BabyLove Spokesperson Midwife Cath shares her advice for new partners:
Mums experience a unique bond with their baby. Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding foster an intimate and immediate connection. New partners can feel that they are missing out, especially in those first few weeks when babies are so reliant on their mothers. Partners can also feel unsure how to nurture a bond with the newborn, and carve out a role as fathers.
This adjustment is only natural, but there are some very simple ways for men to develop their own special relationship with their child, whilst also playing a vital role in supporting new mums. Here is my advice for new partners:
- BBB – Bath, Bottle, Bed. Bathing the baby at night is a great role for partners and starts the bonding early. A routine that I recommend to new parents is for mums to head to bed after her nightly feed and get some sleep, whilst the partner baths the baby at 10pm, wraps them up and gives them a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula, before putting them to bed. Then the partner goes to bed for the night.
- Excursions. Carrying a baby on your chest and setting off for a morning walk can be a lovely way to connect, whilst also providing an opportunity for new mums to catch up on much needed sleep.
- Managing social calls. Having a baby is a highly physical and emotional experience, and many new mums are overwhelmed in the first few weeks. So, taking charge of hosting visitors and even delaying ‘well-wishers’ for a few weeks can be immensely supportive to new mums.
- Do you need anything? Picking up prescriptions, formula and nappies from the chemist, or heading to the supermarket armed with a shopping list and trolley, are practical ways to help out at home. Mums often find it difficult to leave the house when they are caring for a new baby.
- Meal time. Cooking is another practical way to provide support and nourish a growing family.
- Time Out. Women need an emotional and physical break from children, and so soothing a baby or engaging them in play will be beneficial for baby and mum.
BabyLove spokesperson, Midwife Cath, Cath Curtin, is a trusted expert in women’s health, pre-pregnancy, antenatal care and education, pregnancy, labour and birth, postnatal care, breastfeeding, and parenting. She has delivered over 10,000 babies throughout her 42-year career. Trained and fully-qualified as a nurse, midwife and maternal and child health nurse, Cath has an incomparable depth of experience. Her book, The First Six Weeks, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2016 and is being translated for international markets. Her next book will be published in 2018.