New dads: how exactly do you fit in to the close bond the two most precious people in your life share? How do you fit into their little world? Read this open letter that's especially for you...
Congratulations on becoming a dad! Isn’t it just the most amazing feeling in the world gazing at this tiny, perfect life you and your partner have created?
Your wife – who was all yours just a few weeks ago – now belongs entirely to your sweet baby (or so it seems). You look at her with your heart bursting with pride as she swings into motherhood mode with grace and efficiency.
Your wife has changed… into a mother.
And perhaps now that the initial period of wonderment over your beautiful baby has died down just a tiny bit and the reality of life with a child is emerging, you might be feeling a bit lost.
How exactly do you fit in to this close bond the two most precious people in your life share? How do you fit into their little world?
As a mum of two kids, I want to share with you three secrets that I hope will help you make sense of your new role and support your partner, while looking after your own wellbeing too.
Work together to solve those first-time parenting issues
Pregnancy and childbirth and now motherhood are probably the three most significant life-changing moments your wife will ever experience. So it’s quite normal for her to feel overwhelmed at times, even though she may not show it always.
You should know that underneath that calm “I’ve got this” attitude, she’s probably fretting about a zillion things related to your baby.
Some of the main issues right now are probably related to breastfeeding and your newborn’s health and wellbeing in general (actually, mums never stop worrying about the latter!).
Support your wife through breastfeeding by doing things like bringing the baby to her for feeds, encouraging her to see a lactation consultant if you think she’s struggling with nursing (this can really make a huge difference), and if, after careful thought, she decides to switch to milk formula, support her in that decision too.
If you see she’s fretting about your baby’s health and wellbeing, sort out these problems together. For example, if it’s your little one’s umbilical stump care that she’s anxious about, do thorough research on the matter, call a doctor, gather information and present it to her.
All this will ease her mind and most importantly, help find a solution to the problem
You can do exactly what your wife does for your baby (okay you don’t have breasts, but there’s a way around that!)
It may seem that right now, your baby is the centre of your wife’s world. I understand that you may be feeling a little left out.
But let me tell you that you can be as involved as she is in your little tot’s life, and seriously, your baby needs you to be present and so does your wife.
No, you don’t have breasts so you can’t breastfeed your child. But you can do pretty much everything else your wife does for your baby.
You have strong arms and hands that can help rock your little one to sleep (or give your wife a back rub). Those same hands can change diapers, hold a bottle of expressed breastmilk (there’s the solution to your lack of breasts), take the baby to your wife for a feed, or give your baby a bath.
Your baby knows your voice, she knows you, and she will calm down with you. So when you hear your little one crying and you see your wife crying along with her as she tries to soothe her to no avail, step in and take over.
You just might be surprised to see how much your baby responds to your touch and your voice. Know that by doing these things, you are building an unbreakable bond with your child that will last for a lifetime, and this will give you an amazing feeling of love and accomplishment.
Keep the flame alive
Pregnancy and motherhood change a woman’s body like nothing else can. Don’t be surprised if you find your wife suddenly doubting the attractiveness of her body, or how she looks.
You can help her get through this period of self-doubt. Don’t stop telling her how beautiful she is, how much you love her, how attractive you find her.
If you can find a trusted carer for your little one, treat yourself and your wife to a dinner date, a movie or even a quick coffee together.
This is going to work wonders for your relationship because as much as your baby is a huge part of your lives right now, every parent’s ‘batteries’ need recharging from time to time, and you can help achieve this by setting aside time just for the two of you.
Through this all, don’t forget to look after yourself because as overwhelming as parenthood might be for your wife, it sure can feel the same for you, too. Try reaching out to your friends who are also dads if you need to chat/vent or get another dad’s opinion on something.
Remember this: you’re stepping out on an amazing new adventure with the two people who mean the most to you in the world. Enjoy every moment of your journey and before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned dad who can’t wait to hold his second bundle of joy!
But for now cherish those times you have with your little family, for all the gold in the world can’t buy what you have right now.
What are your words of advice for a first-time dad? Do tell us in a comment below.