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You’re exhausted, confused, sore, and inundated with expected and unexpected visitors. This is the unhappy reality after bringing baby home from the hospital. Sure, you’re excited to be a first (or second, or third) time mom, but there are a lot of not so nice experiences that come right after having a baby. Your husband is probably feeling a lot of these effects too.
It’s easy to forget that you’re not the only person feeling this way. That husband that you made that beautiful little bundle of joy with is going through some pretty hefty emotions too. Even though it’s tough to worry about anyone but yourself and the baby during this incredibly transitional time, just a few changes in the coming days and weeks can make all the difference to the new daddy in your house!
When we first brought our new little one home from the hospital, we had no shortage of stress.
It was during a crazy snow storm in Pittsburgh, our pipes were frozen, our baby came 5 weeks early so we weren’t prepared, and I had a bad case of the baby blues.
My husband, who is always so content and loving, had to deal with all of our craziness all by himself while I healed and took care of our new tiny person…and then still have the energy to help me recover, support me emotionally, and learn to be a new dad. He’s a rock star and never once complained – even when he switched jobs and we moved 7 hours away when that tiny person was just 5 weeks old (if you’ve followed this blog for very long, you know we’re completely insane and make stupid decision like this often 🙂 ).
It finally occurred to me that the love and patience I needed from him needed to flow both ways.
Here are some quick tips to make the transition a little easier on him too –
- Include your husband in decisions with the baby. Even small things like letting him pick out the baby’s outfit can go a long way.
- Don’t criticize his attempts at parenting. It doesn’t matter if a diaper is on crooked or even backwards. Laugh it off. You might not realize it right now, but you’re making amazing memories together that you’ll be able to appreciate one day.
- Give daddy some trust with the new baby. Fight the urge to hover or be present every second. Now that our son is a little older, my husband showers with him on a regular basis. They’ve done this since he was probably 9 months old. My husband puts on old country music that I can’t stand, and they stay in there singing and squealing at each other. My husband wouldn’t trade the one on one time for anything, and I’m betting our little one wouldn’t either.
- Even before the 6 week post-partum “go ahead” there are lots of ways to enjoy some quality “alone time.” Sex is SO important to a marriage, but it doesn’t have to be just intercourse! Find your energy, and then find 10 minutes to enjoy each other. You can read my tips for having an awesome sex life when co-sleeping here. It will do wonders for your own self-esteem after having a baby to see the man you love so much wanting you even after all of the changes your body has gone through (and he should!).
- Take advantage of nap time and have little dates. We like to throw picnics in the middle of our living room floor. Even if you’re too sleep deprived in the very beginning to do anything enjoyable, make some time to snuggle together for your own nap while baby is napping. The oxytocin rush from a short cuddle session might be all the date night you need!
- Never underestimate the power of compliments! Give your husband plenty of kudos for all that he is doing to help you in your recovery and in taking care of the new little one. Plus, positive reinforcement goes a long way in making sure he continues these efforts!
- Ask for help! It might sound counter-intuitive, but feeling needed is exactly what your husband needs right now when your time is mostly taken up by a new baby. Ask him to intervene with unexpected guests, to help figure out something for dinner, to get involved with your nursing relationship with your little one…there are so many ways to include hubby in this new adventure!
Most importantly, try to soak up all of these beautiful moments because they pass too fast! It’s the effort that you’re putting in that will really stand out to your husband. Even if you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open during your picnic dinner date in the middle of the nursery floor, your husband will notice the time that you took to put some emphasis back on your marriage.
Compliments, asking for his help, and appreciating out loud to him the help that he does give you can go a long way in reassuring your husband that he still has the biggest place in your heart after the new baby arrives. Take the time to make your husband feel special during this beautiful time. I promise, you’ll be so happy that you did!
What tips can you offer to first time parents to help each other feel special and included? What are some things you wish you had done when you first brought baby home from the hospital?
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