SEE­ING YOUR BABY FOR THE FIRST TIME

Watch­ing your baby com­ing into the world can be the most in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence

QT Magazine - - FEATURE // BABY, BABY, BABY! -

THE MID­WIVES may hand you the baby. Some men feel afraid of hurt­ing such a tiny per­son – don’t be. Hold the baby close to your body.

Many fa­thers ex­pe­ri­ence very strong emo­tions; some cry. It can feel dif­fi­cult to go home and rest af­ter such an in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence, so think through what your needs might be at this time. You may want to tell some­one about the birth be­fore you can rest, but then sleep if you can. When the baby comes home (if the birth took place in hospi­tal), you can ex­pect sleep­less nights for some time to come.

BRING­ING THEM HOME

You may find that rel­a­tives and friends are able to help in the early days so that the baby’s mother can rest and feed the baby. This is es­pe­cially nec­es­sary af­ter a dif­fi­cult birth. How­ever, you may live far from rel­a­tives and your part­ner may have only you to help, so it’s a good idea to have a week or so off work if you can. Think about the fol­low­ing:

♦ too many vis­i­tors may ex­haust the baby’s mum and in­ter­fere with this special time when you are learn­ing about be­ing par­ents and be­com­ing a fam­ily ♦ you could look af­ter the baby so that the baby’s mum can get a good rest each day

♦ take over the ba­sic house­work, but don’t feel you must keep the place spot­less

♦ try to use this time to get to know your baby – learn to change nap­pies and bathe your baby as well as cud­dling and play­ing with him or her

♦ if your baby is breast­fed, you could bring the baby’s mum a snack and a drink while she’s feed­ing; if she’s bot­tle feed­ing, you could ster­ilise and make up the bot­tles and share the feed­ing

♦ be con­sid­er­ate about sex – it may take weeks or months be­fore the baby’s mum stops feel­ing sore, so think about dis­cussing other ways of show­ing your love for each other un­til sex is com­fort­able.

IS YOUR PART­NER FEEL­ING LOW?

Some moth­ers be­come de­pressed and need a lot of ex­tra sup­port, both prac­ti­cal and emo­tional. Make sure you know how to spot the symp­toms of post­na­tal de­pres­sion and where to get help.

You may also get de­pressed. Your part­ner is fac­ing the big­gest changes, but that doesn’t mean you should ig­nore your own feel­ings. Keep talk­ing and lis­ten­ing to each other, talk to friends, and be pa­tient. Life will get eas­ier in time.

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