How to Support Your Husband as a New Dad
Okay mamas! You have done the hardest job of all. You delivered a precious baby after carrying for 10 whole months. You’ve endured morning sickness, night sweats, and heartburn. You haven’t had a good night’s sleep, a shower, or a good meal in DAYS! You have put all of your energy into taking care of this brand new baby.
It can be easy to feel like you have nothing left to give to anyone else. Let’s face it, you probably don’t, and that’s okay. So, how can you support your husband as a new dad when you feel like you are hardly getting by?
You might be surprised by some of the answers I got from some new dads. In fact, the number one response I got is something that might even help YOU out. So here we go, ten ways to support your husband as a new dad.
- Give him opportunities to bond. The overwhelming majority of dads said they would like more opportunities to bond with the baby. Many times, especially if mom is breastfeeding, the mom takes on all things baby, while she has dad fetch, change, cook, make, clean, etc… Talk with your husband about things he could do to bond with the baby. Maybe he gives baths, rocks the baby to sleep after a feeding, or does tummy time activities. The point is, don’t automatically assume all responsibility for the baby just because you are the main source of food! Find something your husband can do with the baby, and let him do it!
- Provide direction. Your husband may not have those innate motherly instincts that you do (surprise, surprise)! While some things seem like common sense to you, they may have to be learned by your husband. Give him some grace if these things don’t come naturally to him. Give him gentle suggestions like, “Maybe WE should try…” or “I wonder if…would help?”
- Tell him what you need. This may seem strange on a post about supporting your husbands needs. However, believe it or not, your husband wants the best for you and the baby. He wants to help you in any way he can. Sometimes he just needs you to tell him what you need! Again, they are learning and they can’t read your mind. If there is something you really want your husband to start doing, don’t stew about it, just tell him! Chances are he will be happy to help.
- Be patient. Remember, your husband is learning just like you are. Be patient and sit back and enjoy. Enjoy watching your husband become a daddy. Don’t expect him to figure it out overnight.
- Give encouragement. When my husband became a new dad, the hardest thing for him was feeling like he couldn’t soothe the baby when she was upset. He would become frustrated when he would try to soothe the baby and it wouldn’t work. Then he would hand her to me and she would stop. He felt like there was no point in even trying. This is where you come in. This is the time for you to point out what a good job he is doing with the baby. Thank him for all that he does for you and the baby and encourage him to keep trying.
- Listen to his suggestions. While you may feel you are having to give your husband A LOT of direction in some areas, give him some credit. Sometimes they have good ideas. 😉 One night, I was at my wits-end when my colicky 3 month old. She would scream through the entire night. I wasn’t getting sleep and had no idea how to comfort her when she was like this. I woke my husband up, desperate for some relief from the crying-baby duty. My husband suggested trying a pacifier. Of course I said no, because that can lead to orthodontic problems and cause nipple confusion and…Well, my daughter finally stopped crying and when I looked up, there she was sucking away on her pacifier. After that night, we knew where her pacifier was at all times and she slept like a little champ. I thank God my husband didn’t listen to me! 🙂
- Work as a team. Remember you two are in this together through thick and thin. As time goes by you will fall into a routine of doing things, each of you better at some things than others. Allow him to help you in any way possible and do the same for him.
- Trust him. Show your husband you trust him to take care of the baby. Allow him chances to take care of the baby without chiming in your two-cents every five minutes. If you know the baby needs to be fed, changed, or go to sleep try to keep quiet and let him figure it out. I promise, he will!
- Ask him how you can help him. Talk with your husband. Ask him how HE is doing. This whole thing has been about you and the baby, and so many times, dads get left out. If your husband has gone back to work, ask him how it is going.
- Let him know you appreciate him. Tell your husband constantly how much you appreciate him! Not only will he feel like you notice his efforts, but most likely it will encourage him to keep it up!
These are all tips given to me by new dads. (A special thanks to all of the dads that provided input!) My hope is that they will help parents through this time of transition to a family of 3. Happy Parenting! 🙂
Have any more tips to add to the list! Let us know in the comments below!
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