Having just delivered my second baby, I’ve been privy to many “mama talks and baby walks” with other moms, veteran or new. Stuff is shared. So men listen up, this is a compilation of dos and don’ts I’ve gathered from these conversations, that hopefully will help you along this hormone induced, sleep deprived, awesome journey you are on together.
1. Don’t push the sex. After giving birth, the nether regions hurt for a while. Especially if any stitches were required. The thought of just taking the first shit after having a baby scares a woman…well, shitless. Although the doctor will usually give the thumbs up at six weeks post-partum, wait for the thumbs up from her. And don’t give her any crap about it if she isn’t ready. It’s like being a virgin again. It’s scary to think about, worrisome about the pain, and by all means, the fear of pregnancy could be an issue. Most breastfeeding mamas don’t want to go on birth control due to milk supply issues. So DO be willing to wrap it up if she asks.
5. DON’T ignore the baby when it starts crying for a few minutes in hopes that she will take care of it. It’s your kid too! Pick them up, change a diaper, hold them…
6. DO find your own way of doing things that works for you. DON’T criticize her….when you say “hey, watch his head,” when she’s holding him, what she really wants to respond with is “Look here you jackass, I take care of this kid 24/7 while simultaneously running a household…oh ya, and the toddler too. Don’t tell me how to hold this kid while I’m also trying to pour a sippy of milk, while cooking dinner.” However, this goes both ways. Ladies, DON’T critique him for not doing things your way. Believe it or not, sometimes their way works too…or even better.
8. DO help in any way possible for her to get sleep. Sometimes that’s being creative….with our first child my husband helped out by letting me go to bed as early as I could. Then he took the first shift. This time around he takes over the toddler who wants to climb in bed and has nightmares, and on his days off he makes sure I get to nap. Figure out what works for your situation, but be willing to sacrifice some of your sleep too.
9. DON’T get pissy if she sits down to feed the baby, or pump milk, and then asks you to get her things, like water, or her phone, or a burp cloth….nursing/pumping is hard freaking work. It’s exhausting. It’s constant. She’s not trying to treat you like a maid. It’s just hard to remember everything when you are tired and the baby is screaming….and we are sure you aren’t trying to treat her like a cow. Take care of her so she can take care of the baby.
10. DO buy her some kind of “push present.” Not a 10 carat diamond, Beyoncé style…but get your baby mama a gift. Shoot Prince Charles gave Kate a Teddy bear. It doesn’t have to be crazy, just thoughtful.
11. DO remember to take care of your marriage/relationship. It’s easy to just focus on the kids, but you don’t want to find yourself one day feeling like you have nothing together besides the kids. So, go out on dates, enjoy each other, remember what you have that’s special. One day the kids will be grown and you’ll only have each other.
Amanda Schlatter is a Reno mom, a teacher for the school district, and an advocate for children and families. After seven years of suffering the disease of infertility, she and her husband finally succeeded in pregnancy through the help of a charity called Baby Quest. More can be read about her journey at www.babyjailbreak.blogspot