We’ve talked about this before, but the postpartum stage is hard (I mean, it’s sometimes called the fourth trimester for a reason!). You’ve made it through the long haul of pregnancy and birth, but that’s when things like nursing and sleeping really come into play; and it’s not always easy, as some would lead you to believe.
Neither of my newborns and infants liked sleep very much, and with issues like colic, a dairy intolerance, and tongue tie, we had our battles with nursing, as well. It can be extremely frustrating. On top of that, since husbands aren’t capable of nursing or taking any of that load off of our shoulders, it feels isolating and lonely sometimes, too.
That’s why we love this post by California-based dad Muhammed Nitoto. He took to Facebook to share a post about what dads should do while their partners are breastfeeding, and we’re not the only ones who are absolutely here for it. The post is spreading like wildfire, and for good reason!
So here’s what he has to say.
1. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.
2. Ask mom if she can pump and then pick one feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times, you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.
3. Don’t put a time limit on how long mom breastfeeds the baby. It’s not just about feeding your child, it’s about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a dad it’s hard to fully understand. Do not I repeat DO NOT try and rush this process. It’s not our place.
4. Be patient. I know as a dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and not as important yet. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger bigger they get the more daddy time will be coming your way.
5. Take paternity leave! If you have it, TAKE IT. The early stages of a child’s life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn’t make you more of a man to not take the leave. It’s equally as important that you as a dad get to be a part of the early development of your child.
I think the tip that I find the most important is the first one. My husband, bless him, woke up for almost every feeding in the beginning of our newborns’ lives. It helped me to not feel so alone in the middle of the night, and like were a team. He would change our little one’s diaper and hand them to me to feed. Talk about support.
The thing that is the most lovely about this post is that it’s expecting men to take part in the work (and joy) of parenting a newborn. Mom has both the privilege and hardship of growing the baby, and a lot of the time is solely responsible for sustaining their life through nursing. Sometimes, it seems, men feel helpless and useless, and therefore they shy away from a lot of the caretaking. Nitoto’s post encourages men to be active both in helping their partners and in connecting with their newborns.
What are some things that your partner did in the early days of parenthood that you found helpful? We would love to hear!
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.