Childbirth is an amazing experience, but SO tiring. As a mama, your adrenaline will be pumping no matter what time of day your baby is born. So the first few hours you may seem like you have it under control and you feel on top of the world. Then, you eventually realize you’re exhausted. That’s why it’s important to know how your partner can help you after birth. It’ll make you feel better and them too. The last thing they want is to be in your way, or feel helpless while you’re breastfeeding or holding your baby. So if you can share with them these tips and ways to help, it’ll make you both feel supported and wanted in this vulnerable time for all.
Whether you’re in a hospital or birthing center, you’ll likely have people coming in your room to check on you and your baby. Some of them may be wanted guests, some of them unwanted. Before you have your baby, talk about who you want there when your baby is born, and during your stay. Your partner can help ensure only those visitors come into the room. The last person you want is a long lost cousin hanging out with you after delivery.
While everyone is excited about a new baby, you and your partner need time to bond with your baby. This is an important first step in establishing a great breastfeeding start. Sometimes, when all the eyes in the room are on you, you can get unsolicited advice and feel intimidated to breastfeed. So avoid the stress, and only allow visitors that you feel comfortable in the room.
Postpartum is a vulnerable time for you and your baby, so the more your partner can help you after birth, the less stressful and tiring it may seem. The first few weeks of having a baby are often called “survival mode” for good reason. You really want other people picking up chores, cooking, and other household or mother duties while you rest and take care of your body and baby.
How Your Partner Can Help You After Birth
If you’re familiar with the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, these tips are adopted from the idea that we all receive and give love in different ways. No matter what your love language is, these will hit on each of them and are adapted to show how your partner can help you after birth.
Words of Affirmation
- Staying positive in such a precious emotional time is crucial, especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother, nursing around the clock. Your partner can offer words of affirmation like:
- You’re doing such a great job, I see how hard it is on you.
- I’ve never felt more attracted to you.
- I appreciate all you’re doing for our family.
- You can even say you’re own words of affirmation, especially for keeping a positive mindset around breastfeeding and your postpartum healing journey. You can read more about healing your body after your baby in my post here- 10 Tips for Healing Your Body After a Baby. Here are a few examples of words of affirmation you can say to yourself:
- I’m a beautiful milk-making goddess.
- My milk is everything my baby needs.
- My body is healing itself beautifully.
Acts of Service
- Acts of service go a long way when you’re body is healing after a baby. From little things like bringing you water while you’re breastfeeding to making you dinner.
- If you’re bottle-feeding or pumping, cleaning all the parts and bottles can be a helpful thing too.
- Your partner can also solicit help from other family members in this department to start a meal train, do the laundry, help with the dishes, clean up the house, or play with the other children in your home.
- Even though you may be the one breastfeeding your baby, your partner can certainly change diapers, give your baby a bath, and hold your baby skin-to-skin after feeding or during a fussy time.
- Your partner can get you a push present, which is basically a present for pushing your baby out! Depending on your style, it can come in the form of engraved jewelry, a favorite purse, a gift card to the spa, a new wardrobe for nursing wear. Whatever you want! Here are more ideas from The Bump.
- Gift cards are a great idea, especially for massages, a few hours at the spa for a manicure or pedicure, or to your favorite restaurant. This will encourage time for you to relax after a few weeks of settling in with your new baby.
- Hiring a housekeeper, grocery shopper, food delivery are all great gift ideas too. Anything that will alleviate any of the everyday tasks you typically handle in your house–outsource them for a few weeks!
- Bringing home flowers or your favorite healthy snacks is always a good idea too. I remember my husband going to the grocery store every day or so to buy me fruit. I couldn’t eat enough fruit in the first few weeks after my baby was born. He bought the pre-cut fruit, and I’d eat it by the bowl-full. You want to stick to healthy snacks as much as possible because your body needs to be in optimal milk-making mode, and you want to feel nourished. If you eat a bunch of processed junk food, your body will not have the energy you need to optimally care for yourself or your new baby. A study has shown that nourished mothers who eat a diet in whole foods are better able to take care of their babies and family.
- Time with just you and your partner may seem hard to find when you have a new baby. You can utilize the time you have while your baby is still a newborn to connect with your partner.
- Find time to share moments of gratitude or have prayer time together.
- Use the gift card you got her to take her to a restaurant. Ask someone you know to watch the baby while you go out for an hour. Even if it’s a short time, you will have the chance to take a shower, put on your favorite outfit and feel like yourself again!
- You can also ask your partner to stay up while you feed your baby. This may be unfair or tough if your partner is working though. At least you can sleep when your baby is sleeping during the day.
- Talk to your partner about taking some paternity leave when your baby is born. My husband took off two weeks. It was tough since he is a chiropractor and had to find another doctor to fill in, but he made it work and I was so thankful! The first few weeks can seem lonely, so having someone else around to help you means a lot.
- Postpartum healing may mean lots of swelling sometimes. Ask your partner to rub your feet to help move the excess fluid out of your legs. A foot massage, hand massage, back massage, will go a long way in helping you feel more relaxed.
- Ask your partner for lots of affection if this is your love language. You want to feel wanted after having a baby. A simple kiss from your partner can go a long way.
- You may also feel the opposite about touch and not want it- so let your partner know that too. It’s important to communicate during this time to ensure everyone’s needs are getting met.
Staying connected to your partner is important, especially as you bring a new baby home. Sometimes circumstances may seem stressful since you’re both likely exhausted. How did your partner help you after your baby was born?