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Everything Dads Can Do to Help a New Mom

Learn ways dads/partners can help out a new mom, plus things they can do to help with breastfeeding, caring for baby, and managing the house.

Updated May 13, 2024

by Nina Spears

The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert
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Once a baby is born, many dads aren’t sure how they can help a new mom. To them, it seems as if all baby wants is mom and her boobs. It’s easy for dads to feel overwhelmed and helpless. They’re often, honestly, clueless about what they can do to pitch in and help mom and baby. You need to remember that he can’t read your mind and doesn’t know what you need.

This is why I have come up with a list of things I have told my clients’ husbands/partners to do when they bring their newborns home. Some of these things are physical help, but some help emotionally, too. She needs all this to feel like she has a partner and is not alone. So, if you know a new, expecting dad who may be unsure what to do or how to help, share this article with him. We’ll explore 10 ways for a dad to support a new mom and share how he can help her with breastfeeding, caring for baby, and managing the house.

10 Ways Dads Can Help a New Mom

Being at home alone all day with a baby without any breaks is an extremely tiring and intense role. It may seem like she is hardly doing anything or nothing at all since she may still be in her pajamas, and not a single thing has changed since you left. However, tending to a baby all day requires a great deal of emotional and physical work. Not to mention, she has no breaks.

She may also feel isolated at times, especially when baby is crying and nothing is working. That usually results in an emotional mama. Offering emotional and physical help allows her to heal, recharge, and become a better mother to baby and partner to you. It certainly makes mothering MUCH easier when mothers feel they are being taken care of, too. So, here is my list of how dads can help a new mom:

1. Tell Her She’s Doing a Great Job

Many mothers doubt themselves and wonder if they are doing anything right. Encourage her and let her know that she’s doing a great job. Tell her you are proud of her, and remind her how much you love her.

2. Make Sure That She Eats Enough

Ensure that she eats enough, which helps with milk production, and make her snacks and meals.1 If you have to go back to work quickly, prepare some snacks before leaving for work and when you get back home. That way, there are quick and easy things to eat ready for her in the pantry and fridge. You can also pick up food-to-go or order delivery to ensure she is taking the time to eat.

3. Let Her Take a Bath or Shower (Uninterrupted)

Allow her to take as long as she would like when showering/bathing. I recommend taking baby out for a walk to get some fresh air during this time. If baby gets upset, then mom won’t hear and come rushing out of the tub/shower, defeating the whole purpose of her having this time to relax.

4. Let Her Vent to You

If she wants to keep talking about her labor and birth, let her talk about it as many times as she needs. Do not get annoyed by this. Listen to her and be compassionate toward her experience. Being a good listener is vital. She’ll want to talk about things even more desperately if she doesn’t feel heard

5. Be Patient With Her, and Do NOT Try To “Fix” Her

Remember, her hormones are all over the place.2 She just gave birth. Her body is recovering, and she is running on little sleep. She is going through a whole lot. Let her cry and be emotional. Be there to comfort her and be a shoulder for her to cry on.

6. Encourage Her To Seek Support

Encourage her to seek support from other mothers in the community. Also, check in with her regularly to see if she feels she is coping well with the transition into motherhood. If she appears to be struggling with her birth experience or becoming a new mom, or you suspect she may have some emotional trauma from it all, lovingly suggest she speak to a professional.

7. Get Her a Postpartum Massage

Holding a baby throughout the day and night can build a lot of tension in her shoulders and back.3 So, get her a postpartum massage to help her relax. This can relieve tension and pain and help her sleep better.4 The massage therapist can come to the house, or you can have her get out of the house for a relaxing spa day. If you want to save money, give her a massage yourself. She will love it!

8. Don’t Worry About a Messy House

Don’t get upset if the house is messier than usual. Instead, you can pitch in and tidy up if things are piling up. For instance, you might help with the vacuuming, encourage your other kids to pick up their messes, clean the kitchen, etc.

9. Do NOT Pressure Her for Sex or Any Sexual Acts

Remember, her body is healing after giving birth. Intimacy will return soon. The pressure will not help the situation and may push her away even further.

10. Pamper and Spoil Her

Send her out for a haircut, color, or blowout so she can feel a bit more refreshed and more like herself. Let her take over the remote control. Buy her some flowers to brighten her day, or get her a present for no reason. Or send her out to buy a new outfit or two! After having a baby, her maternity clothes won’t fit exactly right, and neither will her pre-pregnancy clothes, which can leave moms feeling miserable with not much to wear. Having new items that fit well can help her feel better. 🙂

Things Dad Can Do When She’s Breastfeeding

Although dads can’t help with the actual breastfeeding, there are ways dads can make the breastfeeding process easier for a new mom:

Things Dads Can Do With Baby

Mom needs to take regular breaks to recharge and have time for herself. To help her rest, here are some things you can do with baby:

  • Help with bathing and diaper changing: Make sure you learn how to bathe baby and change diapers — even those poopy diapers. Moms love it when dads take over a specific job or jobs. Many dads now do the nightly bath time routine to take something off mom’s plate. This is perfect for father-baby bonding time. Having a routine is great for mom since this will give her a little time to herself.
  • Take over some of the feedings: Do some feedings in the middle of the night. Or bring baby to mom if she is breastfeeding (could also be expressed breastmilk to give her a rest). Feed baby in the morning before you leave for work (again with expressed breastmilk or formula if formula-fed) so mom can sleep in.
  • Try to soothe baby: When baby is crying, try to soothe baby yourself so mom can have a break. Then, she won’t get overwhelmed or flustered with always being the one to soothe baby.
  • Take baby out for a walk: As bonding time, dad can take baby out of the house and walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park with them. This lets mom have some quiet time for herself.
  • Help with your other children: If you have other children, help look after them so mom can have quality time with the new baby and adjust to life with a newborn. This also applies to your other children — they all need equal one-on-one time with both parents.

Things Dads Can Do In The House

A huge thing to remember is if you see something that needs to be done, don’t leave it or wait to be asked to do it. Make a conscious effort each day to check to see if there’s anything you can help with and do it. If you can’t remember some of those things, bookmark this article. Here are some ways for dads to help around the house:

  • Find a housekeeper: If it’s in the budget, hire a housekeeper regularly. If possible, do this in the early weeks/months. However, if that is out of the budget, you can help clean the house yourself. That includes every room in the home and bathrooms, too.
  • Help with the laundry: You’ll be surprised how things pile up, especially baby clothes. By doing a load of laundry, you can help mom take a load off!
  • Handle house visitors: Take charge of making sure visitors don’t outstay their welcome or show up at inconvenient hours. Share this with your guests: What to Do (and NOT Do) When Visiting a New Baby.
  • Hire a postpartum doula: A postpartum doula can help with baby care and attend to mom. They can also provide support like light housework and someone to lean on in times of need.6
  • Take over some of the household responsibilities: This means paying bills, organizing thank-you notes, making appointments, etc.
  • Help with grocery shopping: Take over the grocery shopping or watch baby if mom wants some alone time while getting the groceries.

I’m not saying you have to constantly be cleaning and on high alert without having a rest or “you” time. You have a lot going on, too. But there are small things dads can do to help a new mom that requires little effort, like while you are already in a specific room. Doing these little things each day will allow your partner to appreciate you more, and you will have an easier time in your relationship and parenting.

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Nina Spears The Baby Chick®: Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Expert
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Nina is The Baby Chick® & Editor-in-Chief of Baby Chick®. She received her baby planning certification in early 2011 and began attending births that same year. Since then, Nina has… Read more

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