Women are usually stuck with most of the work done to meet the needs of a growing baby. They are expected to do everything on their own and prepare themselves with reading books and watching videos about different aspects of baby care. However, it is actually the responsibility of both parents to work together for their baby’s sake. This lifts a lot of pressure from the mother’s shoulders and makes her more relaxed for the benefit of the whole family. A good relationship is fostered between the man and his wife when they share chores and help each other out.
After a tremendously exhausting pregnancy and a draining birth, a woman needs all the help she can get to maintain a balanced life. A baby means not only a lot of work because of feeding, clothing and health care, but also a lot more housework in the form of dishes, laundry and cleaning. This is where the role of the husband becomes crucial. Contrary to popular opinion, a man’s help is not an accessory, but an absolute necessity.
Breastfeeding means that the baby will be attached to the mother almost constantly. Yet, if the baby is not breastfeeding exclusively, or not breastfeeding at all, it means that the mother can catch a break while someone else takes over the task of feedings. Below we discuss 15 ways in which a man should help his wife when a new baby is added to the family.
15 Preparing And Cleaning Bottles
When a baby is not breastfed, there is a countless number of bottles that make their way to the sink, the kitchen table and the nightstand. This does not even count the bottles that need preparation and feeding. One of the best ways to help out is to prepare feedings for the baby so that mom can either rest or take care of other chores. Another way is to always make sure that the bottles are clean and sterilized so they do not run out of clean ones when they need them.
Usually, bottle-fed babies are on a schedule, unlike breastfed babies who feed on demand. Keeping track of the timing of feedings will help a mother, who is already distracted and tired, make sure that the baby is fed regularly. Some mothers add vitamins or medication to the formula as the baby needs it. Preparing those bottles as well gives a mother peace of mind that she does not need to worry about her baby’s feeding.
14 Nighttime Feedings
Sleep deprivation is the highlight of the first few months of life with a newborn. If anyone asks a mother what she wishes for in this stressful period, she will definitely answer that she needs a nap! Helping out with nighttime feedings can work wonders for a woman’s health and wellbeing. As little as 3 hours of continuous sleep can make a huge difference for her. Formula-fed babies, especially those who are newborn, need several feedings per night. This translates into waking up several times at night, including those that are due to colic or teething.
Some men are unable to wake up at night if they work the traditional 9-5 schedule or what resembles it. That does not mean that they should back out of helping altogether. Waking up at least a single time per night can make a difference, and helping out during the weekends should be a must. It provides a feeling of a helping hand that takes the pressure off.
13 Diaper Changes
Changing diapers may not seem like a big deal, especially considering how parents get used to it so fast. It takes a few minutes, but repeating it several time a day makes it a heavy chore. Combined with all other necessities for the baby, the effort adds up. The mother’s condition as a constantly tired person makes every little chore, no matter how fast it can be finished, seems monumental.
Dads must always learn to change diapers. This allows them to take care of the baby in the mother’s place when she is napping or tending to another errand. A baby must never be left with a dirty diaper, and fathers do not have to interrupt mothers’ sleep or stress her out when she is busy just because a baby needs a nappy change. This is something basic that they absolutely have to learn so they can be helping hands for their partners.
12 Give Her Lots of Love
With a sea of chores and a never-ending to-do list, love and sex take a backseat in the lives of new parents. It is not about a lack of attraction between them as much as it is about the lack of energy and time. Paradoxically, this is a time when the parents actually need love the most. At a time when a woman is recently done with pregnancy and has little to no time for self-care, she needs to feel loved.
A man must always make time for a hug, appreciate what his wife does and let her know that their love is a constant thing that is not shaken by a difficult time or temporary physical drawbacks. Simple gestures go a long way at such a tiring period of their lives. Love must never decline on the list of priorities. It is one of the ways a woman gains the emotional wellbeing necessary for her to resume this journey.
11 Let Her Vent!
Talking is one of the many ways a couple can connect to each other. When a baby arrives, a woman may not seem like the most fun company to be with, considering the monumental pressures on her. It is worth noting that motherhood, especially stay-at-home motherhood, is very isolating. Even working women find their maternity leave chaining, as though they were kidnapped from the world and trapped in a draining zone with endless demands.
To help, a man must always make time for talking with his wife. He must acknowledge her feelings and make her feel better about herself. Allowing her to vent her feelings in their conversations is a key way of lightening her load. Many mothers find the emotional aspect of motherhood more damaging than any physical effort. Men must never underestimate their roles as emotional support for their partners, because women really need that kind of companionship.
10 Help With Cooking
Some people are passionate about cooking. They like to search for and cook the tasty recipes in their kitchen. They feel a sense of accomplishment when a meal turns out as good as planned. New mothers, however, are a different story. They may normally love cooking, but at a time when baby chores are the new background of their lives, getting creative is the last priority for them.
A man needs to help his wife with meal preparation. This includes baby meals if the baby is on solid foods or purees. A good way is to try and cook healthy food. Many women are trying desperately to lose weight after the baby is born, but have no time to prepare salads or buy specific ingredients for a new diet. Filling in the position of chef in the house is an extremely supportive and appreciated way of helping out a new mother.
9 Washing The Dishes
Cooking delicious food comes with a price. People always assume that the effort is the downside of cooking, but in reality, it is the more work that needs to be done afterwards. Dishwashing can be a heavy chore. The more a couple cooks, the more dishes they have. If they have a baby who eats solids foods, but can’t seem to like any of the food they cook, that means even more trial and error dishes.
