Proud and perhaps a little overwhelmed and stirred up by your emotions, you pick up your partner and your baby from the hospital or you travel directly home together following delivery. If your partner has rested for a few days in hospital, you will have had time to prepare everything. The baby changing unit is ready for use (this is really important ‒ think of your back!), a heat lamp has been installed above it and the cot is awaiting your little one. Creative young dads have perhaps even drawn a welcome home poster!
One thing is for sure: Your baby will initially turn your lives upside down!
The nights may be busy, your baby will perhaps suffer with belly cramps and your partner may be overcome with the baby blues... It is important that you keep your nerve and remain relaxed.
A tidy home and a full fridge should not be top of the agenda right now. A new routine will gradually establish itself ‒ in some families this will happen faster and in others slower. This depends on your baby’s temperament and perhaps also on your own ‒ just be patient.
Your baby does not need his/her own room for quite a while. It is much nicer for everyone if the cot is directly next to your bed or if you all sleep together in the family bed straight away (it will probably come to this sooner or later anyway). The basic human need for warmth and safety is not only felt by your baby ‒ you will also have a more relaxing sleep if he/she is close by. In this way, feeding and changing the baby in the night will become brief, cosy interruptions.
It is possible that your are buzzing happily around mother and child and your partner suddenly breaks down and cries. What have you done wrong? Nothing.
After birth, your partner’s hormones lead to a roller coaster of emotions. The “baby blues” occur, causing your partner to plummet into inexplicable depression. Now you can draw on what you learned during pregnancy. Show patience and understanding! Everything will be back on track within a few days.
Even if you are optimally prepared, you will suddenly be faced with unforeseen demands. Your baby is crying even though he/she has just been fed, or your baby has terrible diarrhoea or has been constipated for days. Perhaps your child sleeps and sleeps while your partner’s breasts are overflowing. Maybe you are unsure about how warmly your baby should be dressed when going out for the first walk, and so on.
Before you begin googling, listen to your intuition. Most questions can be answered intuitively.
And another tip: During the first few days, the midwife will visit your home. Write down any questions you may have. Otherwise you might not be able to remember them when she arrives and will only recall them once she has gone again.
The modern family is characterized by flexibility. Father and mother both look after their offspring and both earn money. The daily tasks are divided up equally and the weekends allow everyone to enjoy family life together. This is the ideal image and is only true in rare cases.
And is it not true that men and women have different instincts? Isn’t it normal for a father to want to protect his family? And doesn’t the mother like to see that as well?
Just do what feels right for you. For example, you can prevent your partner from becoming overtaxed through too much hustle and bustle, exertion and too many visitors. You now have a new responsibility which will not overwhelm you, but which you will take on with pride.