The arrival of a newborn baby is one of those insanely overwhelming moments that words cannot do enough justice to express the sheer joy and anxiety of ushering a little human being into this world. It is a total chaos of overflowing, immeasurable happiness.
I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with those tiny fingers, tiny toes, with an innocent face to match that reverberates nothing short of perfection. This definitely tops the list of unforgettable moments in life.
Speaking of unforgettable moments, there is one person in this picture-perfect scenario, However, who is about to be forgotten, unintentionally or feel left out. And your guess is as good as mine, it’s the newest daddy-in-town, your dearest husband/partner.
Since the first time you found out you were pregnant, through the morning sickness, terrible nausea, and those perky swollen feet, to the time you were pulled into the delivery room and saw the amazement of childbirth; somehow, this entire journey has been extremely personal to you as a mother.
It is you who has gone through the roller-coaster of emotions, body changes and braved through the healing process after your little one was born. These experiences undoubtedly create a unique unbreakable bond between you and your baby.
While you are blooming with excitement and getting showered with compliments and gifts, your partner is not as lucky. Which makes me wonder, do men ever get gifts on becoming a dad?
Apart from those brief congratulation messages and high fives from his buddies, nobody compliments him on how good of a father he is. Everyone is always concerned about the welfare of the mother and child, in turn, this can leave a new father feeling left out.
Here are four important ways to make your partner/spouse feel important and most especially part of the new family;
1.Make time to bond with him
If you are anything like the many women I know, including myself, you are definitely rolling your eyes by now. You are probably thinking, between the healing sores, sleep deprivation, a baby that needs to be kept alive, exhaustion and leaking of milk everywhere, who really wants to deal with the emotions of a grown man? In fact, if anyone asked you by now, you are the one feeling left out from the normal world.
But hey, while you are feeling like all this is too much, I don’t think there is any woman, who would want to see the person that they love feeling ‘a bit left out’ of the new family. It’s quite natural for a new mother to want to spend all her time and efforts in taking care of the baby.
There is no shame in doing so, though do not forget that there were days all you wanted to do is spend time with your partner, back when he was everything you adored and desired.
Admittedly, it is quite challenging, especially in the first few weeks. The trick here is to set up a routine and save few minutes to talk and bond with your partner.
Bonding time does not need to be anything fancy (don’t let the celebrity chronicles fool you), it can be as simple as sharing a meal, watching a short comedy series, playing a game of scrabble or making conversations on just about anything.
Try doing all this when the baby is taking a nap, to give your man enough attention. This shows him that even though you might be on 24 hours watch on your baby, he is still a priority in your life
2. Show him he’s appreciated
I know you might feel like you are doing most of the work around the house. Taking care of your partner, the baby and yourself require super human powers. Yes, you are a wonder woman, go on and embrace your strength but do not forget to notice the little and big things he is putting effort to do.
Ideally, soothing, feeding a baby, changing loads of diapers do not come naturally to a man. Women are more naturally inclined to know just what to do and meet a baby’s needs, call it motherly instinct. So when daddy takes a bit of interest in helping out, even if it is one diaper change in a week, or put the baby to sleep, appreciate this ‘little’ help.
Do it by verbally saying ‘thank you’ or with hugs and kisses. Never overlook his commitment in supporting you and the baby (especially financially until you can get back on your hustle), if he supports you well enough, appreciate those deeds, you will never regret it
3.Plan for intimacy
Well, this is definitely a touchy subject but all together, an important one that needs to be addressed. One of the things my husband and I have learned is that your sex life will never be the same again after you bring back that little precious baby home.
There is just never a good time to be intimate. However, this should not be an excuse. Do not let that intimacy fire die out just because you don’t ‘feel like’ all the time. It is not fair to your partner and may further push him away, making him feel unwanted and unloved.
Once you are completely healed and you are feeling ready enough to be intimate, do not intentionally push him away from you. While it may take a while for you to get back in the groove, it is good to plan for a particular time(or days), when the baby is well rested to enjoy some TLC. Both physical attraction and intimacy go a long way to reassure him that you are still the woman he feels in love with.
4.Stop Being a ‘Miss Know It All’
There is an Instagram page on fatherhood that came up with the phrase ‘’I do not baby sit, I parent’’. Quite a bold statement and it attracted a huge support from fathers globally. As women, we know we are guilty as sin when it comes to acting like’we know everything when it comes to parenting. While ”Mama Knows Best”, Daddy also knows a thing or two which may not seem much but can make a difference. After all, parenting has no manual.
There are instances when the baby might scream for you when daddy tries to hold her/him, do not always rush to take the baby away. It leaves the man feeling useless and rejected. Let your little one learn early enough that daddy also knows best or else your man will end up feeling like a wallpaper, only there to be seen and not heard. How sad can that be?!
Also, be accommodating as possible when the baby arrives. Your man might not be perfect at taking care of the baby but if he tries to learn, do not rebuke him. For example, if he is holding the baby for the first time, do not immediately jump in and tell him he is doing it all wrong, taking the baby away.
That right there will kill any little belief he had inside that he can be a good dad. Walk with him through each process, furthermore, it’s all a learning experience. Show him how to do things gently and give him space to get comfortable around the little one. You know why most men stay away from carrying little babies? It’s because of the fear that they might do it all wrong and get judged or reprimanded for it. Nobody wants that kind of negative attention.
And while you are letting him learn the ropes, do not hover around, keeping a watchful eye on him when he’s alone with the baby. He will sure notice and this will only make him feel insecure and incapable of being trusted with his own child.
I remember struggling with the same issue after my birth delivery. I would let my husband bond with the baby but still, check on them after every one minute. It would frustrate my husband and lead to meaningless fights. 7 months later, I have learned to let go.
In doing so, baby learns to trust daddy and the cherry on top of the cream is that as a mother you get to enjoy some alone time and not worry about the baby. If he’s a responsible man, give him the benefit of doubt. In the end, everybody wins.
N/B: Remember, while he may never admit to these feelings of regretting or neglect, it is not so hard to notice his seclusion from you and the baby. Make time for him, tag him along on baby-related activities such as clinic visits and most importantly respect his opinions and appreciate his efforts.
Remember no one is more of a parent than the other if he is willing to take an active part in the upbringing of the baby, by all means, welcome him with open arms. Let’s help the men in our lives to enjoy fatherhood.