Cooking and dishes come hand in hand and therefore the responsibility must be split. When a wife cooks, a man must do the dishes, or vice versa. There might not be strict schedule that dictates who does which chore, but as long as the man in helping out, things will be balanced. Food preparation is often a daily thing, which means that the trail of dishes in endless, and that is where the help is needed.
8 Take Her A Cup Of Coffee Or Tea
Drinking coffee is one of the many ways mothers try to be alert enough to maintain her new life. When the baby isn’t breastfeeding, a mother does not have to worry about her daily caffeine intake. This makes coffee an ideal drink for new mothers. If a mother is into coffee, preparing her caffeine fix is the equivalent of helping out in an actual chore.
Coffee time does not always have to be about making the mother alert. Sharing two cups of coffee together during the baby’s nap is an excellent way to bond as a couple. Even an hour of talking and having a simple drink together can work wonders for their relationship and welling. If the baby tends to take a late-night nap or sleep for a couple of hours at the beginning of the night before waking up to feed, this makes an excellent time frame for this much-needed meeting.
7 Rock-a-bye Baby
Rocking a baby to sleep is a common way to soothe babies and help them relax before they actually fall asleep. Yet, it can take a toll on a mother’s back. Back pain is a common issue among new mothers for this reason, among many others. A father who takes the mother’s place in such a chore is saving her a lot of effort.
Babies also need to be lifted and walked around with when they are tired and cranky. Some babies cry inconsolably when they have colic, are sick or in pain because of teething. Even if it is not bedtime, soothing the baby physically is an amazing way to help the mother maintain her health, by not being the one stuck responding to this back-breaking demand all the time. Some mothers leave the delivery room with back problems to begin with, so they are unable to handle any further effort.
6 Taking Care Of The Pets
Taking the baby out for a stroll is a good way to help a new mother. She can take a break from all the crying when the father takes the baby out. If they have a family pet, a good idea is to take the baby out in a stroller, or a baby carrier, along with walking the pet on a leash. This gives the father a chance to bond with the baby while letting the mother rest. It can also be a huge relief if someone else can take over feeding the pets and taking care of their toileting needs.
Another advantage is that the baby is exposed to the outdoors. As long as there are no extreme weather conditions, it is healthy for the baby to take a walk and see the outside world. If the option of going to a park and see some trees is there, a baby will get a chance to get in touch with nature. Everyone in the family could use some fresh air, including the father who might be stressed himself.
5 Drive To Daycare
Some mothers, especially those who work, require day care for their babies. Even stay-at-home mothers like to get their babies into part-time daycare, so they can combine the advantage of social interaction with other babies with the excellent care of a mother at home. Driving to daycare is a heavy chore, because it requires a lot of preparation, like getting dressed and dealing with traffic. A father who drives his baby to daycare on his way to work is doing his wife a huge favor.
Around seven months old, separation anxiety develops. A baby gets too attached to parents and refuses daycare workers, even if he/she previously enjoyed their company. Taking a baby to daycare lets the mother get a break from the 24-hour attachment that the baby exhibits at home. If a mother is working, her tight schedule may make it difficult for her to drive the baby. If a father has a more flexible schedule, driving the baby makes for a significant assistance.
4 Sibling Love
When the baby is born, he/she is not always the first child. With older siblings at home, a baby is an extra effort for parents, above what they are already dealing with. An amazing helping strategy is to handle the older siblings to make room for the mother to take care of the new little one. Driving to school, feeding, clothing, and helping with homework are a few things to do instead of the mother.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon for siblings to have issues with a new baby. They could get jealous of the attention and care the new baby is getting. Spending time with older siblings and the baby will help them bond together. The entire load is lifted from the mother when all the children are taken care of at the same time, with the added plus of the father spending some quality family time.
3 Break The Bank A Little
When a baby is born, a lot of expenses are added to the family. Whether the man is the primary breadwinner or both parents work and provide for the family, money is needed to afford the baby’s needs. This often drives men to adopt a more constraining approach to spending, so they can make ends meet successfully. Often, this translates into giving up some of the luxuries a mother is used to.
It does not make sense to ask a father to spend a lot of money on his wife at such a tight time. However, the simplest acts of generosity can have a big impact. Walking in the house with roses, taking her out to dinner, or at least paying for a babysitter to give her a break are some of the ways a father can use his money for the benefit of his wife.
2 Girls’ Night Out
Taking full charge of the baby for several hours is one of the ways a father can offer help. To overcome the isolation that comes with the new lifestyle with a baby, letting a mother have a night out with her friends can work magic for her mood. Reconnecting with friends lifts her spirit and makes her less likely to miss her old self. A small portion of her pre-pregnancy life is much-needed during this period.
For this arrangement to succeed, a father must be able to do everything on his own. If a mother is not breastfeeding, there will be no restrictions about when she must rush home to feed the baby. She will happily arrange for a specific time to get home, as long as she is aware that the father can handle everything in her absence. She will come home full of positive energy and will be able to continue her chores with more cheer.
Gaining weight during pregnancy makes her self-esteem decline. With the addition of the lack of human interaction, she feels even less about herself. Quitting work, even temporarily, makes her sense of self go down. Lessened social interaction means fewer compliments, less opinion given to friends and less fun stuff to do. Life becomes dull and boring and the mother starts feeling bad about her looks and her life.
To avoid such a negative impression from taking over her, a father must give his wife positive comments on her looks and let her know that she is deeply loved and appreciated. He must always make her feel desirable, even if sexual interaction lessens, because it has a great impact on her self-esteem. He must encourage her to pursue her interests and feel better about herself. A hobby that can be done at home, such as painting, can be maintained. The simplest of accomplishments can make her feel better about herself at such a difficult time.