How to Keep your Partner Involved During the Newborn Stage
It’s no secret that the first few months with your newborn will be a whirlwind of nappies, feeding and sleepless nights, so it’s completely normal for your world to revolve around caring for your beautiful new baby. If you have a partner in the equation, it’s actually common for them to feel a little useless when it comes to looking after your baby, especially if, as a mother, you’ve opted for breastfeeding.
So whether you’re currently in the newborn bubble or still waiting for your little one’s arrival, here’s a few things you could try to actively help your partner feel more involved in your newborn's day to day routine.
In most cases your partner will be entitled to 1-2 weeks of paid parental leave. This time together at home can be a great way for your partner to bond with your baby, and learn for themselves how to soothe and care from them - it also allows some time for the night feeding parent to nap during the day.
Once your partner heads back to work, it’s natural for them to feel a little out of the loop. To try to keep them involved, you can send them regular updates and photos of your little one - what parent doesn’t enjoy showing off photos to their colleagues anyway? If you’re the one returning to work, little check-ins with your partner at home can be really comforting to them, especially if you are first time parents - flying solo can be a little overwhelming at first!
Metanium’s tip for working parents:
Before leaving work, check with your partner if they need you to grab anything on the way home - you’ll thank us later!
Even if your little one is being breastfed, there are still plenty of daily tasks your partner can help with to ensure they still feel involved. For example changing nappies, winding, dressing, and tummy time supervision. A consistent bedtime schedule is important in helping your baby sleep through the night, and is the perfect chance for your partner to take ownership and have time each day to bond with your little one - it also gives you a chance for a quick nap, a bite to eat, or a nice hot shower at the end of the day.
STEP BACK A LITTLE
Naturally from spending more time with your baby, the stay-at-home parent can sometimes instinctively takeover, jumping to the rescue if they see their partner putting a nappy on the wrong way, or struggling with the buttons on a babygrow. If this sounds familiar, try to step back and let your partner learn for themselves, it’s best to let them practice in the long run and helps build their confidence as a parent.
If you’re a working parent returning home, the best thing you can provide is understanding. If your partner hands over a crying baby before you’ve even had time to get through the door, it’s important to offer them unconditional support regardless, as they’ve most likely had a very tiring day - remember, this knee-deep phase doesn't last forever, you can do this!
The best way for a partner to develop a strong bond with your baby is for them to have some quality time together. Skin-to-skin contact, where a baby is laid directly on a parent’s bare chest following a feed, is the perfect activity for this. Not only does skin-to-skin help calm and relax your baby, it can stimulate digestion and help parents to bond and feel needed with some one-on-one cuddle time.
Sharing the task of soothing your baby teaches your little one that they have more than one source of comfort, and helps them to recognise your voice and face. A crying baby can be very trying, but you’ll feel even closer to your little one when they quiet down or go to sleep against your chest.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
It’s not just new mums who get the baby blues, experts state that up to one in ten dads can experience post-natal depression, especially when the baby is around three to six months due to sleep-deprivation. Partners can tend to feel lonely in the first few months, or even jealous of the attention the baby gets - so don’t feel bad if this sounds familiar, it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to your loved ones, there are plenty of people out there to speak to - your healthcare professional or GP will be more than happy to give advice.
Alone time is a win-win for everyone. You’ll get some well deserved self-care time, whereas your partner will get some bonding time with your little one. So whether it be a quick visit to see some friends, or a trip to a yoga class for some much needed tranquillity, having some alone time will help you come back feeling refreshed, and help your partner feel more confident in their new role as a parent.
Alternatively, your partner could take your little one out for a walk. Babies love the stimulation of the outdoors, and if you have a carrier at hand, this closeness will help bring the two of you even closer together.
If you found this article helpful, or have any more tips on how to share the parenting responsibilities equally, send us a message on Instagram or Facebook - we’d love to hear from you!
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