TAKE TIME ALONE
You and your mate are going through dramatic changes, rapidly evolving into Dad and Mom, and you have a new baby to get to know, too. Spending time together alone is the ultimate family time. Some couples take a few days before friends or relatives come to visit, and some just get a few hours every now and then. Make sure your family gets time alone together, and make it count by being together with no disruptions.
“My husband and I decided that during the weekend, we would each get a day. Today he got to sleep in, I took the baby, I wake up with him, feed him, and my husband gets to do whatever he wants. Tomorrow is my day, I get to sleep in, go work out and do whatever I want. It kind of makes us feel normal. It's been a good thing for us."
- New Mom
Shaytards: "Bringing the Baby Home!" (10:20)
Matt: What's in your diaper bag? (3:02)
Mom May Need Encouragement
A new mom may not even get out of her bathrobe for weeks, you may both be up against sheer exhaustion, and she will likely be so highly focused on the baby’s needs, she feels she can't leave. So you'll need to encourage her, and maybe make arrangements with her friend to come and get her. If she calls every ten minutes to make sure her baby is still alive, assure her he is – be patient; it is just her Cave Mom showing up.
When she gets out and detached from the baby, refrain from calling her if you run into a problem at home. Call your mother, her mother, a sister, or neighbor; they will all know what to do, and they should be sworn to secrecy.
Challenges Getting Out Alone with Your Baby
There is no one to encourage you, and your initial challenge will likely be fear. The thought of taking your infant out on your own can be unsettling – until you do it once. Mom may not quite trust you at first, but after a few trips when you bring your baby home safe and sound (no need to report minor problems), there's little she will appreciate more than her time alone, knowing her baby has a great dad.
Don’t wait six weeks for his immune system to charge up; just don’t go where he will be in contact with other people.
“Sometime in that first month, take the baby out of the house for a couple of hours. Even just an hour. And don’t let Mom come with you. It does a couple of things: it gets you stock with Mom because you’re bringing the baby home alive, so it reassures Mom you can take care of the baby. But also, it gets Mom a little bit of time off, too. Because if you’re in the house and say 'go get some rest,' she’s still worried if the baby’s in the other room."
- Veteran Dad
“I'm only 2 weeks into taking care of my new daughter and nothing could prepare me for the batshit insane schedule you're forced into. This little bugger sleeps when she wants, eats when she wants, and poops when she wants. You're completely beholden to that schedule. All you can do is strap in and try to survive each day.”
– New Dad
Thank You For Being Part Of Our Village!
As brand new parents with a beautiful new baby (surely the most amazing creation on the planet), we have a lot going on. As a brand new dad, I'm just getting my Cave Dad on and hopefully you can appreciate me considering you all potential predators. On the other hand, the right help makes a huge difference and we appreciate it, so here is my best attempt to be flexible!
Re: visits with our brand new baby (whose immune system won’t kick in for six weeks):
- Visiting times are [include dates] between [time] and [time].
- No unannounced visits; please text or email first.
- Plan to limit your visit to 30 minutes.
- No children under 10.
- No sick visitors.
- Visitors must wash hands upon entry.
- No waking up the baby. Ever.
- Holding baby:
- Not more than 5 minutes
- Not before X weeks
- No children.
- Mom (and Dad) can’t take care of guests.
- No unsolicited opinions.
- Diaper donations (size X) are appreciated.
- Meals (see list/schedule) are appreciated.
- Help with housework (see list) is appreciated.
- Enforcing the rules is Dad’s job; even if I seem to be enjoying it, I am just protecting my baby.
- No drama, criticisms, competition for the baby, etc.
Matt: Dealing with Visitors (1:23)
Edel & Ryan: Dealing with Visitors (2:02)
“Set boundaries, space it out. Immediate family right away but for short visits. Make sure anyone visiting is helping. Too many visitors, people hanging and fawning over baby too long... it's disruptive. You need time to bond with baby and baby needs time to adjust to the world and some sort of routine. If you want them there the day of birth, fine... but shouldn't they ask? And be okay if maybe it's the next day or something? We waited until the day after the baby was born to have the in-laws. My parents came a few days later. Siblings the first week as well. Extended family can wait a bit. On the other hand, I have friends who had family in the room during the birth. Whatever works for you, but it's up to you, not them.”
“What do you and your wife want? Truly supportive friends/family will want you to do what's best for you, your exhausted wife, and your tiny, vulnerable baby. Truly supportive people will not "insist" on anything. They will tell you their wishes, and you can accommodate them within the bounds of your wishes. Make a visiting schedule that works for you and your wife, and then invite them at the times laid out in your schedule. If they aren't able to make it, then maybe you can work something out later. Most people will be understanding.”
“As far as in-laws, you want them to relieve stress, not add to it. So you need to figure out - are they the type to help you take care of things around the house? That first month, it’s hard to keep the house up, so if they’re really helpful in the sense of doing housework, definitely have them. But, you still need to be on your guard to make sure your wife isn’t stressing out about having guests.”
"Set boundaries, space it out."
- New Dad
Russell: Put Them to Work (1:13)
"We were a**holes about it. We didn't want anyone around. It was our time."
- New Dad