“Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary — it’s an act of infinite optimism.” – Gilda Radner
Becoming a mom is a whirlwind! Within a few hours, you go from being pregnant to giving birth to becoming the food machine. The physical, hormonal, and emotional changes that happen are truly an experience. That first 24 hours still boggles my mind with the amount of change that takes place. After getting moved to my hospital room, my daughter was crying, and I knew I was supposed to feed her. I didn’t know how to nurse properly yet. My husband pressed the button for the nurse to come to assist us by saying “Can someone come help? We don’t know what we’re doing.” That summed up the experience in the hospital as new parents! You muddle through and do your best with this tiny human that you have been imagining for months. It can be challenging to know exactly how to help if your partner during the postpartum phase especially if they are able to breastfeed. The newborn phase, otherwise known as the fourth trimester, really takes a toll on parents. Below are few ways that you can support your partner during the postpartum phase:
Change the Diapers
If your partner is handling input, you handle output! It is a huge help while your partner is getting situated for another feeding to have one less thing to worry about. Change. The. Diapers!
Keep Her Hydrated and Fed
Breastfeeding makes a woman ravenous and parched! Get her a snack or glass of water while she is feeding the baby. By keeping the new mom in your life hydrated and well-fed, you are helping feed your new baby.
Support Her Mental Health
With all the physical changes and sleep deprivation, a mother’s mental health can take a nosedive easily. Ask her how she is feeling regularly. Postpartum mental illnesses are very common and do not just show up as postpartum depression or anxiety. If your partner is feeling off, be sure to have her reach out to her healthcare provider. Early support for a new mom is key!
Let Her Nap
Did She have a difficult night where the baby was cluster feeding? Take the morning shift. A solid two or three hours as a new mom are essential to survive.
Ask for Help
My firstborn had terrible colic! She would cry from 7 PM until 7 AM for the first few weeks of her life. The sleep deprivation was next level. One of the biggest blessings during this time was that my mom and mother-in-law were HUGE support during the postpartum phase. They helped me survive. Ask family or friends to come help watch the baby, so you and your partner can sleep. Don’t be too proud to let those that love you, be there for you.
Support Her Boundaries with Others
Everyone wants to see the new bundle of joy, but sometimes you have to say “no.” Be sure to remain a united front when it comes to the needs of the whole family. Whether that is not kissing your baby on the face (especially right now) or limiting company (again especially right now.) You are the parents and you’re entitled to say “no.” It is healthy even if it is uncomfortable.