View Full Version : Questions for the fathers out there......
March 2nd, 2011, 08:22
Greetings fathers. I am not a father................yet but hope to be this year.
I need advice on how I can provide support for my wife during this time.
I know that while she is pregnant I can be extra supportive, patient and understanding. What I am looking for is the advice on help that she won't ask for or say she needs during and after the birth.
How can I anticipate her needs? I know that she will need a break both mental and physical as often as I can give her one. I.E as soon as I come home from work etc. etc. BUT if she breast feeds and the baby feeds every 2 hours around the clock how can I feed the baby and give her a break to sleep? I mean even if she pumps she has to be awake for that and she will need to pump every few hours anyway. With her job and my job how do we juggle this?
I want to be as prepared as possible.
We plan on getting the baby's room ready ahead of time so we don't have to work on ANY house projects and can focus on our child. We are sort of DIY addicts to be honest. :P
Any information would be helpful. Especially from the women who have children on the forum.
Essentially I am looking to be a SUPERHUSBAND and FATHER.:D
Please help me get ready to be that guy.
Thanks for all your help in advance.
March 2nd, 2011, 08:59
I think the best thing she can do is take the time off to focus 100% on the baby. Unless you want to hire a childminder. The other thing is, pregnant and breastfeeding women need to watch their diets carefully - she'll need good quality food and more of it than usual (about a third more if breastfeeding regularly).
As for yourself, better be prepared to end each day exhausted if you're going to stay at your job full-time, because you *will* be woken up in the middle of the night :p
March 2nd, 2011, 11:31
I need advice on how I can provide support for my wife during this time.
Right now find some good water birthing videos and share them with her. Feet in the air is a barbaric way to birth. Also, find out about delayed cord clamping (not choking it off until it stops pulsing onits own).
if she breast feeds and the baby feeds every 2 hours around the clock how can I feed the baby and give her a break to sleep? I mean even if she pumps she has to be awake for that and she will need to pump every few hours anyway.
She can go longer between pumpings than the baby may be ready to wait. So in our case maybe I'm feeding the baby my wife's milk at 1am, 3am, and 5am, but my wife was up just once pumping at 2:30am and then she'd pump again at 6am. What amazed me when all this was going on was that I had the energy to get through the work day. Must be something hormonal that a baby in the house causes.
With her job and my job how do we juggle this?With luck she can get 12 weeks off, and then pump at work a couple times a day when she goes back.
We are sort of DIY addicts to be honest.
May you always be. Myself, I can't imagine ever hanging drywall, installing hardwood flooring, or laying tile again like we did when we were under 40.
March 2nd, 2011, 12:38
I am a mother. :)
How can I anticipate her needs?
You can't, really. They will change pretty often. And are you asking about her needs during pregnancy or during early postpartum? But just don't discount what she's telling you she thinks or feels. Those thoughts and feelings, as irrational as they may seem to you, are VERY REAL to her.
BUT if she breast feeds and the baby feeds every 2 hours around the clock how can I feed the baby and give her a break to sleep?
If you want to let her sleep at night, then I encourage your wife learn how to nurse lying down as soon as she can. Then in that situation, you can do "everything else" - bring the baby to her, take baby back to bed, change baby's diaper, burp baby, etc. And she can be resting while the everything else is going on.
I mean even if she pumps she has to be awake for that and she will need to pump every few hours anyway. With her job and my job how do we juggle this?
Is she going back to work? Is she pregnant now? How long will she have off? For how long do you guys want to give breastmilk (both breastmilk-only, pre solids, and overall - and the recommendation now is to give only breastmilk for 6 months minimum before starting solids, and then to continue the breastmilk for at least a year)?
If she is going back to work, she might not be able to pump during the day as often as she could if she were staying home. And when she first starts making milk, she may make too much at first (it's like a woman's body often will learn just how to make the milk, first, to make sure the baby will have enough, then worry about learning how to turn off the faucet later). This would be an IDEAL time to start pumping and build up a freezer stash for when she goes back to work, then she'll still have some even if a day happens where she didn't pump as much as she needed to.
And about the pump, get a GOOD electric double pump. The Medela Pump-In-Style is a popular one that people purchase. If your hospital offers a pump rental, that might be a better option because it's an even higher-quality pump.
Any other questions about this or the birth or pregnancy or whatever, I'm happy to oblige. :)
March 3rd, 2011, 23:57
Follow your instinct and help your wife with as much house work as your work allows.
Our two children were born in the hospital: a midwife-assisted birth was practically unknown at the time. But our daughter had her first son in the hospital and her second one with a midwife. She preferred the midwife so much that she has always tried to convince her pregnant friends to do the same, with some success.
Babies do not have to be nursed every two hours. The second night at home, neither my wife nor I heard the 1:00am alarm for the scheduled nursing. Around 5am, my wife woke up suddenly and rushed to the crib; our daughter was awake, just moving her legs as if she was ready to run. From that time on, my wife spent much time playing with the baby during the day, and we were able to get about 6 hours of sleep every night, so we were extremely fortunate. When our son came two years later, we did the same. My wife had worked until two weeks before our daughter's birth, and did not go back to work until both children were in middle school.
