You’ve done it! You and your partner have gotten through the pregnancy and all the things that go along with it, and now you’ve got a beautiful new baby to bring home. The nursery is ready, the crib has been built, and it’s time to go home and begin your new life as a parent. But what does that mean? Well, it means life is going to change in many wonderful ways. Let’s take a look at what to expect.
The very first thing you should expect is doing a lot of work. Mom will be tired and need both time and space to recover from the birth. So all those household chores that existed before the baby? They still exist now, and it’s likely going to be part of your job as a new father to pick up the slack. There’s going to be a lot more laundry, for example, and chances are mom won’t be able to help for a little while. If you are lucky and friends and family are close-by, there will probably be many people who are happy to lend a hand — take advantage of that! Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. People are so thrilled about that new baby that chances are they will be ready, willing and happy to help.
Getting used to being a father is going to be new and exciting, and sometimes it will be difficult. Sleep is going to be a whole new thing, and there will be times when you can’t realistically expect to get a lot of it. Your baby will cry and need things at all times of the day and night, and while mom is there for a lot of it, you will need to pitch in quite a bit. This is also a wonderful way to begin the bonding process with your child. Sure, breastfeeding moms have that well in hand, but when baby is done eating, then it can be your time. Learn the right way to hold and burp your baby after they eat — the nurses and doctors will have helped you out with this before you left the hospital, so take their advice and snuggle that warm, beautiful new creature in your life. Holding your baby close and giving lots of physical attention is how bonding works, for both of you. Enjoy it and do it as often as possible.
There will be diapers. Oh boy, will there be diapers. No matter what kind you and your partner have decided to use — disposable or cloth — diapers are a now a huge part of your life. How and when to change them is the first priority, and it’s something you will learn fast, mostly out of necessity! But you will also need to make sure there is always a good supply on hand. And if you start to run out, chances are you will be the one making a run to the store, especially in those first few days of mom’s postpartum recovery. Be prepared to run all the errands.
The house is going to show some signs of getting used to the new baby as well, and by that we mean things might be more of a mess than you were used to before. And that is okay. Getting a little behind on house cleaning is normal for every new parent, so don’t panic about dishes in the sink or forgetting to vacuum. This is another area where the help of friends and family can be invaluable, so do ask for help if you need it. Keep things organized and clean in baby’s room and all the areas the baby will be — that’s the most important thing.
Support your partner. In addition to learning all the new things you both now have to incorporate into everyday life, her body has been through a lot and she will need time to recover. Physically and emotionally, things can be a little harder for a new mom than for a new dad, so this is time for patience and lots of support. Help her when she asks for it, and don’t be afraid to offer if she doesn’t. She might not know when to ask or when to take a little time for herself, so it’s part of your job to know when to step in and give her a break. Plus that means extra father bonding time for you and your new baby, and that is always a good thing.
Remember that your obstetrician and medical team is always there to answer questions and offer advice and help. Call our offices any time — we are here to help after the baby is born too!