Tony, today’s guest, is a little worried about his upcoming baby. He’s concerned that there won’t be much for him to do in the first months, since he can’t feed the baby, and doesn’t know how best to help his wife during this time.
This is a really common question and source of concern for a lot of men. Dads, and men in general, tend to want to help, do things, and fix things. And, since we can’t nurse our babies, it ends up feeling like there’s nothing we can actively do to make things better for our wives when they’re exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed with a new baby. I recently got the inside scoop from moms in my Present and Productive Parents group on Facebook about what helped—and what would have helped more!
Resoundingly, women expressed how important it is to them for the dad to be wholeheartedly present and actively participating in the process. This doesn’t mean assembling a crib and painting the nursery; she needs you to engage with her by asking genuine, thoughtful questions and having open and supportive discussions.
Once baby arrives, the first and foremost thing you need to focus on is connecting with your wife. Instead of asking how her day was, ask her about the best (and hardest) parts of the day and her time with the baby. And don’t offer solutions unless she asks! Listen, hear her, acknowledge how tough it must have been, and then stop.
The biggest request I heard from moms in the group about what a dad can do is to give them time, and make sure it’s the right kind of time. Moms often feel completely beholden to the new baby, with her life revolving around his schedule, feeding needs, crying, and waking and sleeping cycle. A trip to the spa or lunch with a friend would be nice, of course, but even the opportunity to run errands by herself can be a much-needed break.
Tune into this episode for a deep dive into all of this. You’ll come away from the show with a solid understanding of how to best support your wife and be there for her in real ways, even when you can’t do everything.
In This Episode:
[01:15] – Dr. B welcomes listeners to this episode, and introduces Tony, who has today’s question.
[02:09] – Tony’s question is a great one because men can’t nurse their babies, Dr. B points out.
[03:10] – A common sentiment that Tony heard in response to his question about what helped (or would have helped) new moms is for the father to be fully present.
[03:48] – Dr. B goes into more depth about what he means by actively participating.
[05:47] – Don’t be afraid to share both your excitement and your nervousness, Dr. B advises.
[07:58] – Has everything that Dr. B said so far make sense to Tony, and has it been helpful?
[08:06] – Dr. B moves on to talking about what to do after baby arrives.
[09:10] – We learn about the power of intentionally connecting once the baby is here, and not offering solutions unless expressly asked.
[10:55] – Dr. B talks about an episode of Parks and Recreation that perfectly illustrates his point about listening rather than fixing.
[12:36] – The biggest request that Dr. B heard as a response to his question was for dads to provide new moms with time to themselves.
[14:22] – We learn about a perspective that it’s easy for working dads to fall into, which isn’t based in reality.
[15:02] – Dr. B offers some suggestions on how dads can give their partners mini-breaks in the days immediately following after delivery.
[16:45] – We learn more about what Dr. B means about giving your wife the “right” kind of time.
[17:47] – Finally, don’t forget to show your wife that you’re in this parenting thing with her! Dr. B offers some specific suggestions on how to do this.
[19:03] – Was this helpful to Tony?
[19:16] – Dr. B offers a final suggestion to Tony, recommending that he become a great swaddler.
[19:39] – If you’re a new dad (or know one), head to this link for some great recommendations!
[20:09] – Please take a moment to leave a rating and review on iTunes, so we can keep spreading this information out to other parents in need!Listen to this great episode with @DrPhilBoucher to learn all about how dad can help a new or future mom. Assembling the crib is important, but wasn’t one of the top answers about what moms need. Click To Tweet
Links and Resources:
firstname.lastname@example.orgDad, you can’t nurse the baby, so it’s easy to feel helpless in the early months. This week’s episode of Parenting Matters from @DrPhilBoucher gives you practical insights & info into how to best support your wife & new baby. Click To Tweet