As a Dad, you can help support Mum after the birth of a baby. You’re the main support person for your partner. You need to know about things such as breastfeeding and postnatal depression. Take time to enjoy each other. Your partner needs to know that she is still special to you as a person, not just as a mum.
It may take a few months for your partner to enjoy sex again after the birth of your baby. She may feel sore, and you will both be tired. It’s important to talk with each other about how you feel.
As a couple, try other ways to share your love, such as cuddling or a massage.When you do have sex, it may be uncomfortable for her at first, especially if she has had stitches. Using lubricating jelly or a different position may help. If sex is still painful, talk to your midwife, Plunket nurse or a doctor.
Talk about contraception soon after your baby is born. Breastfeeding can delay fertility, but it is not a reliable method to avoid pregnancy. You can discuss contraceptives with your doctor or Plunket nurse.
Keep an eye out for signs of stress in you and your partner, and ask for help and support if you think it’s needed. You will often feel very tired in the first few months. Waking at night and taking on new responsibilities is exhausting, particularly if you have older children and a new baby.
If you can, be involved. Go to meetings that concern your family, like Plunket visits. Being at a meeting means you can speak up about anything to do with parenting. You may need to ask for appointments at times and places that will suit you both.
Indicators of post natal depression can include:
being tearful and sad
unable to see the funny side of things
seems worried about not doing a good job
blaming herself if things don’t go to plan
being overly worried about apparently small issues
sleeping a lot
not sleeping well even when baby is asleep.
As a father, if you are concerned about your partner’s health and wellbeing you could talk to the partner, another close family member, a friend, midwife, GP, Plunket nurse.
Find out more about postnatal depression.