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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nitty Gritty Postpartum Tips for Fathers and Co-Parents

Thinks he has it all figured out...

Many couples separate during the tribulations of new parenthood, the majority occurring in the first year postpartum.  Dads and other Co-parents, here are some helpful tips that will help you get along.  This is my first attempt at making my blog male-friendly.

  • If mom complains about breastfeeding, don't respond "Well at least you don't have to pay the bills!" or, "Just let me give him a bottle".
Instead:  Ask mom how you can make it easier.  If she doesn't know, make her tea, bring her water, help her latch and position baby or simply sit next to or look into her and baby's eyes while they nurse. Demonstrate appreciation. She is, after all, providing the ultimate sustenance to your child.

  • Don't ask for sex, let her initiate the sex talk.
Instead: Find creative ways to be intimate.  Reduce her stress, help her regulate it, and she'll be interested in sex sooner.

    •  If she makes a mess, don't complain about how messy she is, or how she has a problem with cleanliness.
    Instead:  Tell her she must be having difficulty caring for herself and the baby and you will do your part by cleaning so they can have a comfortable environment.  Trust that she will do more as she adjusts.

    • If baby is having a crying spell, and mom is stressed out, it's up to you to be the calm one.  Refrain from comments like "I told you those greens were going to give the baby gas", or my mom did it alone and she survived".
    Instead:  Allow the baby to cry and release stress, in your calm embrace, away from mom's earshot.

    • If she asks you not to touch her, don't comment on hormones or postpartum depression.  
    Instead: Understand that having a baby latched to you 24/7 can be draining.  A new mom might feel her identity has been taken away overnight.  All she needs is some time with herself.  Offer to take the baby for a walk around the block.

    • If your  mother comes over and makes comments on parenting, STAY MUTUAL.
    •  Give her a massage and backrub when she looks tense.  Try not to make a move, though.
    • If she asks you to cook a meal because she needs a break, cheerfully do so.  Don't tell her you're too tired to clean up the mess and bring back fast food.
    •  If at any point, she loses it, stay calm.  If she needs professional assistance, bring it up with love and compassion.  Remind her you love her unconditionally, and that you will support her during this time of growth. 
      First few days can be tough for the whole family.

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