“My husband mellows me out when I start to worry too much or read too much…we balance each other out.”- Veteran Mom
"You can’t micro-manage; you can’t gatekeep; you can’t tell dad to do it your way. But it’s so hard, especially when the baby's crying, because you feel like you know how to make them stop. Like you know what the problem is and you just want to say, 'Do what I say and she’ll be fine.'" - Veteran Mom
"I read an article on how dads are often being ignored through the whole pregnancy and I got really emotional. I said to my boyfriend, 'I just want you to know I really and truly appreciate every single thing you’ve done and how you’ve jumped on this roller coaster with me.' That made his whole life, me just saying it and thinking about it. He was like, “All right...we’re in it together.'” - Veteran Mom
“Make it clear what you need. We can’t assume that Dad knows how to best meet our needs, particularly when we can’t or don’t always express them.” - Veteran Mom
“When our baby was about eight months old, communication started to break down, and we had to reconnect, reevaluate. He had a lot to say and so did I. You have to constantly be revisiting that kind of stuff. So talk now and talk often.” - Veteran Mom
"Seeing how tender he is with the baby, this big guy, is just...wow. But you’re so tired and you have no energy to give your husband. We try to take half an hour together after the baby goes to bed." - Veteran Mom
“It’s critical to maintain a relationship with Dad once the baby is born. A newborn demands the majority of your time and attention, and eventually that might make Dad feel left out or not as important. Spending quality time together when the baby sleeps, or even just thanking him for his help, makes a huge difference. A solid relationship between you and Dad is the best foundation for raising your family.” - Veteran Mom
“Sometimes you just need to leave the dishes in the sink or the laundry unfolded. We never regretted taking a little break. It helped to keep us connected.” - Veteran Mom
Dad’s encouragement and support for you is crucial, but it’s easy to blow him off when you’re feeling frustrated and insecure. Let him be positive, constructive, and creative in helping to boost your confidence, and believe him when he says you’re doing a great job and how much he appreciates you: it’s all true!
Don’t be surprised if it isn’t love at first sight. Many moms experience challenges bonding with their babies right away. Dad can offer a sympathetic ear you trust and point out everything you’re doing right for your baby. And by the way, mothers who get a late start in bonding go on to develop as strong a relationship with their babies as those who get an early start.
His natural desire to protect your new family can be channeled directly into managing the flow of well-intentioned visitors who show up to see the baby in the first weeks after birth. Ask him to pay attention to your (and your baby’s) stress level when receiving visitors and politely bring things to an end when you’ve all had enough. He can also establish and enforce ground rules like hand washing before holding the baby.
If (when, for most moms) the baby blues surface, Dad can help lighten your load, encourage you to get out of the house, and remind you that it’s absolutely normal. If you’re slipping into a postpartum mood disorder, Dad may likely be the first (or only) one close enough to notice the symptoms. If he does, it’s important to immediately consult professional help. Dad can take care of the baby and ask friends and relatives for support. He can also reassure you that it will pass and you’ll get through it together.
“After the C-section, I was out of commission…He became the Zen master of changing diapers and all that stuff. It's something that's concrete and fixable; there's no guess work involved, so he could tackle it and take it on." - Veteran Mom