Coming home with a new baby is nerve-wracking for parents at the best of times and now with the extra stress of COVID-19 it seems almost too overwhelming. During this time it is important for partners to help out as much as possible but it is sometimes hard to know what to do. Many partners feel that if the mom is breastfeeding then there isn’t much left for them, which is so far from the truth. Here are some ways partners can make the transition home with a baby a better one.
Take care of mom. The most important thing you can do to help after the baby arrives is taking care of the baby’s mom. A healthy mom is able to care for a healthy baby. Make sure she is eating and drinking enough, getting rest whenever she can and reminding her to take her pain medications by bringing them to her with a glass of water are some ways a partner can care for the new mom.
Take care of household tasks. It is extremely difficult for new moms to get rest if they know the house is a mess and there are other tasks she should be doing. If partners are able to take care of things like laundry, groceries, preparing meals, tidying up and cleaning bathrooms she will be able to turn her brain off and get quality sleep.
Take care of the baby. Feeding is only ONE task that needs to be done to care for the baby. There are lots of other things partners can do. When mom is done feeding on one side of the breast, partners can burp and change the baby’s diaper while mom eats, drinks or goes to the washroom. When the baby is done feeding, partners can soothe the baby back to sleep so mom can go straight to bed and maximize time in between feedings. Have the baby sleep in a different room with the partner at different times in the day or night so that mom is not hearing every little sound that baby makes and checking to see if the baby is breathing every couple of minutes 🙂
Take care of yourself. Partners will be no good to the new mom if they burn out. It is important for them to make sure they are eating and resting when possible so that they are well equipped to support the new mom.
Focus on communication. Most of us are not mind readers but expect our partners to be. It’s ok and actually important to ask each other what support they need. Partners can check in to see if what they are doing is helpful or if there are any changes that the new mom would like to make.
Organize help from others. With everything going on in the world it may seem like new parents are totally on their own and can’t use the help from family and friends. That is actually not true; we just have to think a little differently. Family can pick up groceries and drop it on the doorstep and preparing home cooked meals and dropping them off can be a really great help for new parents.
Hire a Professional Postpartum Doula. Postpartum Doulas are an essential service especially at this time. The risk of Postpartum Mood Disorders is very high right now with all the added tension in the world, the social isolation and feeling alone. Doulas can help make sure baby’s are getting enough to eat and help with feeding support which is extremely valuable since clinics are closed right now. Doulas can also help educate the new parents on ways to care for the baby and what things to look out for that baby is not thriving. Partners also love that they can “mirror” what the doula does at a shift when the doula is not there. Having a doula takes all the guesswork out of trying to figure everything out on your own. It is also really helpful when both parents can rest at the same time together while the doula cares for baby’s needs.
Don’t forget you are not alone and we are here for you. Contact us if you need us!