Having the baby grow inside and make his debut into the world is an entirely different experience for the mom than it is for the dad. The mom would have already started to bond with the baby in a unique way, seeing as her body would have been taken hostage for 9+ months. Even though dads see women being pregnant, they don't understand it in the same way.
Once the baby is born, it might take them some time to warm up to this amazing little creature. Lots of dads are kind of afraid of the baby seeing as he/she will be so small. They don't want to break him/her. Other dads will jump right in and hog the baby from you. As you transition from your birth baby high to the reality of everyday life, you might realize that dad is utterly clueless about some things. Of course, sleep deprivation doesn't help, but you might need to help coach him along as you both navigate the murky waters of being new parents.
Communication will be essential as always, but especially in these first few weeks. Don't let the fact that he is clueless about something be an excuse for him not to do something you need help with. You will be still healing, and he might need to learn a few new things. When the baby is so little, mama does a lot of the feeding work because that's just how it is. So they sometimes struggle to fit in. Welcome to fatherhood buddy! Speak up if you need help. Dads, they want to help but often just don't know how.
16 The Art Of Feeding
Breastfeeding can be kind of awkward for dads. I'm not talking because your boobs are out in front of pretty much everyone but because they can't really help. They can heat up the heating packs and run to the store for nipple cream.
But when it comes to feeding the baby, they can't really do much since breastfeeding is the mama's job, this can make dad feel a little out of place during feedings. You can include the dad by having him bring you the baby before a feeding and helping burp the baby after.
Even though it might be natural for you to want to do everything the dad is just waiting to help!
They will be completely clueless about how painful those first few latches can be. They will gawk the first time you get out your pump and be amazed at the entire process. Then there will come the dad he'll have to point out the fact that you have just leaked all over your light colored shirt. He will also likely bring you the baby and say he/she is hungry any time they cry.
15 Those Cravings
Pregnancy cravings are always talked about, but nobody tells you about the postpartum cravings especially if you are breastfeeding. The cravings paired with your huge appetite could be very similar if not more exaggerated than being pregnant. Just think about it your body is going through so many hormone changes after you have a baby just like when you were pregnant.
So when your craving that juicy cheeseburger at 2am, he will wonder why you are still acting pregnant. You will be extra hungry and thirsty all the time especially in those first few weeks. Give him a list of snacks when he does his grocery run. You will want to stock up on things that are easy to grab and high in protein.
Aside from food cravings, you might have some lifestyle cravings as well such as a full nights rest, ten minutes to shower alone, to feel human again. Likely that when you are laying in bed feeding your babe at 2 am dreaming of sleep the dad will have no idea what is going on! If you need a break in the middle of the night wake him up. Parenting should be all on the mama work together as a team!
14 The Long Recovery Process
Even if dad saw you push the baby out even was in the OR during a c-section he may not fully comprehend what your body just went through. You are going to be super sore, and you have to take it easy. Aside from the pain of just giving birth postpartum pain & discomfort can take several weeks to subside. If you are breastfeeding, this can also be uncomfortable at first as well.
When he plans something out of the house at two weeks postpartum, and you are not feeling up to it, you might have to remind him that a watermelon-sized human made its way out of you recently and you still need time to heal up.
You will be rocking the mom pads for a few weeks after delivery, and it's less than comfortable to be off doing things in one of those. He will have no idea what down there feels like. Most doctors will tell you have also had to wait at least six weeks before intercourse the first time after having a baby can be a bit scary as your not sure if it's going to hurt. You might also have to explain that to him beforehand.
13 How It's Worse Than PMS
After having a baby, most moms bleed for at least four weeks some bleed longer others bleed less. During your healing process blood will be similar to a heavy period. Bleeding can slow down and then spike back up again if you overdo it.
Mesh undies and diaper pads will be your best friend. He won't have any idea what is going on down in lady town.
He won't know what it is like to bleed through the pad or have to get up in the middle of the night not because the baby is up but because you have to refresh some things going on down there. Super fun stuff dads get to be completely obvious too.
If you didn't stock up enough beforehand on lady supplies or you underestimated the amount you'd need this will be a great fun errand to get him out of the house for a bit. If he has not ever bought feminine products for you, this will probably be the time you will have to send him out for something. If he normally buys your tampons, then he should be able to find the maxi pads okay. Send him with pictures of what you need.
12 Forever On The Emotional Side
Hormones are entirely out of wack after you have a baby. You might just look at your baby and start sobbing tears of love. Or maybe it is a sappy commercial on TV that does it. Or you're SO brought back the wrong brand of food, and you start uncontrollably crying. He might be completely clueless as to your feelings and 'unfeelings' about everything, but likely you will be clueless too. If you are feeling emotional and need to take a breather let him know so, he wants to watch the little one, and you can go cool down in the shower or snuggle up alone for a few moments.
