Sharing a life with your partner might have given you the impression that you two are a perfect team, the Dynamic Duo. You both cook, do the laundry, clean your home, work, and run errands, all with a seamless feel of a couple that has known each other for a long time, no matter how long you’ve actually been together. If only you could have divided the labour pains 50/50, right?
But when the little rascals arrive, you have brand new roles as parents to get accustomed to, and there’s a learning curve to both of your roles, which means that it can become difficult to split the parental duties right down the middle.
From day one, mums seem to be in charge of every baby meal, especially if they are breastfeeding. However, that often means that they will get up every time the baby wakes up during the night, which leads to a lack of sleep, and recovering from birth is no easy feat, let alone without plenty of rest. According to various research, this can lead to serious health issues such as anxiety, irritability and depression.
Using a breast pump or hand expression is an excellent way to allow your partner to become involved in the feeding process, and enable you to get some shuteye even during the day. Also, these special moments are an essential part of bonding, so both of you should spend time feeding the baby in order for that emotional connection to flourish.
As every parent knows well, having a baby (not to mention those with more than one!) means a full-time engagement and every day revolves around a whole range of baby-related activities. Since mums are typically the primary caregivers, they are often the first to learn how to handle nappy changing, which shampoo and soap to use and how to swaddle the baby.
On the other hand, some partners might not be sure when to step in, so chances are that all it takes is for you to let them know that you’d like them to take part in the process. Teach them how to change a diaper or swaddle your baby. You can take turns and enjoy these special baby moments together, even the smelly ones, and asking for help or inviting your partner to join in shouldn’t be a problem – it’s all about healthy communication.
Mums are usually more than eager to put on their favourite baby wraps and start wearing their babies – not only does it give you a chance to multitask, but it’s also beneficial for the baby and your emotional bond. Babywearing soothes even the crankiest newborns. It boosts their physical development and promotes the feeling of safety in their mother’s arms.
So why wouldn’t your partner enjoy the same level of closeness and help you with your daily chores by taking over the little bundle of joy every now and then? In fact, once a dad tries babywearing, it’s likely he will never want to go back to the traditional “pick up and carry the baby” style. Wearing your baby has an incredible impact on your and your baby’s well-being, and the emotional benefits alone are more than enough to win your partner over!
Some days will be more difficult than others, and it’s essential for both of you to align your expectations, accept each other’s different parenting styles and allow for changes in your routine when unexpected circumstances interfere with your daily lives. Perhaps it was your turn to take the baby for a check-up, but that pesky flu is a good enough reason to work out a change of plans.
Parenting is a lifelong learning process, and while you’re still in the very first stages, it’s crucial to be each other’s support, and always perceive each other as partners in order to prevent conflicts. Arrange for versatile chores and duties to be divided fairly between you and your partner, and even though a perfect 50/50 split is almost impossible, you’ll make the most of your time with the baby.
Nobody is born a perfect parent or a spouse, so it’s not wise to expect from yourself or your partner to ditch the training wheels within a week of the baby’s presence in your lives. Instead, learn from each other, be there for each other, especially for the mistakes you’re both bound to make, and enjoy the adventure of parenting with all of its smelly and blissful wonders.
Author bio: Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mum, designer and a regular contributor to highstylife.com , devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She seeks for beauty in everything that surrounds her. Will start a blog about it one day. Until then writes her diary occasionally.