During those early days of having a new baby, I would pass my husband in the morning and at times, I think I startled him with my appearance. Newborns will do that to you: bags under your eyes, unwashed hair, the shirt you’re wearing right now, you wore it yesterday and maybe the day before, and all it takes is something as simple as you can’t find a working pen in your kitchen to send you into an exhausted crying fit. This is usually when my husband (who I’d shoot daggers at if he yawned or mentioned he was tired around me), would see this as an S.O.S. and ask “What can I do to help?” And it was the sweetest sound I had heard in days (other than my baby sleeping).
I know that man wanted to help, but maybe he really didn’t know how or maybe he was just a little scared of me (he had good reason). But I don’t think he was alone with being a new dad and not always knowing what to do to help me as a new mom.
For instance Boudreaux’s Butt Paste recently surveyed more than 1,000 millennial parents and asked who usually has the dirty job of diaper changing and it looks like mom is doing the heavy lifting. A whopping 95% of women respondents said they do more of the diaper changing than their significant other. So when Dad keeps asking “What can I do to help?” why not just toss him a clean diaper, a few wipes, and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste?
But let’s not just stop with changing diapers, Dad. There are so many more ways you can help your partner and they don’t all involve poop. So for all those new dads and dads-to-be, here’s 11 ways you can really help new moms.
- When’s she’s feeding the baby, help her out. If she’s breastfeeding, make sure she has water nearby, her phone, and even a snack. If she’s bottle feeding, offer to be on bottle cleaning duty indefinitely.
- Let her sleep—really sleep. If you’re taking a feeding at night so Mom can catch up on sleep, let her go into another room so that she won’t hear the baby. You’ll be amazed at how different a few hours of deep sleep will help her.
- If you have other kids, offer to take them out and keep them busy, bring them home fed, pop them in the tub, and put them to bed. Let her relax and snuggle that new baby and feel zero mom guilt because her other kids are happy and entertained.
- Take over diaper duty no matter what’s inside that diaper and no matter what time that diaper needs changed. And it would really help if you kept those dry heave sounds to a minimum, Mkay?
- Tell her how amazing she is doing All. The. Time. She needs a cheerleader. Be her cheerleader.
- Setup a date night for the two of you. Even if it’s just a night at home with dinner and movie, plan all the details and let her just relax and recharge and reconnect with you.
- Don’t get angry if the house is a hot mess. Pick up a few extra chores around the house and help clean that hot mess.
- Be a really good listener and don’t try to fix everything. She might just need to vent. Let her vent to you. Then offer her some cholate and maybe a foot rub. JUST a foot rub. Don’t suggest more. Seriously, just a foot rub.
- Take care of her and check in to see if she is taking care of herself. Does she need to shower? Does she need a few minutes alone or a night out with her friends? Is she caring for herself? Now that’s she’s a mom, she will put herself last but help her by putting her needs first.
- Plan for the times you’ll be late at work or if you’re traveling. Can you have her family come and stay if you’re out of town? What about ordering dinner if you’re late and making mealtime easier on her? She will appreciate your thoughtful gestures when your normal schedule changes.
*This post was sponsored by Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience*