What your partner can do
I found that I was in such a bubble when baby first arrived, with my main focus of this tiny little human to take care of, that many a time I forgot about myself, let alone my husband! Especially when you are breastfeeding, the focus really is you and your baby. Yet over those first weeks (and beyond, right up to this morning when I found him in the kitchen blitzing through the mountain of ironing), there are lots and lots of practical things that your other half can do. And if you’re reading this before Baby arrives, there are many things they can start practicing now!
Cook some dinners
I have no earthly idea what I ate every day during those first few weeks home from hospital. All I really do remember was that a hot meal was regularly presented in front of me and I was so utterly grateful for it. Now I’m blessed with a husband who loves to cook – and is a damn fine cook too – so I got tasty food too. But to be honest, that was a bonus. Some kind of meal that I didn’t have to cook was so gratefully received and so utterly needed. And that wasn’t a take away (though, those meals also do the jobs too!). I didn’t care if I ate the same meal every day for weeks on end, so this is not about mapping out an interesting menu like in a restaurant. It’s about hot fresh home cooked food to keep going during the endless days and nights.
You may get a few dinners from friends and family (especially if you are asking them for that, which is a great idea!). But for the other nights when you don’t have those go-to dinners frozen in the fridge, you are going to be hungry. So lads, work out a few meals that you can cook – grilled chicken breast, scrambled eggs, lasagne, Indian curry – it doesn’t matter what it is, but starting learning now!
Make the tea for visitors
The folk do call by, regardless of whether you’ve told them to leave you alone or not. And when they do call, they are expecting a cup of tea – especially those who don’t have kids, who don’t know just how much life has changed and how a cup of tea is quite a thing to make, let alone drink. Hot.
It’s great to get into a routine where your partner takes the lead when your guests arrive, asking about drinks and getting all that organized while the baby is cooed over. We found in our house it was especially handy having a tray permanently set up ready to go in the kitchen so all that’s needed is to add hot water….
If you’re back at work, get breakfast organised
Of all meals, I found that breakfast so important. Regardless of how little sleep I got overnight, once I ate breakfast, the clock was reset and we were in a new day. So breakfast was quite key – even though there were a few early days where I was pretty knackered that it was a bit of a struggle to make it. It was so so lovely when my husband, before he headed to work, made sure that there was breakfast waiting for me.
Bread was ready for toasting, bowls and plates all out on the counter. Sometimes a brilliant fruit smoothie was made. It was just bliss – and when you have had only a few hours sleep, it was a decadent luxury that was so appreciated. When chatting to my Other Half, he got a bit of a kick about doing that too – as he had to be in work, he felt like he was helping out during the day by setting up breakfast
It seems so simple, but it’s stuff like this that really is just so key.
Tell her that she is brilliant
Your hair is all over the place, you have grey bags under your eyes and you’re wearing oversized (yet oh so comfy) clothes as you are plonked on the couch, feeding your child. Again. For what is seems like the eighteenth time that day.
But when your partner comes home, smiles at you and says you are just fantastic, it is a great moment. You know that he may be telling a bit of a white lie if he says you look sexy – it does means a lot when he says you are just brilliant for what you are doing (and done for growing a human being!).
And while you may look a bit different from previous days where you’d be standing there ready for a big night out with full make-up and hair done, you do look brilliant. Because what you’ve done is pretty damn brilliant. And it is so lovely to hear that from someone else.
You cannot get enough of those important words of praise and support. They cannot be said enough times. Especially as you are off to go feed again. For the nineteenth time that day.