On top of hormones, you will be filled with mama worry about the baby pretty much 24/7 which he may not completely understand. The hormones will eventually even out, and you will not be crying at every little thing but until then try to let him know if something is upsetting you even if it is something super silly. Let him know how he can be supportive of you at this time and just know feeling crazy will not last forever. It would not hurt to remind him it will soon pass as well.
11 Diaper Changes
Even you will be surprised by how many diapers such a small human will go through in a day. Changing diapers on such a baby can be somewhat terrifying for the dad. You might have to explain how to wipe properly and how to fold the diaper down in the front, so it does not rub weird on the healing belly button. Dads also might be completely clueless when it comes to when the right time to change the diaper is.
For the first few weeks anytime the baby cries dads tend to assume that he/she is hungry but remind him to check the diaper.
Dads might not fully comprehend in the middle of the night that since you are likely the one feeding the baby all night he can't get up and help with diaper changes. Some dads do this without being asked, but others need to be asked. Just be clear with expectations and ask for help when you need it. If you look like you have everything under control that sometimes they will not offer to help. Watching a dad change a diaper might be somewhat painful to watch the first few times but just let him do his thing he is just trying to help.
10 Carseat Safety
If this is your first baby chances are you, as the mama, have heavily researched things like car seat safety. You know how to install, where the chest clip goes, how long your baby should stay rear facing and all that good stuff. But dads might not even know how to buckle the car seat properly let alone install it. You will probably have to have a conversation about car seat safety and all the how-tos of getting the bub into the car safely.
Aside from the dad, this will also be a conversation you will have to have with anyone who takes your baby. You would be surprised how many people do not know the basics of car seat safety.
Did you know? Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. Three out of four car seats are not used or installed correctly. (source Safe Kids) This is one of those life or death things that really matters and is important to do right every single time.
9 Where The Arms Go
Dressing a newborn can be far from easy. But sometimes for dads, this can be totally new and somewhat scary. They do not want to break the baby, and half the time they do not even know where the arms go. If the dad is going to dress the baby if you are looking for a comedy show go ahead and pick out that super complicated outfit with 27 million buttons. But if you are looking for some help real quick maybe grab something a little more user-friendly that will not result in so much of a struggle-fest for him.
There might be times that your baby will end up with two legs in one hole or a onesie on completely backward but it totally normal and will likely continue into toddlerhood. Now you would think it would get easier to dress as they get older but plot twist it will get harder as they become more mobile. They will start to roll around during changing time, and when they really level up, they will just get up and run away. Enjoy this stationary changing stage as it sure does not last for long they will be outsmarting you both in no time.
8 Swaddling The Baby
Swaddling the baby isn't always easy. They are so squirmy as newborns. If it the swaddle is not done right, they will break free within seconds which can be super frustrating especially when they sleep more soundly when swaddled. The dad will more than likely totally under-perform in the swaddling department. My husband found YouTube videos to be super helpful and he actually got pretty good at it. Depending on the baby it may take a few different swaddle techniques to find one your baby is comfortable with and sleeps well in. Swaddling can help your baby feel like he/she did in the womb and helps make them feel safe and secure.
If the swaddle blankets are still being kicked off because your baby actually thinks he/she is a magician you can always try one of the swaddle zip ups.
There are many amazing products on the market now that take the idea of a swaddle and have turned it into an amazingly easy-to-use baby product with a zipper or some of them have buttons too. They are practically foolproof and dads will LOVE them. Makes middle of the night diaper changes an ease as well.
7 How To Function Without Sleep
Depending on the dad for some reason, the emotional toll of not sleeping because of a baby is far greater than the college stories they often brag about staying up for 36 hours straight.
They might seem complete like a complete zombie. You might have to repeat yourself 17 million times to get the point across. Dads will be utterly clueless about how to properly function without sleep.
This is always slightly amusing since the mama is normally up more during the night with the baby anyways and is dealing with the recovery process on top of everything else.
Dads will need some extra direction. They need you to communicate. Remember before the baby when they couldn't read your mind it seems that after the baby is born that it just gets worse. Try not to be too hard on him but also make sure to tell him when you need something. You will be both crazy overtired but will both react differently to the lack of sleep. You might go in full mama mode and not even realize how little sleep you have actually gotten while he might completely lose it with the lack of sleep totally depends on the guy.
6 They'll Sleep Right Through
Whoever it was that came up with the phrase "sleep like a baby" clearly had a typo and really meant "sleep like the baby's dad." Dad's have a fantastic ability to sleep through the baby crying in the middle of the night. Your mama ears will be on high alert even when the babies not crying your mind will be playing tricks on you.
