By Guest Blogger, Sarah Cummings of The Sleep Advisor
New dads, like it or not, for the first few weeks, months, even years of your new child’s life you’re often going to feel a little bit useless.
No matter how committed you are to the idea of being a modern father there are just some things mom is going to do be able to do better. Sorry!
Feelings of inadequacy might start from the beginning. Afterall your partner has just spent the last nine months amazingly growing an entirely new life inside her – before dramatically squeezing it out in frankly a horrendously painful process!
Yes, I know you were there holding her hand but still, it’s not quit the same is it?
Secondly, unequal pay and antiquated attitudes toward parental leave in most countries mean it is still generally financially sensible for mom to take time of work than dad. So even if you want to be the one who stays at home it might not make sense.
Despite these two handicaps, for the sake of your new child, your partner’s health and the health of your relationship, it’s up to you to step up to the plate and hit being a father out of the park.
In my experience as a mother of two, the best way you can help your partner be the very best new mom she can be, is to ensure she gets as much rest as possible. Obviously that’s easier said than done with a newborn demanding their almost constant attention. With that in mind however here are 3 tips to help your partner get better sleep…
- Dad, don’t fear the feed!
Just because your partner has the natural advantage over you with her chest mounted milk machines doesn’t mean she should automatically bear the brunt of the late night feeds. That excuse died out a long long ago. Around the time breast pumps, bottles and fridges were invented.
Being able to store breast milk for use later means you menfolk have no excuse for avoiding the 3am summons for sustenance from the crib next door.
But what if you have to be work early in the morning? Well, I’m sorry to say that so does your partner. Looking after a newborn is far more tasking than any spreadsheet you may have to face in the office.
Don’t look at nightfeeds as a chore, taking on this responsibility will allow you to develop a far stronger bond with your little one. For years dad’s have been lamenting a feeling of inadequacy that often comes with being the father of a newborn, in my experience this is because too many men fail to be proactive.
Taking control, or at the very least taking on an equal share, of the the nightfeed, will provide your partner with much needed extra time in bed and give you one-on-one time to bond with your new child. A win-win!
- Learn to give a great massage
This one is self-explanatory. The best present my partner ever gave me, apart from buying me a new bed, was taking a massage course in secret. A fifteen minute shoulder massage by someone who truly knows what they are doing can really take the edge of even the most stressful day as a new mom and can put you in the perfect mood for sleep.
- Take care of the 3 Cs
Being able to take care of the 3 Cs is going to reduce your partner’s workload by a massive amount and will go along way to ensuring she isn’t frazzled by the time they her head hits the pillow. But what exactly are the 3 Cs…
Cooking: Taking care of cooking for the family is a massive responsibility and unfortunately in all too many households this burden still falls on the mother. I know times have moved on and menfolk no longer expect to come home to find a meal in the oven waiting for them, which is great. Yet too many men I know seem to think that cooking once or twice a week is something to brag about. It’s not! Get cooking boys.
Rule of thumb: Dad’s if you’re able to remember all the meals you have cooked in the last month, then you aren’t cooking enough.
Cleaning: Dads, making sure you haven’t peed on the seat and that your dirty clothes are in the washing hamper is not the same as keeping the house clean. With a newborn on the scene the demands of keeping a household clean and tidy are going to rise dramatically and you are going to have to pull your weight. Taking on the cleaning is an easy win for fathers, put you your headphones, listen to a podcast and kill that dirt.
Cuddling: There is a pressure in modern society for new moms to be superhuman, that is to take care of the household, children and doing it all while looking amazing and showing no emotion. This so-called ‘supermom’ image is a harmful and unrealistic fallacy in my opinion.
Being a new mom is likely the toughest thing your partner will have likely ever done, it is up to you to let her know being emotional is ok. The first thing you do every time you see her is ask…“do you need a hug?”
Well, there you have it – three top tips to help your partner get more sleep. Believe me she is going to need it! Good luck.