10 Things Every New Dad Needs to Know

10 Things Every New Dad Needs to Know | Baby Chick

10 Things Every New Dad Needs to Know

OneCongratulations!

You are about to have or just had a baby!

Whether you have read all of the baby books or not, as a new dad, you still might not feel like you are fully prepared for this new addition and change in your life. Over the years, I’ve assisted many new parents during their transition into parenthood. With everything that I’ve seen and experienced with new dads, I wanted to create a list that would better prepare them for what’s to come and how to make this new chapter in their lives easier.

While writing this list, I also asked several experienced parents what they wished they would have known before baby. I’ve included some of their words of wisdom in this post as well.

Here are my top 10 things that every new dad needs to know:

1. Her Baby Belly Doesn’t Immediately Go Away

You may think that her belly is going to go right back to normal because baby isn’t pushing it out anymore. Well, I am here to tell you that her baby bump is not going to go away immediately. The uterus takes about six to eight weeks to get back to its normal pear-shaped size, but that’s just her uterus. Her body will take longer to adjust back to normal. Be prepared that right after she has had the baby, she will still look like she is six or seven months pregnant. It also depends on how much weight she gained during her pregnancy. I tell moms that it took nine months to grow a baby, so it can take nine months to get back to her “normal” self.

Related: How Dads Can Help a New Mom

2. Hormones!

From giving birth to her hormones changing and her body recovering and taking care of a new baby at all hours of the day and night, your wife/partner is going to need your understanding and support. Be gentle and patient with her during this time. One mom, Sarah, said, “Be her voice of reason when she’s feeling anxious, her cheerleader when she feels she’s failing, and her pillar of support when she needs strength. Postpartum emotions can be such a roller coaster, and having a husband there encouraging her through those ups and downs makes such a huge difference.”

It’s common for women to experience baby blues, which occur within the first 14 days after birth. About 70-80% of women will experience baby blues, so it is something to be aware of. If she is still showing signs of sadness or any other changes beyond the first two weeks (including at six months and beyond), she could be experiencing postpartum depression. Let her know that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that many women experience this. Tell her that her health and happiness are a priority. Contact a local counselor or therapist who specializes in working with families during the postpartum time for her to talk to for help.

3. Jealousy

Some dads have expressed some jealousy after the baby is born. New dads can feel like the baby prefers mom over them, and that can make them feel less loved and valued as a parent. My friend, Aimee, had a comment about this and said, “You may not be the favorite (parent) for several months. Be prepared that baby will most likely only want and only be comforted by mom for a while. It’s normal and okay. It doesn’t last forever, and you can still be extremely helpful and useful in other ways.”

Fellow doula, Nicole, added, “Daddies aren’t mommies. And mommies aren’t daddies. Partners bring their own special way of parenting to parenting. Don’t expect to soothe your baby the way mommy does. And vice versa. Your baby’s life will be much more enriched by YOUR love and guidance as a companion to the mother’s way of doing things. Your way is just as important and amazing and needed. Never feel like your contribution is not enough or not the right way.” So even though you may feel a little jealous at times, what you do and your role as a dad is just as important and needed.

Related: Why Sons Need Involved Fathers

4. Communicate!

As they say, “everything will change once you have a baby,” so communication with your partner is key! An experienced dad, Aaron, said, “Be honest and communicate your wants and needs to your partner (keeping in mind, timing is everything.)” Timing really is everything. And not only that, your tone in how you communicate is everything as well. (Remember those hormones of hers. She is very sensitive right now.) Yes, the mother is going through a lot, but we know that dads are going through a lot, too, so talk to your wife/partner and express how you feel.

Aimee said, “Communicate with your wife and be open about your feelings. It’s a sensitive but exciting time, and you will need to rely on each other a lot until you get in a groove. Don’t let yourself get too frustrated because it’s all temporary.”

5. Paternal Postnatal Depression Exists

Most people know that postpartum depression exists for women, but most people don’t know that paternal postnatal depression (PPND) exists for men. “Depression among new dads is not uncommon, and they’re not alone,” says Will Courtenay, Ph.D., LCSW, author of Dying to Be Men (Routledge, 2011). “The fact is, one in four new dads in the United States become depressed. It’s normal for dads to need help as they enter fatherhood.” This is another reason why communication is so important. If you feel like you aren’t feeling better or like yourself after a few weeks and need to speak with someone, find a counselor or therapist in your area that specializes in working with families during the postpartum time.

