First of all I am blessed to have a wonderful new baby girl and a great wife. I have just felt overwhelmed with being a new dad. I am tired and just not sure what to do at times. I have noticed that my wife is exhausted and I feel bad for her as she is getting a little upset at times. Do any of you have advice on the first few months with a newborn? I am trying to do my best with feedings etc. I am back at work and it makes it tougher on my wife. She is home for another month, and it seems like she is getting burned out quite easily. Thanks and God Bless.
Tell your wife to nap when she can and help her clean up after dinner or throw a load of laundry in for her…She could join a local mothers group, that helped me b/c I got to talk to women in the same situation…and I was up every hour nursing…It gets easier after the first 3 months…
mkipp, congratulations on the birth of your daughter. Having a newborn in the home is certainly difficult (especially your first). And while you’re adapting to this life changing event, try to be cognizant of your wife’s needs and remember patience is a virtue. And while it is easy to get bogged down in the daily needs of the baby, try to give yourself some time to relish the reality of your situation. Enjoy every moment. There are many parents on this board who can attest to the fact that time flies when you are watching your children grow. My beautiful first-born baby girl will soon be starting her sophomore year in high school, there are many times that I miss holding that chubby little gift from God in my arms and watching her sleep.
Congratulations!! The first few weeks and months are pretty exhausting. My DH was only off of work for a week. In the first few weeks, I often slept when the baby slept during the day. That helped tremendously, because if you’re tired, everything aggravates you and you become frustrated. Please encourage your wife to do this; she will feel so much better and won’t feel nearlly as overwhelmed. I didn’t do it for all his naps, but at least once during the day. Take one day at a time; if you look too far in the future, then it stays overwhelming. And know that these hard moments with lack of sleep won’t last forever.
We were so fortunate that our son started sleeping 6 hours a night at around 6 weeks and then 8 hours at 8 weeks and soon after that was sleeping 10 to 12 hours (can’t remember - it’s been almost 10 years!). Before he slept through the night, though, if it was during the week, I slept in the guest bedroom, which was a bit closer to the baby’s room and we kept our bedroom door shut. That way, when our son woke up during the night, my DH wouldn’t wake up and could get some solid sleep. Once DH got home from work, the baby was his, which he enjoyed very much, and I got to rest as much as possible or just sit and relax and read a magazine or watch TV. Since DH had gotten a good night’s sleep, he had the energy to take care of him. On the weekends, DH would get up with the baby and feed him while I pumped so I could get a little more rest in between feedings.
I hope y’all are enjoying your baby girl. It’s SO hard to get wrapped up in the day-to-day schedule that sometimes it’s hard to remember to just sit back and relish the moment. I do remember just watching my baby sleep (and to check that he was still breathing!) and I was just in awe of the miracle of life. I keep a photo of small photo of him in my office from when he was about 2 months old, sleeping on the couch. The frame, from a dear friend, says, “Children are a gift from God.”
One thing that my DH has always done since we were married is clean up the kitchen after dinner, and he’s in charge of loading and unloading the dishwasher. All I do is put away leftovers. We both work outside the home, so we’ve always divided chores. Now that he doesn’t work as many hours as me, he cooks/heats dinner during the week. We go out for dinner after Mass on Saturdays, so I am in charge of dinner on Sundays - BUT he likes to grill, so all I have to worry about is side dishes.
I know right now it feels like this exhaustion will never end… it will. Things DO get better. Having a young infant at home is HARD - exhaustion, tears, frustration - it’s all so normal.
Make sure your wife is getting as much rest as possible - no housework, no laundry - just SLEEP… and constant praying - I think that’s how I scraped through.
They do grow up, and routines become easier. Prayers that things ease up for you soon!!!
Take the baby with you for a drive, and leave your wife at home to rest. The movement of the car often gets the baby to sleep. Go grocery shopping. You can put the baby carrier in the shopping cart, or some of them can lock onto the toddler seat at the front of the cart.
Or, put the baby in a stroller and walk around the block. With just one, this shouldn’t be too hard. Ask her if she wants to come along if she wants. Getting out of the house can do a lot of good, not to mention more sunlight, and fresh air. On the other hand, she might want to just be alone for a while to process. Time alone is also important.
I totally agree. I have a 2 year old, and the best gift that I could give my wife was the opportunity to have a break from the baby. Not that she didn’t want to be with the baby, but she never got alone time or time to do what she wanted. Really makes a huge difference when you give her that.
It seems that we are gettting on a schedule, with our duties defined. I do the early morning feedings as I am getting up for work, and she does the last night feeding. I also do all the cooking as it is summer and I can grill. We have even been taking evening walks with the dog all together. I feel proud when we are out with the family. We booked the date for the Baptism today. Thanks for the advice. I am just so proud of my wife for being such a great mom, and wife.
The best thing you can do is tell your wife that you’re proud of her for being such a great mom.
In fact, buy a sweet card, write that on it, and give it to her so that she’ll have something to hang onto when everything seems to be going bad.
When my husband told me that I was a good mother, it was real turn-around for me. I had been feeling overwhelmed and almost resentful of the baby. He told me that I was a good mother, and I was strong and happy again.
After you’ve told her how great she is, back it up with actions. Several people have already made some great suggestions, and it sounds like you are really pitching in and helping with the cooking and other household tasks. You won’t have to do this forever, BTW.
Don’t offer to “babysit.” You’re a dad not a babysitter. (Just a pet peeve.)
Order in something your wife doesn’t have to cook once in a while. Light some candles and put it on china. It will be a while before she can go out to a nice restaurant and leave the baby. So bring the good food to her.
