Appreciating her as the mother of your child is always your best move, as the new part of her is all mom. The passion and strength she brings to motherhood is awesome and worthy of your deep respect, but over time it becomes easy to get used to and take for granted. So before you make your move, look at her with your baby and take a moment for a little love burst. Then let her know how lucky you and your baby are that she is his mother.
BTW, what goes around comes around. As she gets to know the new you, and sees you in action caring for her baby, she will become re-enamored with you. (Our polling indicates maximum effect when you are giving your baby a bath).
This is how your new baby can strengthen your marriage or union.
Biological research tells us why moms dump dads; at birth she gets a flood of oxytocin and then booster shots from her baby every time she holds him. You used to generate most of her oxytocin, but her now overwhelmed system gets more than she needs and doesn’t want any more. It’s tough to get used to her rejecting your caresses and cuddles; your biology helps out some by substantially reducing your testosterone for the first six weeks after the birth.
Plan on getting dumped so you will be able to respond constructively with patience.
Russell: Something New Moms Should Know About New Dads (0:48)
“The hardest part mentally for me is that she's still the center of my universe and I know I'm not the center of hers anymore. This makes me sound spoiled, I'm sure, but remember we've been looking after each other for 10 fun years. I know it's supposed to be this way, and I chose her and I'm attracted to her because she's responsible, but it still feels wrong. I'm not done with the transition yet. I know she’s progressed to a place I haven’t yet, but I know I will get there.” - New Dad
So just be Dad, but be aware some scenes work better than others. Getting your baby to laugh, an innate dad ability, works great, especially when changing a diaper. He will need 6-8 diapers per day, so huge opportunity here.
As mentioned above, we believe giving your baby a bath works best. Assume mom will peak in, adjust your positioning with the baby and perhaps the lighting for maximum impact. Skin-to-skin with your baby works best for maximum bonding. It works with your baby too.
Holding a wet, wiggling, slippery baby the first time can be a little un-nerving, so you might put cotton socks on your hands to give yourself a firm grip.
This may seem harsh too, but it is often difficult for Mom to make the break from her baby. So you may need to be creative in getting her to go out on her own to a massage, mall, friend, or exercise class to clear her mind. Write down all the instructions she gives you, and keep your phone charged for multiple phone calls for your reports. Do not send her photoshopped pictures of your baby doing crazy things you think are funny; she won’t. Save them for her next trip.
Let’s get real; the short one has it all over you, and one whimper and you’re toast. Date night is the answer. You will need to take the initiative, so come up with a fun idea (check your list), schedule it in advance, and be prepared to punt. New parents report the scheduled date strategy works about half the time, so do what you need to make yours work.
Let Her Sleep
She is exhausted; standard procedure for 1st date is for Mom to fall asleep, Dad to be disappointed, and Mom to feel guilty. The 10/10 move would be to arrange for her to sleep, and when she awakes tell her how beautiful she looked. “There will be plenty more times.”
Huge logistics, but the ultimate in courting a new mom. The more time you spend together, the more she switches her focus from “my baby” to “us”. Which is great for “her” baby.
Usually, Mom handles this, but since no babysitter can be trusted, the baby might get hungry or cry and need her, etc., you will need to. Standard recommendations: Ask a friend or relative who is familiar with your baby to watch her for a few hours, preferably at your house. Grandparents work best. If not available:
- Ask her mom friends for referrals.
- Try Care.com.
- Interview babysitter candidates—prepare a list of questions beforehand; act like you are reviewing a candidate for the CIA.
- Ask the sitter for references from other clients and check them.
- With an infant, use someone with experience with babies.
- Ask Mom if you should take any other precautions.
How To Assure Her That Her Baby Will Be OK
You can’t, so arrange a connection for emergencies with your babysitter– your cell phone -and assure Mom that if there is any issue whatsoever, you will be contacted immediately.
While getting out is important, so is relearning to have fun together in your own home. Try a Netflix date, blanket in front of the fire, a puzzle, or music, candles and wine. Establishing a little “our time now” on a regular basis is a milestone for new parents, and even an hour or so while your little angel sleeps works.
“For our anniversary, I gave my wife a box with 5 date nights so we could be husband and wife again after the baby came. One was a bag of popcorn with a “ticket” for a Netflix movie. Another was a bottle of fake champagne so we could sit in the backyard and have it after the baby was asleep. It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you do this, you have five boxed dates ready to go.” - Veteran Dad
“He bought some frames and put pictures of me and the baby up around the house and updated them periodically. I looked at them often, and every time it reminded me how much he appreciated me and our baby.” -New Mom
This was a brilliant move. You can get in the picture too.
With her real issues + click bait from Mommyland worrying her, she can feel all alone. If you think something is up, hold her tight, tell her she is a great mom, and encourage her to tell you what’s on her mind. Just listen.
Applying pressure to get things back on track will backfire. She needs to know your priority is her, not getting back in the sack.
“It’s the little things that are important, like when you walk into the house after work, always kiss her first. That will reassure her that she is every bit of a woman that she has ever been even though she is a mother.” - New Dad