6. Breastfeeding Can Be Difficult

New dads usually think that breastfeeding is natural, that it should come easily to the mother, and it’s something that she has to figure out on her own. This is not necessarily true. Breastfeeding can be difficult for a lot of women. She needs your help during this learning curve. Dads usually tell me they don’t know how to help when she is breastfeeding, so here are some things that you can do:

  • Help her get a good latch (watch some videos on YouTube about it).
  • Get baby in the right position for feeding.
  • Help assemble and dissemble the breast pump and sanitize it.
  • Help burp the baby and change the diapers between feedings.
  • Keep track that your wife/partner is eating enough food (500 extra calories) and drinking enough water for good milk production.

If this is her first baby, then she knows just about as much as you do about breastfeeding. Having your encouragement and support means everything to her. If things aren’t getting better, get in touch with a local La Leche League group or a lactation consultant. By doing all of these things, you can help both of you have a better experience in the beginning.

7. Conquer the Car Seat

Your baby’s safety is essential! One thing that is a requirement before you can take baby home is to have the car seat installed correctly in the car. The problem is, 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly. Most dads think that they can figure it out themselves, but you don’t want to mess around with your baby’s safety. This is why I recommend getting your car seat checked by a child passenger safety technician (CPST) to make sure that you put yours in correctly. If you didn’t put it in correctly, then he/she can show you how to install it properly. Make sure that you get this done and know how to use it before baby arrives! Read here for more information about car seats and where to get yours checked.

8. People Want to Help, So It’s Okay to Ask for Help

In America, we feel like we have to figure out and do everything on our own, so we don’t become a “burden” to others or look like we are incapable of taking care of a baby ourselves. But let me tell you a little secret. When it comes to newborns, people want to help. There’s a reason why they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Because everyone needs a helping hand, you can’t do this on your own. If you need someone to pick something up for you, bring you food, watch the baby so you can have some rest or alone time, or whatever it is, people are more than happy to help. So take it! And if you live in a new area and don’t have any family or friends nearby, know that there are postpartum doulas that can help you during this transition as well.

9. Be Present–Showing Up is Half the Job

I once heard someone say, “As a dad, showing up is half the job.” He explained that in certain moments you might not know the right thing to do or the right thing to say, and that’s okay. Just being present and showing your support makes you a good dad and partner. So, if you’re feeling clueless in a moment and wanting to walk away because you don’t know what to do or say, don’t, and instead, just be present for your partner and listen to her. That sometimes is all she needs.

new daddy | baby chick

Photo credit: rophotographyportraits.com

10. LOVE Your Partner

As John Wooden once said, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” And I couldn’t agree more. By showing your love and affection to your partner, you are teaching your child what love is, how to give it, and how to receive it. You are creating peace and stability in your children’s lives. You are teaching your sons how to properly love and respect others–including their mother and sisters–and future partner. And you are teaching your daughters what real love looks like and that she should never settle for less.

These are my top ten things every new dad needs to know. What are some things that you would want new dads to know?

About the Author /

Nina is The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®. She is a baby planner, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn care specialist, and a mother. With over eight years of experience, she has supported hundreds of families during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys.

