Life, love + dads finding their footing after childbirth
To say Julian and I were juggling crazy work schedules after Savannah Rose was born would be the understatement of the century.
12 weeks after our little angel was born, I was back on the Cbs morning show in Richmond, VA twice a week and the evening show three days a week.
My husband had an hour and a half commute (one way) to work and was on work travel every month. So some days, I was heading to work at 1 o’clock in the morning, and he was heading in at 4 o’clock in the morning. Yep, so we’re talking about midnight and 2:30 am wake up calls. With. A. Newborn.
Our little one was up, fed, dressed and dropped off at the sitter’s house waaaaaay before the sun. Such a trooper.
In an effort to lessen our morning load, I once suggested to my hubs that maybe we drop Angel Baby off in her pajamas, pack her outfits in her diaper bag, and ask the sitter to get her dressed for the day.
To which Julian replied, “Oh no. I don’t care how early I have to get up, I love getting Savannah ready in the morning. It forces me to slow down for a second. It’s our quality time.”
Okkkkkk. Marry me every day of your life and give me aaaaallllllllllllll your babies please and thank you!
But seriously, a lot of times, especially if a mom is exclusively breastfeeding, it can feel like there’s just not much for dad to do.
The National Childbirth Trust says: “It’s almost inevitable that the baby will have a closer bond with mum at first, especially if she is breastfeeding.” Often leaving dads feeling sidelined, out of the mix or even helpless.
A number of studies have been done on the newborn family dynamic — especially in the UK. According to the Daily Mail, “In fact, two thirds of dads readily admit they no longer have any influence over meal times, health care, bedtime or the daily routine for their children.”
Not only is papa bear physically unable to do the around the clock breastfeeding sessions, but also, chances are he’s back to work while mama is on (MUCH NEEDED) maternity leave.
So while mom is healing, processing, adjusting, bonding with new little babe, and possibly taking care of older child(ren) during the day, dads are essentially moving between two worlds — trying to excel at work, while also trying to find their new footing at home.
The good news is, there are some things husbands and partners can do that will help this transition feel a little smoother for everyone, especially if they are a task-oriented kind of person.
Now, of course, like they say, everything ain’t for everybody. So definitely do what feels most organic to you and your family unit, but here are a few things Julian took the lead on, on his own, that truly changed the game in our home.
1. Diaper changes
2. Getting Savvy dressed for the day (of course I would always lay her outfits out the night before because we all know its just different when daddy picks out the fit!) LOL
3. Daddy daughter skin to skin post dream feed (the last nurse sesh before bed) ****can’t emphasize the importance of this enough!
4. Wake up to get her out of her bassinet and hand her to me during night feedings every two hours
5. Occasionally send me for a massage or nail appointment or even a Target run (!!!!!!!) and stay home with little babe - sending me videos of their full out rap concerts LOL
6. Get Sav buckled in her carrier and put in/out of the car during family outings — Julian was so good at this and dominant in this role that when I had to take babygirl to her one month doctor appointment by myself, I couldn’t figure out how to get the damn carrier our of the car! Hahaha I’ll never forget frantically calling hubs while he was in a meeting and asking him to walk me through it #rookiemomlife
These things made all the difference!!!! Hubs owning these tasks and truly loving his time with Sav really lessened the load on me and made even the hardest of times feel like a team effort. We didn’t know the next thing about what we were doing, but we knew we were supporting each other, and we eventually got to a point where we were one well-oiled machine!
Ultimately increasing the love, appreciation, admiration, and desire for the other person!
And there’s absolutely nothing better in this world than seeing Julian and his little princess. Nothing. Their bond is unlike any other. I have to believe that’s largely because of his commitment to being present with her even after an 11 hour work day and a 3 hour commute.
So if you’re a new fam, or preparing to bring a little bundle of joy into the mix, just know that kids don’t have to be the bane of all relationships. Building a family can strengthen your bond with your spouse, it can heighten the levels of oxytocin you experience, it can take you to a place of oneness and joy that you didn’t know was there. Just gotta find what works!
Enjoy the ride!