Dad’s Baby Shower
On Sunday, we had a baby shower for my sister-in-love. This was no ordinary baby shower where the soon father to be drops off his wife and everyone screams surprise and then leaves to go hung out with the guys till the mother designate calls and he comes over, says thank you and off they go. The organiser, an amazing lady and one I am happy to know did and excellent job. Sunday being the Father’s Day, she though it necessary and important that the dads stayed over.
When our son was born, there are things I saw my husband do and always wanted him to tell other dads to make their lives easier. Very often, the mother is given advice from here to South Korea and back but no one ever has much expectation on the dad and for some reason, the mother is supposed to know everything. No wonder we have a lot of women suffering post-partum depression and fatigued men who do not understand what their wives are going through.
If there was anything dads would share with other dads, this is what they would; at least this is what I heard from the baby shower.
It is not that your wife is not paying you attention anymore; it is just that, you used to get all the attention but now there is another little one who demands her attention as well. And because the Little One is so helpless, they demands immediate attention compared to you, so remember she still cares and she is learning to adjust her hands and muscles to accommodate the new menu on her plate. How you can help, stand in for her with other baby needs, this will help her relax and be able to give you the attention. Remember, happy mummy, happy baby, happy home.
New house rules
So there are some things you used to do around the house that you might have to change, not because the baby has taken your place but, hey. Before baby adjusts, just adjust yourself a little bit. For example, remember not to bang the door, not that you have been banging, but instead of pulling the latch and it locks with a noise, turn the latch then pull the door. This will be especially helpful in the early morning because the baby is in light sleep and the ‘banging’ might just wake him up.
You are both learning
Just because she carried the baby for 9 months does not mean she know everything, she probably has read more than the husband but truth is, you are both rookies trying to find your way around the baby and his world. Cut her some slack when she doesn’t know what to do, google, ask on her behalf, get information for her.
Mothers tend to think they are super mums and will hardly ask for help not unless they are crumbling. Dear new father, help her and even when she doesn’t ask, offer to help. I remember when we came from hospital, my husband took over with the baby, the baths, the diaper changes, the only thing he could not do was breastfeed. As time went by, I stretched myself to try and do everything, especially after he went back to work, I forgot to ask for help, he would ask what can I do and I had to take time to think what help I needed because I was used to doing everything myself. Step in, pack the bag for the baby, take over the baby as she packs and gets ready for you guys to leave. This actually helps her know what to ask you to do the next time you ask her how you can help.
When the baby eventually starts bottle feeding, take over one of the night feeds and let her catch a few extra hours of sleep. It might seem like she is not doing so much because you leave the house everyday and come back in the evening and all she did was stay with the baby at home. It is hard work to care for the Little One, lend a hand as often as possible.
In the midst of breastfeeding, diapers, and trying to understand this new baby that you just brought into the world, the mother might feel lost, overwhelmed and not pretty. Remind her that she is an amazing woman; remind her about the miracle she partnered with God to create.
Connect with baby
Mothers almost automatically connect with their baby, though it is not always immediate for all mums, it take less effort because of breastfeeding and of-course she has been carrying the Little One for 9 months, they have been bonding physically. Not so for dads, you need to spend time with the baby. Hold him, sing for him, calm him down, take baby for a walk, talk to him. Be there and speak into his life. He may not hear what you are saying but he connects with your voice and as you grown, he will turn to the sound of your voice. It was so heart warming to hear my son call Dada even before he could call Mama.
Take time out
Do not be so consumed with the baby that you forget yourself, you still need a few hours to yourself. If the boys come calling, do not always turn them down, go get rejuvenated then you can be able to give back to your family. Give mum her time out too, take care of the baby and let her have a few hours with the girls, have milk in a bottle and assure her all will be well, she can be allowed 2 phone calls only. Also create time for the two of you, get a baby sitter and take her out, let her remember that your world still exits despite the new wonder in your lives. Pack your baby and take them out for a ride, go visit a friend, get out of the house once in a while before the four walls become too small.
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