeeding - a new Daddy can do absolutely everything else with / for the baby.  You can change the nappies / wash / settle / pat / cuddle / rock / just hold and walk around the house with the little one.

Your wife - regardless of how she gives birth - is going to be an exhausted, hormonal mess - don't take it personally.  She has just been thru the most incredibly experience of her life.

Sleep is a must.  I don't care how you do it - but she will need - NEED - to have some sleep.  If she breastfeeds, at the end of the breastfeed, TAKE THE BABY, change the nappy, settle, rock, pat the baby and just let her get some sleep.

Best wishes.

Edited for spelling.

Edited by Freddie'sMum, 17 February 2013 - 07:01 AM.

#20 Kay1

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:16 AM

Thirdly, looking after your own child isn't "babysitting". Ever.

Fourth, just because your wife is at home with the baby, you can't come and go at will. You may be her only contact with the outside world for the first couple of months. Don't roll in from the pub three hours late and reeking of beer. It will not go well for you if you do.

Finally, learn to manage the baby. You may not be able to feed it for a few months, but change the nappies, bathe the baby, mop up the vomit etc. Your wife isn't responsible for all of theses things by virtue of having gestated and given birth to the baby. She is not possessed of superpowers that mean she will always know what to do and you can't do anything. Muck in and be a parent. It's important.

So true! And remember it is not forever, things really do get easier after those first few months. When things are tough keep telling her how well she is doing and that it will get easier in time (without discounting how crap it is at that moment!).

Wow, reading this thread has made me wish I'd printed it out and given it to DH three babies ago!!! Great question OP and all the best for arrival of your baby. I think you are going to do just fine. original.gif

#21 Kay1

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:17 AM

Oh one more thing. If you wife is BFing and you don't wake at night when the baby cries ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS!!!! ask her how the night was in the morning. ALWAYS!!!

#22 Mpjp is feral

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:25 AM

The best thing dh did for me was to make me feel great, special, important and loved!!!  He did lots of little things to remind me there was still an 'us' and that he thought what I was doing was fantastic/ that I looked great etc etc. He'd also share us feelings about the baby which I loved bc he's a pretty blokey bloke!!

Not that all the practical stuff went astray either!!!

The worst thing he did? Wanted to invite useless fil to stay. So he could 'help'! If you have useless family members...don't invite them to stay w you!!!

#23 Marchioness Flea

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:32 AM

Don't expect your sex life to be 'normal' as soon as she hits the magic 6 week mark. Sex is the last thing on her mind for MONTHS, so do NOT hassle her for sex, do NOT make her need to cater to you as well as a baby who is attached to her for what feels like 20 hours out of every 24.

Intervene with family members if need be. Stop interfering inlaws or family if they nag your wife and tell her she should be doing XYor Z with the baby. It's your child and your family now, you TWO make the decisions, not anyone else.  

And basically, what Cinabubble said!

#24 greenthumbs

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:44 AM

Cinabubble - I love you.

Hope you don't mind, but even though our DS is 18mths old now, I'm going to print your post and put it on the fridge, in really big writing! It still applies this far down the track!

#25 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

My hubby did a lot of the night parenting when he could, and always took ds so I could have a nap.He also did things like pop to the supermarket before work so there was milk and bread etc for lunch so that if I couldn't leave the house I could at least have a piece of toast.He cooked and cleaned and cried with me when I was a mess and laughed with me when something silly happened.
He never badgered me to do anything round the house and was appreciative when I had to the time and energy to actually do something.
I agree with most others tho, sleep is the business.

Edited by lucky 2, 17 February 2013 - 10:02 AM.

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