SEEING YOUR BABY FOR THE FIRST TIME
Watching your baby coming into the world can be the most incredible experience
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.