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What are yours??
Remember what it was like when you were home with Remember what it was like when you were home with a newborn? Remember how you felt? Tired. Sore. Swollen. Engorged. So happy to finally meet your baby but also completely exhausted. You wished you had more help. You wished you could take a break. You wished you could only focus on staring at your baby and snuggling them and not have to worry about preparing food, chores, etc.⁠
Even though things may be more difficult now to offer help, still try to be the friend you wished you had when your babies were newborns to your friends and loved ones. ❤️ Things you can do:⁠
- Drop off a meal at their door⁠
- Drop off some of your favorite postpartum recovery items or breastfeeding products you loved⁠
- Go grocery shopping for them and leave it at the door⁠
- Send them a meal delivery service gift card⁠
- Bake her some lactation cookies (if she is breastfeeding)⁠
- Drop off any hand-me-downs from your kids⁠
- Pay a housekeeping service to come over and clean her house⁠
- Set up a meal train with her friends⁠
- Drop off diapers and wipes⁠
- Self-quarantine for 2 weeks and come over to help with the house and baby so she can take a nap or a shower⁠
- Pay for a few hours for a postpartum doula or a night nanny to help her out⁠
There is so much you can do! And every little bit helps. What else would you add to the list? 💕
Any mamas feel me? Pass the coffee. 😑☕☕☕⁠
📷: @momandburied
This is so accurate. And happens pretty much anywh This is so accurate. And happens pretty much anywhere we go if we leave the house. 🤦‍♀️😂⁠
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Keeping Track of Baby Milestones: 0-3 Months Old⁠ 👶⁠
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Typically, the first three months of your child’s development will be marked by key developments including control and lifting of their head, a first smile and even a laugh, and making eye contact. 👀 It’s an exciting time when bonding is important and your baby is changing rapidly before your eyes. 😍 Pediatricians will go through developmental milestone checklists with patients, asking parents about their child’s sensory, communication, and movement changes, keeping an eye out for any red flags. 🚩 Generally, it’s not concerning if a baby isn’t hitting one or two milestones on time. Be sure to adjust for prematurity or stress factors. If your newborn is missing multiple abilities or you feel concerned, check in with your child’s pediatrician. 👩‍⚕️ Here are the different milestones to look out for each month from 0-3 months. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @ana_styles
😑😒⁠ 📷: @parentnormal 😑😒⁠
📷: @parentnormal
Love you but you have worn me out and I'm done. Ea Love you but you have worn me out and I'm done. Early bedtime tonight. Night night. 👋😘😂⁠
(quote via @mimosaswithmom)
Top 10 Coolest Baby Girl Names 🎀⁠ .⁠ So you Top 10 Coolest Baby Girl Names 🎀⁠
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So you’re about to have a baby girl and you’re looking for a cool name for her, right? You want a name that captures the essence of who she is and the girl and woman that you envision her becoming. A name that sets her apart and celebrates her unique gifts. A name you can imagine being written on her cubby at preschool, her college entrance essay, her first novel.⁠
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You want your precious daughter to have a name that will convey all the qualities and values that you hope she will embody: you need a name fit for a queen, an astronaut, a good friend, a doctor, a professional athlete, a spiritual leader, a wonderful mother, a nurse, an activist, a scholar, a student, a leader, a follower, a good person—any of the things you imagine she can and will become in her lifetime.⁠
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Finding a cool baby girl name may seem like a daunting task. There are so many options! Research shows that names for baby girls are currently trending towards representations of nature, gemstones, and food. Also growing in popularity for girls’ names are names that are not common girls names at all—such as names that have been traditionally used for boys, or last names. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @mochi.sucre
Major reasons why you can never spoil a newborn. ❤️⁠
📷: @renee.barendregt & @gentleparenting_memes
When Do You Start Showing in Pregnancy? 🤰⁠
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Every woman is different when she begins showing in pregnancy. I remember clearly the day I finally saw my beloved baby bump. It was a Monday and I was at work. I saw myself in the bathroom mirror and smiled broadly at my suddenly noticeable bump. Glowing, I rubbed my little tummy as I checked out my new, different-looking profile in the mirror. My office friends had noticed that morning as well and had complimented me and my little bump. Naturally, I took a selfie. I was so excited to see that I was finally showing. I couldn’t stop smiling all day! 😊 {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
⁠📷: @matfelipe
"It doesn't matter if you have a newborn, a toddle "It doesn't matter if you have a newborn, a toddler, or a teenager. These are the things our children need to feel from those around them. The same things that you and I even as adults want to feel from those around us. We want to feel seen. We want to be soothed when we are hurt. We want to feel safe when we are with people. We want to feel secure in our relationships with others. We don't outgrow the need to feel those things. In a crazy world, let your children feel those things. Let them know 'Hey, I see you. I see you're sad or mad. I am here with a hug when you're ready and if you need it. You are safe to feel how you feel and be who you are. You don't have to worry about my love for you. Be secure in that. Bad times or good times, I am here for you and I love you.' Because how good does it feel when we feel that way from those around us?"⁠
