Mums & dads are different!
Here are a few tips for the first 3 months of parenthood to help you manage your relationship and the differences between you as parents, to make it easier to be a team together and enjoy this special time.
1) Chat about your experience. Sit down in the first few weeks and tell each other what it feels like to be a mum / dad. Hear how different it is for your partner and know this is normal.
2) Both knowing what’s happening. Have a little notebook to jot down feeding times, maybe nappy changes and details in – as a mum you might want to include your mood if you want your partner to be sensitive to this. This way, if your partner has been out at work all day he can instantly catch up and know what might need doing when for the baby and also be aware of how you might be feeling.
3) Make Decisions Together. Take the pram out for a walk and talk about your views on feeding, sleeping, nappy changes, household chores etc and make a joint plan you are both willing to try, with whose job it will be and when.
4) Be flexible. It’s not about rigidly sticking to a plan, but about talking and being a team together. So when it isn’t working, talk again and decide on another strategy… and another one after that!
5) Ask for & Accept Help. Be clear about what is helpful to you as a family – perhaps it’s food, household chores, or babysitting. Enjoy the time it gives you to sleep or enjoy your baby.
6) Manage visitors. Decide together who you want to see and for how long. Agree how you will manage visitors so that it works for you rather than trying to keep visitors happy. Babies are like magnets and everyone wants to be near them, and most likely hold them. In the early weeks the most important thing is for mum and baby to bond and too many visitors who want to hold a baby can disrupt this. Don’t be scared to say ‘no’.
7) Get out of the house. However tired you feel. it’s important to develop the confidence to go out with your baby and see people you want to see, or pop to the shops. If you were used to a busy life before, it may be a shock and lonely being at home. Social media can help too, but it’s not the same as getting out.
8) Have Family Days (with just you as parents with your baby and any siblings). This gives you time to talk and be together as a family without others giving you their opinions! It also means you can do whatever you want and look after your own needs, without having to manage anyone else – whether that’s staying in pyjamas, or going out.