I recently went to a yoga workshop, and bumped into a pregnant friend that was in her second trimester. She totally had that pregnancy glow and I couldn't help but reminisce on how much I loved being pregnant. A lot of the attention goes to the mom and baby, so I wanted to make sure I congratulated the soon-to-be dad too. I asked him how it was going for him, and if he found those pregnancy apps useful. He was excited and open to any advice. A handful of things stood out in my mind that I quickly shared with him. Obviously there are many more tips out there, but these were what Matt and I struggled and succeeded with the most. We didn't have help during those early infant months. We had to figure a lot of it out on our own, and had plenty of late night Google searches. Every family is different, and what works for one family, may not work for another.
I think these will be useful for a new dad, and a good reminder for any other dad out there. You're welcome, moms ;)
Okay listen up, Dad. When the baby comes it's going to be overwhelming. It's a lot. So when things get a little crazy, take a deep breath in and out....take another one, and remember these 5 tips:
1. Keep mom hydrated. When she is nursing or pumping, bring her water or whatever beverage she likes. Do this every single time. I remember getting extremely thirsty during each feeding session. Feeding a child from your own body is draining. The thirst is like no other. I would get thirsty-angry - thangry! Hydrating fruits and vegetables are a must if the water isn't cutting it. Give her fresh cut strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, pineapple, spinach, cucumber, celery, green peppers, tomatoes, etc. Pretty much all the wet or watery fruits and veggies--these hydrating foods are made up of about 90% water.
2. Feed mom first. Make sure she's eating, and make sure you are eating too. Let her eat first when the food is hot and fresh. After all, ladies first right?! I swear my son would wake up to the sound of my fork touching my food when I was by myself. It was so hard for me to eat with him. When my husband was home from work it was always nice to know I would be able to enjoy at least one hot meal. Bonus Pro Tip: Pack snacks in the diaper bag if she is going out with the baby.
3. You WILL bond with your baby. Be patient. New babies only know mom, and all they want is mom. Especially, hungry nursing babies. Mason wouldn't take a bottle, and that did not make Matt feel like "Dad of the Year". It was hard for him to not be able to participate in feeding the baby. He found other ways to bond with Mason, like bath time or tummy time. Mason eventually started to recognize Matt's voice, and his first word was "Da Da"! Now they're best friend goof balls!
4. It's the hormones! There is such a huge flux in hormone levels for the mother after she gives birth and breastfeeds. If the gorgeous mother of your child says some crazy shit, just let it go. It was the hormones talking. Be prepared for some crying spells too. Rollercoaster hormones and lack of sleep are not a good mix. And just a heads up, when mom starts weaning baby from breastfeeding expect the same hormonal changes. Every mother has their own postpartum baby blues experience. Just be ready to be extra understanding and compassionate.
5. "Can I get anything for you, beautiful?" A simple question like this goes a long way or better yet, be proactive. When your man does things without being told it's the sexiest thing ever. You want to be sexy for your baby mama, right? Acts of service, my friend. Change the diaper, wash the bottles and breast pump parts, offer her a cup of coffee, or give her a massage. Do something kind for her. She'll love it. Matt made up this Diaper Deal. Since I am mostly a stay at home mom while Matt works during the week, he promised me that on the weekends I change zero diapers. It's a pretty sweet deal. The small gestures really do matter, and you'll come out a total hero.
That's it! That's all you need to know to be the world's greatest dad! Just kidding, start with being a good partner, and the rest you will learn along the way. And Dad, you may not get all the recognition, but trust us moms, we acknowledge and are grateful for your support...even if we don't always tell you. Enjoy this new ride. Drink coffee. Good luck, and you got this!