Each child is an individual, and parents have different situations. What works for one, may not work as well for another. Nevertheless, talking to as many parents as possible will give you confidence. But don't forget that children have been born and parents have raised them since the beginning. Love is the most important gift that parents can give their children.
March 4th, 2011, 20:16
Hi, Colorado. I'm Freddy's daughter, Gwynne (is it a nickname or my real name? Only Freddy knows...)
For the record, my dad is the best father I can possibly imagine but I can't say I remember how he did when I was a newborn. I'm guessing he was about the same as he is now and it's a great way to be. To help your wife (or any other partner) through "extra-effort" periods of life, I suggest this. Any time something needed to be done around the house, my parents didn't really think about divided responsibilities ("You do the cooking and I'll do the yard." or "You do laundry and I'll do trash."). Instead, if my Mom was going through a tough time and something needed doing, my father just did it. I imagine my mother was the same way. No trumpets, no fanfare, just do what needs doing when you see it needs to be done.
I never pumped milk but I did breast feed two babies - one for 15 months (should have been longer but I was going to SMU in the late '80s and those people acted like they might turn me in to CPS for child abuse when I told them I was nursing a 15-month-old). Number two son nursed almost 2 years...until he learned to come up to me in public, stamp his foot and say "I want to nurse NOW, Mommy." I figured that was long enough. I have friends who have nursed kids to four or older.
This is not a dissertation on how long to breastfeed; instead, it is me telling you that I slept with both babies and let them eat while I slept at absolutely no detriment to any of us. I'm a pretty big girl and they were pretty small babies, but I think a mother subconsciously knows not to roll over on them. Their father was a little hesitant at first but soon realized he slept the same way. If it concerns you, though, keep the baby right beside the bed so you can at least reach for him or her easily. I had to be at work at 8 when #2 son was born and I couldn't have made it because he ate ALL THE TIME.
I had friends who told me not to do it because they'd be sleeping with me when they were in college. News flash. They sleep with you until you put an end to it. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's only a few nights of getting them bed broken (versus months of waking up every two hours and sitting in a rocking chair).
I didn't have a breast pump but I know they're divine and encourage you to rent one. It meant their father wasn't able to feed them when they were infants (I nursed exclusively for the first six months with both). I won't answer for him but I don't believe it harmed his bonding with his kids at all. Eating isn't the only kind of love an infant can recognize and fathers can communicate all of that with touch, smiles, gentle words. I know it's not the same but I'm not convinced it's detrimental to bonding.
One last thing: the period they are actually babies is very short, relatively speaking - much, much shorter than the time they are sassy teenagers. While not every second of infancy is enjoyable, the good times far outweigh the trying times. The time you devote to your kids will never be regretted. I've never heard of anyone lying on his or her deathbed lamenting "I wish I'd spent more time at work."
So, as you can tell, I talk a lot more than Freddy. Everyone in the family knows that. Now you do, too.
Bless you both as you enter this next stage. Kids are wonderful. Not every moment is wonderful but all of the moments together are the most fulfilling time you can imagine.
March 5th, 2011, 18:49
I'm the mother of four children and have breastfed them all (still breastfeeding the 13 month old).
During labor, you need to do what she asks even if she contradicts herself five minutes later. Seriously, this really happens: "Can you rub my back?" and then "No, don't touch me!" And she means it both times. It's just part of labor. Just being there and being focused on her is the most important thing. I've never felt closer to my dh than during labor and in the postpartum period.
The best thing you can do for her when she has a tiny baby is to "mother the mother". Do all the things she needs done so that she can concentrate solely on the baby and on recovering from the birth (and even the best birth requires recovery time). Make the meals, bring her a glass of water when she's sitting there nursing the baby and is suddenly exceedingly thirsty (this happens a lot, especially at first), do the laundry and the dishes. When the bed becomes a total mess of body fluids the night after she just got the sheets changed, tell her it's okay and you'll deal with it. When she cries her eyes out because the baby is so beautiful, just agree with her. She'll be as confused by some of this as you and getting through it together is incredibly bonding.
I agree with previous posters that learning to lay down and nurse is the best way to get some sleep. However, I found that difficult to do for the first few weeks so I sat up in bed for every feeding for a while. I didn't really need anything from dh at those times and it increased my confidence that I could take care of my baby. If you take care of her when she needs it and let her take care of the baby, it will pay dividends in the end. I love cuddling up with dh behind me and the baby at my breast. He looks over my shoulder and watches the baby nurse and, if the baby is awake she often looks up at both of us. It's really nice, though it happens less now with older kids running around and needing things.
I don't know much about pumping, but if there is a La Leche League in your area, she can go to some of their meetings and get lots of pointers.
She's lucky to have someone like you. Congratulations on the baby.
March 7th, 2011, 15:35
Thank you all for the very helpful advice.
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