Clean up after her/thebaby/yourself. Remember when you get home you’re “off from work” and on the weekends you have a “weekend.” It never ends for the mommy. She’s on 24/7. That’s a lot of pressure. There is no downtime. When the baby cries, she FEELS it in a way you don’t. It goes to the base of her central nervous system and she cannot relax unless the baby is relaxed. Whatever you can do to help that happen will make your wife much more comfortable.
And remember that daughters always need their fathers to watch out for them. You’re in it for the long haul. The best thing you can give your daughter is a solid happy marriage and a happy family. Good luck.
One bit of advice I’d give is to enjoy the heck out of these first few months–even the hardships–because it won’t be long that you’ll look back and wish things were that easy again. I got in a somewhat nasty argument about this with a friend of mine whose firstborn was just nearing his first birthday. He was telling another friend how the first few months were the hardest, most nerve-wracking times you’d ever go through as a parent, and when I laughed about it he threw a fit. He didn’t believe that the terrible 2’s, 3’s 4’s, 7’s 12’s, 15’s, etc. could be as difficult as having a baby who slept 12-18 hours a day. Several years and half a dozen daycare centers later (his son kept getting kicked out for fighting, biting and making guns with his fingers), he now tells other friends with newborns the same things I told him.
You’ve received a lot of great advice so far!
From a mom’s perspective ( I’ve also just had a baby - our 3rd, and am feeling completely overwhelmed - much like I did when our first was born), I want to reiterate some of the things others have said because they are so true!
- when the baby cries, the mother experiences it in a much different way than the father - a pp mentioned that ‘it goes to the base of her central nervous system and she can’t relax’ - this is SO true!
If you’re looking to help your wife get some rest, take your daughter out of the house and say to her that you want to go enjoy some time with your little treasure, and you’ll be back in 2 hours (or however long). This way, she’ll know that she has so long to soak in the tub, take a nap, etc. And she won’t experience the adrenaline/worry of hearing the baby crying downstairs while you care for her. This is not relaxing for a new mom!
It’s important, too, that when you come home from your father/daughter outing, that you put on a smiling face and say how much you enjoyed it, even if the baby screamed the whole time! Because if you don’t, your wife will feel the added burden of needing to tend to her husband as well as tending to her baby And then your time and energy spent trying to do something nice for your wife will backfire because she’ll be double stressed when you return home!
If your wife is breastfeeding, this may be a little more difficult to go out of the house with the baby, but still doable with planning.
keep in mind that exhaustion does things to people! And exhaustion on top of postpartum hormones will make it very difficult for your wife to control her emotions, so try to be patient and gentle (with yourself, too! as you’re exhausted as well:)
Sounds like you’re taking the baby for feedings at times during the night - this is great - good for you, daddy!
Like others have said, it’s great that you’re pitching in and helping with things around the house. Even just the simple act of cleaning the kitchen/dishes after dinner is very helpful - I know that I find it really hard to get the motivation to cook anything for dinner most nights because I know that I won’t have time to clean up afterwards!! But if the baby is only a few weeks old, your wife should not have to worry about cooking right now, anyway - someone else should be doing that for her, too.
Try to keep in mind that traditionally in most cultures, when a woman has a baby, there is a whole community of people there to help the family. These days, the mother and father are expected to take on so many more responsibilities, because we just don’t have the community to step in and care for the mother, while she cares for the baby.
Sorry that I’m rambling a bit! But I’m also right in the throws of adjusting to a new baby, and it can be quite difficult.
Hang in there - like others have said, this phase will pass and your little girl will be a big girl before you know it!
It really goes to show that you’re a great husband and father by you just taking the time to start this thread:)
And lastly, Congratulations!!!
When you are home, change every diaper possible. This will not only give you a chance to see and play with your baby for a few minutes but will give your wife a break - realize she is changing all the other ones
As someone said, help her clean up after dinner… I would say do more than that. If you are working you probably can’t do this daily, but cook dinner a couple of night and maybe bring home some the others or take her out.
It may seem like she is just sitting around the house but she isn’t… she is full time taking of your new child. She is probably has had little adult conversation except for a few visits and rarely been out of the house. When the baby is ready, take her out some, get out of the house! Do it right after a feeding and the baby will probably sleep through dinner.
When I 4th was born in February I got my wife a Netbook (Dell Mini9 from the Dell outlet store, can pick one up for about $200). If your wife is breastfeeding she will spend a lot of time sitting in a chair the first few weeks. This gave my wife the ability to surf the net some, post pictures and give updates on facebook etc…
Finally tell her every day, multiple times a day how much you love her, how much you love your new baby, how much you appreciate her and how beautiful she is!
*CONGRATULATIONS, MKIPP! How exciting!
As much as a new baby in your lives can be so exciting, the situation can be confusing, tiring…
Something that helped me very much, was that my husband would take a day off here and there, while I was a newly SAHM, and we would go out to eat with our son/daughter, and resume “normal” activities. I think perhaps your wife is feeling couped up in the house, tired…frustrated, hormones still flairing…it can help GREATLY if you guys go out for an evening with the baby, and just try to resume normal activity. I also suggest if you can hire someone to do the laundry every other week, clean the floors, etc…to give her a little break. I remember when I was just home with my kids from the hospital, and hubby had to go back to work, and I felt overwhelmed, like I wasn’t getting everything ‘done.’ Getting someone to come in and clean now and again helped a lot.
You sound like you’re doing a great job thus far…don’t overthink things. Let things flow naturally, be a shoulder to cry on for your wife if she needs it, and be a bear hug for her when she needs that, too. God bless! :)*