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Words & 📷: @thebuonamama
We learn as we go. It's okay to make mistakes. Ack We learn as we go. It's okay to make mistakes. Acknowledge them, and once you know better, do better. ❤️⁠
(quote via Karen Kleiman from "This Isn't What I Expected")
What Color Eyes Will Your Baby Have? 👁️⁠
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Expecting parents often wonder what their baby will look like once he's born. 🤔 Will she have light or dark hair? Will she inherit your freckles? What color eyes will your baby have? When I was pregnant with my son, my husband and I had fun wondering these same things. Would he have a round face? Would he have my nose? My husband’s cheeks? The only thing we knew for sure was that he would have deep brown eyes and dark brown hair, just like his mom and dad. Or so we thought.⁠ 😮 {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Jennifer Hill Robenault⁠
⁠📷: @amymelissaphoto
My Favorite Cloth Diapering Systems 👶⁠ .⁠ T My Favorite Cloth Diapering Systems 👶⁠
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Think diaper changing is straight forward and simple? Not so fast for the cloth diapering mamas. While cloth diapers generally save us quite a bit of cash after that initial investment 💰, it does require a bit of a process, and a good cloth diapering system, to make it less time-consuming. The good news? Once you have it down and have the right tools on hand, it doesn’t have to be all that difficult at all. 🙌 Here are some favorite cloth diapering systems (and tips) that make diaper changes (and cleaning) way more manageable.⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rebecca Jacobs⁠
📷: @thetuckertribe5⁠
Yes, Yes, YES!!! ❤️ Yes, Yes, YES!!! ❤️
Sometimes a good soak in the tub with some bath sa Sometimes a good soak in the tub with some bath salts, a face scrub, and some cucumber slices can make your day. 😍⁠
📷: @jhonnycurran
First of all, we think all moms are incredible. 💕 Today’s shoutout goes to the career moms. We know the struggles because we are you. May this weekend bring you all rest, peace, and joy. 🥰 Sending out all of the love and respect! 🙇‍♀️
(quote via @beyonce)
You Can't Spoil a Baby, Here's Why 👶💕⁠
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The battle of opinions regarding whether or not you can spoil a baby has been raging for decades, especially among grandparents and those born during the time of little affection. Our children's great-grandparents were most likely raised with the idea that love and affection and responding to a baby's cries will spoil them and make them even fussier. While that idea might seem ludicrous to us, there's a reason such an approach was widely believed. Here's what parenting has looked like over the decades and how present-day science says you cannot spoil a baby. ❤️ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rachel MacPherson⁠
📷: @trinitysierra
They repeat what we do. Show them love. Love for o They repeat what we do. Show them love. Love for others and for yourself. ❤️⁠
📷: @fleurdelisspeaks⁠
Her stuff is great. Check out her page!
What Happens to a Woman's Brain When She Becomes a What Happens to a Woman's Brain When She Becomes a Mother? 🧠❤️⁠
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Most women who have had children are fully aware of the hormonal and emotional changes that they experience. However, science is only just starting to understand how these changes occur in human mothers’ brains. While mothers know what it feels like to experience these changes, most of us don't know exactly what happens to a woman's brain when she becomes a mother. Turns out, a lot is happening! 😲 {Click 🔗 in bio to read more about it!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rachel MacPherson⁠
📷: @emfillerup
You may think that you are helping them by doing e You may think that you are helping them by doing everything for them. But there comes a time when they need to learn how to do things for themselves. ⁠
"Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime." The same rule applies.⁠
We want our kids to be strong, independent, self-reliant, and successful. They learn quickly what they can get away with. Teaching them kindness and a good work ethic from the beginning goes a long way. ❤️⁠ Put the hard work in now and watch them bloom into a strong and independent adult later. 💪
(Quote via @relaxingmommy)
However you choose to feed your baby, your baby an However you choose to feed your baby, your baby and your opinion are all that matter. If you choose and are able to breastfeed, feed your baby anywhere and everywhere HOWEVER you want to . . . with or without a cover. You have rights, mama. No need to explain or cover yourself for anybody if you don't want to. 💕⁠
📷: @phoenixandtheocean
5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Potty Training⁠ 🚽⁠
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Let’s talk about potty training! It’s one of those monumental milestones we mamas walk through with our toddlers that make them suddenly seem like they went from babies to tiny little humans overnight. And, while it can be an exciting time (and a time to save some serious cash by ditching diapers), it can also come with lots of stress. 🙃 From cleaning up potty accidents for what may seem like days (or even weeks) to wondering if you’ll ever be able to drive further than down the block without having to stop for a potty break 🤦‍♀️, potty training can be daunting.⁠
