UNWRITTEN BEST PRACTICES FOR NEW DADS
*Apart from breastfeeding, there’s nothing a mother can do, that a father cannot do, or assist in doing. Make your paternity leave, weekends or any time you’re around worth its weight in gold.
*Talking of feeding… Whether your wife is exclusively breastfeeding or not, there are ways you can help to feed the baby while she takes a nap or spend some “me time” in a warm bath tub. You can also take turns in feeding the baby at night instead of leaving her alone to do all the vigil.
*Bond with the baby as much as possible. Carry her often, even if it feels clumpsy initially. It is not every time a baby is fussy that she needs to be breastfed. She might just need some “tummy time” on your broad chest!
*Postnatal depression is real. Pay attention to your wife’s physical and mental health. Are the mood swings getting out of hand? Is she getting less interested in the things she used to be passionate about? Is she complaining about how bad a mother she is? Is she eating too much or too little? Is she showing less affection for the baby or expressing regret for having the baby?
These and other red flags may be pointing to depression. Call your doctor if you’re in doubt.
*Don’t stop praising your wife for the amazing job she’s doing. She needs to be reassured every now and then. There’s no such thing as too much pampering for a new mommy.
*Overlook small flaws. Don’t expect a woman who just went through labour to come home and continue to act like superwoman. Her energy level is at the nadir now. Her immunity is lowest. Her body remains weak and vulnerable until about six weeks postpartum when she may have recovered.
*Embrace the new look : Her face may remain puffy for a while. Her tummy would be flabby and full of stretch marks. Episiotomy or CS scar? Yeah. Don’t expect her to change to her pre-pregnancy weight overnight. Help her to be confident in her new body while you encourage her to recover her sweet sixteen shape.
*Remind her to worship her Lord: Motherhood itself is an act of worship and the busy life of a new mom could make her overlook her ebaadaat. You must continue to enjoin her to do dhikr, recite the Qur’an, give sadaqa, etc. After the postpartum bleeding, remind her to establish salaah, fast (and repay her missed fasts), and observe other acts of worship. “And enjoin As-Salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them…” (Qur’an chapter 20 verse 132)
*Don’t run away from za oza room: A lot of couples become sexually distant from each other until the end of the postpartum bleeding and beyond. This is unnecessary torture. Do you know that you can do everything couples do, except intercourse? ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to tell me to wear a waist wrapper, then he would be intimate with me when I was menstruating.” (Agreed upon)
*Take care of yourself, too. As a super daddy who takes good care of his wife, new baby and other children (if any), you also deserve all the best care you can get. Once in a while, get someone to babysit the kids and go on a date with your sweetheart. You can also go solo for a moment, or have a chat with your friends. An hour or two away from home will not hurt.