Healthy living

Tips for mums with a new baby – how to support your partner

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest changes in a person’s life and both parents need your support. Some time your partner can feel a bit left-out, or not really know how to help in the early days. Here are some ways you can help support each other.

  • Having a baby is one of life’s biggest changes. Couples that talk about the changes that are coming before they have the baby and plan ahead  for challenges, can feel more able to deal with issues as they arise.
  • Encourage your partner to be involved with the baby right from day one. If you are breastfeeding, there are still lots of ways to bond with your baby without feeding. Skin-to-skin can be a lovely way for babies to get to know their new surroundings. Their confidence will increase the more involved they are, and it will also help build their relationship with your child.
  • Give your partner space and freedom to explore parenthood without you watching over or giving advice.
  • Agree on a few jobs that are just for your partner – for example, giving the baby a bath. This will provide them with time to bond with your child and give you a set time each day for a break.
  • Remember that parents may naturally parent differently to each other. It can help a child’s emotional development to be exposed to different styles of parenting.
  • Invite your partner to attend appointments, classes or groups with you. This can be a chance for everyone to touch base with a professional and means both of you are receiving information at the same time.
  • Be aware that your partner may become frustrated or anxious when they can’t find a solution to a problem. If you notice your partner is not their usual self, choose a time when you are both calm and not too distracted, and talk about this.
  • Try to do some activities together you enjoyed before you had your baby, even if it is just watching a half hour TV show. It is important to enjoy time together as a couple.
  • Dads can often lack social support in the early days. Encourage him to spend time with other dads, or to keep seeing his mates. Social support is important for you both.
  • Remember that dads can experience postnatal depression and anxiety too. Encourage him to seek help if he’s not himself. A visit to his GP is a good start.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor
  • See a child health nurse

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline

  • Free call 1800 882 436 (24 hour service)

Women and Newborns Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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