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But, what many moms agree on is that once it’s done, you kinda forget about all the stress that came along with it. Kinda like pregnancy and giving birth —you just sort of forget about it all until you do it all over again.⁠ 🤪⁠
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Here are five things I wish I had known about potty training before I jumped into it with my then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Because, if I had known these things, I think I would have been a bit more laid back about the whole thing! {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rebecca Jacobs⁠
📷: @reesetriplets
How Much Does IVF Cost?⁠ 💉⁠ .⁠ In the Uni How Much Does IVF Cost?⁠ 💉⁠
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In the United States, 16.2% of married women aged 15-49 struggle with infertility. It is no surprise, then, that fertility treatments are becoming more of a necessity for couples who are faced with infertility and wish to have children. While there are many types of fertility treatments, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is one of the most commonly known options. However, the high cost of IVF is often cited as the primary obstacle to undergoing treatment. 💸 Let's take a look at what IVF entails, and how much IVF costs. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @lizbrownfitness
She isn't as cheerful as usual? She is being a bit She isn't as cheerful as usual? She is being a bit short with her replies back? Don't be hard on her. It more than likely has nothing to do with you. You never how many times her kids got her up last night. 😴 #bekindalways
🖌: @growupbrite
You're the reason that I breathe but also the reas You're the reason that I breathe but also the reason that I am out of breath. 😉🤪😂 #momlife
You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ 💕⁠
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When I had my first baby, everyone told me to enjoy the newborn stage because it goes fast, and I would miss it. But I was so exhausted and overwhelmed I didn’t believe them. 😴 While I was living through it, it felt like it took forever!⁠
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If you are there now or about to enter this stage, it’s a yummy, delicious, snuggly stage. But for me, it has always been one of the harder ones, every time I go through it. So I see and feel you, mama! It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Hold tight, though, because it doesn’t last forever.⁠
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So, while you are struggling to keep your eyes open, and your mental state together, here are a few things to try to savor while your baby is still a newborn. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: Rebecca Guez⁠
📷: unknown
Daddy Chronicles: Breastfeeding 💙⁠ by @chroni Daddy Chronicles: Breastfeeding 💙⁠
by @chroniclesofdaddy⁠
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I've been asked so many questions by men about fatherhood. So I figured I'd drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon-to-be-Dads. Here's what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup. If mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you'll wonder "what is there for me to do?" Here are my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.⁠
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1️⃣ For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.⁠
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2️⃣ Ask mom if she can pump and then pick 1 feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.⁠
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3️⃣ Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeeds the baby. It's not just about feeding your child it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad, it's hard to fully understand. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try and rush this process. It's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win.⁠
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4️⃣ Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.⁠
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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Absolutely love these tips from @chroniclesofdaddy. 🙌
7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body 7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body After Baby 🧘‍♀️⁠
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The postpartum period, or period of recovery that takes place after a mother gives birth, is an important time for mothers to take care of themselves. 🥰 Typically, if you’re less than 6 weeks postpartum you don’t want to put any pressure on your core muscles. Also, your body’s levels of relaxin, the hormone that loosens joints to prepare for childbirth, is elevated for 3-6 months after childbirth, and longer if you are breastfeeding. All this means is: take these postpartum yoga poses slowly and stretch yourself gently. No gymnastics here or pushing beyond what is comfortable.⁠
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Remember, every mama’s body is different, so listen to how you feel and seek advice from a medical professional if you have questions about how and when to begin your personal exercise plan. Note: Try to do the following yoga poses in the order they are listed. {Click 🔗 in bio to see the 7 yoga poses to strengthen your body after baby!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷 taken by: @allisonermon_photography
It's been one of those days. 😑⁠ 📷: @kristy It's been one of those days. 😑⁠
📷: @kristyndingman
🙋‍♀️😂😂😂⁠ 🚜 What are some st 🙋‍♀️😂😂😂⁠ 🚜
What are some strange things you do as a #boymom or #girlmom?
It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's mag It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's magic.⁠ ✨🤩
📷: @realtoughdad