Post Natal Support for Dads

dad-and-baby-22194_1920I came accross this aricle by News Medical Life Sciences about male postnatal depression. It’s an issue we don’t hear about often but apparently is quite common, when you read the article you will see why.

It highlights the importance of support for couples as they move through the transition of becoming parents for the first time and bringing a new person into their relationship. Support from family and friends is key and the couple need to be open to that. It’s a time to let go of perfectionist attitudes and just be open to allowing friends and family to help in any way they can and surround you with their love and support. I notice that people easily do this when there is a death in the family but we are not so willing to it when a new person comes into the world.

Perhaps the parents cant accept support because they are afraid of others taking control or telling them what to do and how to raise their child. But this worry is usually unfounded as people normally offer advice because they just want to help. The best approach is to listen to all the advice, use whatever you find helpful and throw out the rest. Nobody will be offended if you don’t do it their way. They will just be happy to see you and your baby thrive.

When people want to come and visit you ask them to bring something useful like some nice food that doesn’t need much preparation. Perhaps they can just drop by the supermarket and pick up a few things you need. Do not be afraid to ask for this kind of help. Your visitors will be delighted. Most visitors to new baby households don’t know what to bring and end up going to the shops and buying some generic baby outfit that they hope fits and you haven’t got 10 more of them already. How great will they feel when you tell them exactly the kind of things and help you need.

I firmly believe that a circle of support is vital to making the difference in the early weeks with baby.  If you don’t have family nearby it’s important to get out and meet some other mums for coffee and chats. But again let go of perfectionism in this. Don’t try and have baby and yourself perfectly presented, of course it’s nice for women to put on a bit of makeup and some nice clothes, after sitting around the house in sweats for weeks it can lift our spirits but it’s important to get out and socalise even if you don’t have time for the makeup. And don’t expect to arrive exactly on time either, babies operate on a different time clock, its called the ‘now’. Sometimes there is a last minute nappy change or feed before you can get out the door. So just go with that and go along anyway even if you are a bit late you will still enjoy getting out and meeting other mums. Most mums meetups and baby classes such as Baby Massage and Baby Yoga are very relaxed affairs. After meeting some other mums for a social event your mood will be better and this will have a beneficial effect on your relationship with your partner.

Don’t forget to encourage more golden moments with daddy and baby.  And the golden moments don’t have to be just the first feed or first smile, we generally cherish those anyway.  Golden moments are happening all the time, it’s how we experience them that makes them golden and that is a choice to some extent.   We can assign changing and bathing duties to dads which provide a nice bonding opportunity for them, however, the approach needs to be relaxed and unregimented.  Allow him to do things his own way when he takes these duties on. You can give him some guidance and pointers but then go away and let him get on with it himself.  If he is so uptight about getting it right so you wont be upset then it will take the joy out of it. He will figure it out for himself and so what if he does the nappies differently. Let go of the perfectionist in everything and everyone will be happier.

Copyright November 2016