For the first few months of Shola’s daughter’s life, he refused to hold her. It was not because he was mean, but because he was afraid he would hurt her, as she was quite small. Even her mother had to swaddle her with several shawls to be able to carry her comfortably, without being afraid of hurting her.
During that time too, Shola’s wife was the only one caring for the baby, and when you add the fact that she was up most nights, it was not a nice woman who informed him that he had not been pulling his weight where the care of their new daughter was concerned.
He felt helpless with his baby; he couldn’t carry her when she cried, he most definitely would not change diapers or bathe the baby, so his wife took care of baby’s needs, the house, feeding him…and that did not help their relationship at all.
Instead of being happy that the child they had longed for for so long had come, they bickered over the last time either partner had 8 straight hours of sleep, or even carried the baby. Not to mention the strain caused by Shola’s inability to have sex with his wife, even after six weeks had gone by.
That was because his wife spent most of the night with the baby, and sex was not going to happen with a screaming baby around. So the atmosphere became even more charged. Rather than bring mom and dad closer, the baby drove a wedge between them, with the amount of attention she needed.
But the truth is, some men will never be able to change diapers, or feed their babies. My daddy never carries a new born baby. He always fears dropping the baby. Rather than carry, he would ogle the baby from afar…even with his own grandchildren, so it never bothered anyone. But, aside the complaints of Shola’s wife, there are still some things that, if he knew about babies and his new role as a dad, would have helped them during those early stages.
#Truth 1: Moms are also new to the job
No matter how maternal or nurturing a woman is, when she becomes a new mom, it is a new experience…the same way it is for the new dad too. New moms have to learn as they go along, with the fervent hope that what they are doing is what is right for baby.
Shola’s wife described her experience this way, “My daughter was my guinea pig. I had never bathed a baby before, but I had to learn with her, as small as she was. My heart was always in my mouth whenever I bathed her. I prayed that nothing would go wrong; that the water temperature would not be too high or low, that soap would not enter her eyes. I worried about a lot of things, none of which happened, thankfully.”
She soon realized that she was not superwoman, when the baby needed her at all times, and she was still expected to take care of the whole house. Like the smart mom she had become, she asked for help to do the other things, so she could concentrate on the baby and its needs.
#Truth 2: Breastfeeding might not be enough
Although, Shola’s daughter was small, she had a healthy appetite. She was always breast feeding, and practically slept on the breast during feeds. And when she awoke again, she would immediately start rooting for the breast again. When her mother started to feel lightheaded after each breastfeeding session, she had to ask that her father buy some baby formula, which he was not disposed to, as he felt that feeding her breast milk would improve her weight faster than processed milk would.
I know a mother of twin boys, who had been breast feeding her boys when she fainted and was rushed to the hospital, less than a month after her she gave birth. Not only did the doctor advice her to add formula to their menu, the hospital gave her some tins of milk to start with.
So new dads, we know you have the best interest of your babies at heart but when breast milk no longer fills a child, or becomes too strenuous for the mother, then it is time to add baby milk to it.
#Truth 3: Diapers!
This single word resonates with a lot of mothers worldwide. Having a sufficiency of diapers is a major concern; diapers can never be too much. Changing diapers soon becomes one of the most frequent activities of new mothers, with some even doing it in their sleep…it is that ingrained in their memory. Some sleep deprived moms of twins have been known to wipe and change same bottom twice.
For dads, new moms would like you to know how to change babies diapers, even if it is just once in a while, so mom can sleep a little longer. While you are it, don’t finish the wipes in one diaper change. And thank you for disposing off the used diapers properly, instead of leaving it for mom to dispose off.
#Truth 4: Babies changes our bodies
We don’t want you to say it, or tell us about our new bodies, but pregnancy, child birth and breastfeeding all take their toll on our bodies. We have lines where we never had them before.
Your job is to tell us we look sexy all the same, regardless of the truth that our favourite jeans tell us. We might not look it to ourselves, but your words do a lot for our self image, so don’t be stingy with the praise.
There are other truths that daddies need to know but you can include them in this list and hand it over to your loved one to read, so he knows how to help you better.
After all, it was both of you who made the baby.
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