Dads for some reason get to skip that "is the baby crying?" moment anytime they hop in the shower.
It is perfectly acceptable to wake him up from his slumber and get him to help you regardless of how much he needs the sleep. I had a few times where I didn't want to wake my husband up because what was the point of us both being awake if I was the one feeding her? But just having the emotional support of someone else knowing what was going on was helpful.
Once my daughter started sleeping in her crib we had a rule that my husband had to go get her for feedings. This worked out great as I didn't feel like I was doing everything all on my own in the middle of the night. Mamas need their rest too. Even though dads can sleep through the baby crying doesn't mean they have to.
5 How To Help You
When you are postpartum and in pain learning how to breastfed and trying to figure out your flow as a momma dads will be confused as to where they fit in. They will not know how to help you or what you need unless to tell them. They offer a million different things, but unless you are able to communicate your needs to them, they will be clueless.
Even though you as a mama will be overwhelmed and trying to do everything it is important to include the dad too. Ask for help and let him do things for you and tend to the baby.
Do not act like you don't need any help because you will. I don't know anyone with a newborn who couldn't use an extra pair of hands.
They might not know you need your boppy from upstairs for nursing or that an extra glass of water by your side will make your day. These will be things you'll have to clue them in one. When the dad asks what he can do be ready with what you need. They want to help they sometimes are just waiting for your cue to tag them in.
4 Reading The Baby’s Cues
One of the biggest pet peeves of having a baby was my husband anytime she cried automatically assuming she was hungry. I knew the difference between her cries pretty much right away from the hungry to the overtired or the change my diaper. They all sounded so different to me.
Not to say sometimes she'd cry and I'd have no idea what was wrong and feel like a total failure but most of the time I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. That came naturally to me and it seems to for most mamas. But for my husband, it was a different story he has no idea a hungry cry from a diaper cry.
Dads might not pick up on the baby's cues right away they might just always think if the baby cries the baby is hungry. You can try to tell them that is not how this works but if yours is anything like mine the kid will be over one and still be 'hungry' anytime she cries. Just keep in mind the baby grew inside you for 9+ months you already have a special bond with the baby and dads may take some extra time to learn these ques.
3 Automatically Saying 'Yes'
There is nothing worse than unexpected house guests after you have just had a baby. It is even worse when your SO cleared them to come over and did not check with you first to make sure you were up for it. It is even better when they forget to tell you they were coming until there was a knock at the front door.
Because dads will be pretty clueless about when a good time to say yes to a visitor is it is a great idea to come to an understanding before the baby comes that he must check with you first. He will be so excited to show his new baby off to anyone and everyone including the crazy family you might not be emotionally ready to deal with. Communication, before he starts inviting people over, will be so vital for you both.
It is okay not to be ready for visitors no matter who they are. It is okay to take time to heal and just bond with your baby before introducing anyone else. Aside from the people you may not want to introduce germs to the baby right away, it is a good rule to have established ahead of time that anyone that isn't feeling well stay far away.
2 Bonding With The Baby
Growing a human is different for the mom since they are the one actually carrying the baby. You start to bond with him/her from the second you find out you are pregnant. You feel those first few kicks and fall in love. Dads do not truly get to experience fatherhood until the first him he holds the baby. When the baby comes out of you-you already know the baby because he/she was inside you. But dads sometimes can feel like a stranger to the baby even though the baby was growing inside you hearing that voice it's just different for them.
It might take them a little while to bond with the baby. My husband was head over heels in love with our daughter from the second she came out, but they didn't really start to have a solid bond until a few months later when she began to interact back then the rest was history. Now all she wants is her dad. It might take the dad a little bit longer than you to have that mooshy-gooshy connection with the baby and this is normal. Skin to skin is a great way to kickstart bonding from day one.
1 Having Realistic Expectations About Leaving
Even more, moms have realistic expectations of what life will be like after a baby is sometimes hard to grasp. For dads, this can be even harder. Sometimes they do not 'get' how much work goes into just simply leaving the house. Often this is because moms tend to do more to get ready to leave and they just do not ever have to think about every little detail.
Could you imagine if we let them pack the diaper bag for a day out without double checking it? If you're SO can successfully do this you have found yourself a keeper.
Dads also do not realize how emotionally draining trying to take a new baby out is. You will worry about every little thing. You might even become a terrible passenger in the car worried about his driving even more so than normal. Taking a baby out you worry about all the germs and people. Your new reality might be staying home a lot more than before. Sometimes dads are clueless to the fact that it is more comfortable and less stress to just stay home with the baby than to go do something. It does get easier but at first staying home is always better as you both get used to your new roles as parents.
Reference: This mama's personal experiences.