The first few weeks of parenthood can feel quite overwhelming.
Even after the months of preparation, it’s easy to feel lost as you try to find your feet as a new parent.
You might start to doubt all of your decisions and constantly question whether you’re doing this whole parenting thing ‘right’. Don’t worry, everybody feels like that.
Try to think about how your partner feels during these early days.
She’s probably physically exhausted, and perhaps emotionally affected by the birth.
She is probably dealing with hormonal changes, and the subsequent emotional roller coaster of the postpartum period.
She’s also trying to establish breastfeeding, and battling sore nipples, exhaustion and blocked milk ducts.
And, if all that isn’t enough, she’s in charge of a new, living, breathing human being and feeling terrified she’s doing everything wrong.
10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner After She’s Given Birth
You have an important role to play here in supporting your partner.
She needs time – to heal from the birth and to come to grips with breastfeeding. Neither of these is easy to do when you’re exhausted from staying up to care for a new baby.
Here are 10 phrases to add to your vocabulary during the postpartum period:
#1: You Were Amazing
Childbirth is a primal experience unlike anything else. You probably came away from it with a newfound respect and admiration for your partner.
Women show their strength, determination and power during birth, as they bring new life into the world. Don’t forget to remind her how amazing she was.
In the days after birth, women can feel especially vulnerable. Take every opportunity to remind her of her inner warrior. Give her the confidence boost she needs to help her through these early (and exhausting) days of motherhood.
#2: I’ve Run You A Bath
A soak in a warm bath can do wonders for a swollen undercarriage (no, that’s not a medical term), so do your bit for her bits by running her a bath.
While she’s feeding the new baby, take the opportunity to run her a bath. Stick a magazine in the bathroom, light a candle and create a tranquil and relaxing environment for her.
Once baby has a full tummy, take over the cuddling and send your partner off for a soak in the tub.
It might only be a 20-minute bath, but to an overtired and overworked new mama it can feel like a week-long spa vacation.
#3: Why Don’t You Try To Get Some Sleep?
She might be up and awake for much of the night with your party animal of a baby, but that doesn’t mean she has to make do with zero zzzs.
Limit the number of visitors for the first month so you both have plenty of opportunity to catch up on sleep when you need to.
Encourage her to sleep when the baby sleeps – even if it’s in the middle of the day. It’s only temporary; your baby will eventually get the hang of night and day.
Until that happens, you might as well try to stay on the right side of sleep deprived.
Help out by staying on top of dish-washing and laundry, and stop her doing household chores when she should be resting.
#4: I’ll Do That
If you see her bending down to pick up laundry, or hunched over the machine ready to fold clean clothes, usher her away. Don’t let her tidy up the mess in the living room or mop the kitchen floor.
Her body needs to heal after the birth. Even a fuss-free natural birth can have a huge physical impact. If she’s not busy looking after the baby, she should be resting so her body can recover.
Encourage her to enjoy some self-care. It might be reading a book, watching a favourite show or taking a bath. Let her indulge herself while you take care of things at home.
#5: You’re Such A Good Mother
Suddenly seeing your partner as a mother can be a huge shift. You’re parents now, and that’s a major thing. When you’re constantly terrified you’re doing everything wrong, and she looks like such a natural at this whole parenting thing, be sure to tell her.
When you see her doing something naturally, or when the baby seems happy to see her, point it out. It might look effortless for her, but on the inside she’s probably just as scared as you are. Besides, it never hurts to offer a bit of reassurance to a new parent.
#6: Can I Get You Anything?
A newborn baby loves to be in his mama’s arms. If he isn’t attached to her boob, he’s asleep in the crook of her arm or snoozing peacefully against her chest. Your partner is probably hungry, thirsty and desperate to pee, but being trapped under a sleeping baby means there’s not much she can do to help herself.
Ok, you can’t pee for her, but you can help her out by getting her a drink, a snack, or her phone – or whatever else she wants. Make sure you offer help whenever you see her with a sleeping baby. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and you’ll be making that clingy newborn stage a little more bearable.
#7: Here, Let Me Take The Baby
Ok, you can’t breastfeed, but your life as a hands-on dad starts on Day 1. Once that gorgeous newborn has a full tummy, he’ll be happy to sleep on your chest for ages, which will free your partner to have a little baby-free time to herself.
A baby who’s awake can easily be encouraged into sleep. Put him in the sling, and take a walk; it doesn’t require mama.
Holding a baby in your arms is lovely, but not so easy when it’s constant. Give your partner her arms back by offering to hold the baby whenever you can.
#8: Say Cheese
Thanks to your smartphone, you have a decent quality camera in your hands pretty much at all times. Make sure you use it.
Your partner probably takes photos of you whenever you hold the baby, and she’ll have a camera roll of snaps of the baby. But she probably doesn’t have many of her and the baby, so make sure you take some.
Don’t let her fob you off by saying her hair looks terrible, or she doesn’t have any makeup on. She won’t care about that in 30 years when she looks back at the photos. She’ll be glad to have snapshots of these early days.
#9: I’m So Proud Of You
You are, of course. You’re proud of her for giving you such a beautiful baby. And proud of her for how she handled the birth. You’re proud of how she’s taking motherhood in her stride, and how she’s already the best possible mother your baby could wish for. Make sure you tell her just how proud you really are. She deserves to hear it.
#10: Is There Anything I Can Do To Help?
Right now, she needs your support. Be there for her, help her out and be a team.
It’s not always easy to figure out how you can help her. Sometimes it feels like you are doing or saying the wrong things. Sometimes it feels easier to do nothing, rather than to try, and then fail.
So, ask her how you can help. Don’t be afraid to ask; it will give her the opportunity to tell you exactly what she needs from you.