This is the fifth post in our Ask the Doulas series.We have gathered a variety of doulas to share wisdom gained from their experience working with hundreds of families.
Supporting your partner doesn't stop once the baby arrives. Many of the same techniques can be used during the postpartum period (several weeks following the birth).
Let’s hear from the doulas
We posed the following question to our experienced panel of doulas:
“What is your best tip for supporting your partner after the baby arrives?”
Realize that she went through a big physical event and big emotions are normal post birth! Tell her she’s doing great frequently, being her food, help with diaper changes, clean the house and give lots of hugs! Hire a postpartum doula if you can. – Melissa Schultz
Encourage the birthing person to be patient with themselves. Offer to bring the baby to your partner for feedings, engage happily in baby care tasks. Take pictures, especially candid ones! Hold space for them to talk about the birth as much as they want or need to. Praise how awesome they did with the birth and how great they're doing with the baby to loved ones when the birthing person can overhear you. – Helen Scammell
Take time to hold baby close to you so mother can get regenerative and refreshing sleep. Keep some of her favorite healthy treats ready and help her stay hydrating. Keep managing the visitors as both of you decide together how much exposure you want your new family to have in the beginning. – Daphne Reynolds
Get Sleep! Hire overnight support so both parents can recover and replenish with sleep! – Denise Bolds
Always look for things that you can do to help without her having to ask for it. It takes a surprising amount of emotional energy to have to ask for things to be done so she might just do it herself and end up physically overdoing it and bitter about what she perceives as a lack of help. – Melissa Colatosi
When one parent is feeding the baby, partner is feeding that parent! Make sure that the breast/chestfeeding parent has a beverage and snack handy while baby is eating.– Rebekah Gilley
Mom feeds the baby, you feed the mom. – Katie Rohs
Acknowledge how hard she has worked and facilitate her rest as much as possible. – Sheri Walker
I really encourage partners to listen to mom. Do not discount her feelings. Help in setting up a support train so that steady help is coming into your house to help with meals and housework. – Steffanie Thomas
Offer to do specific things -- or just do them! Don't ask what you can do to help. Jump in to get your partner food, help with the housework that needs to be done, or change baby's diapers. – Brigid Vance
Mama needs to heal and rest. She needs to be fully supported and cared for during her postpartum time. Sit down and make a plan ahead of time regarding things like meals, visitors, cleaning tasks, childcare and the like. Communicating about these things ahead of time will save you many frustrations later. – Jenn Smith
Encourage baby to stay on mom as much as possible. – Krystal Martin
Help with the baby in any way that your partner needs. Maybe it's changing diapers, rocking them, or just holding them while your partner naps or showers. Always, but especially if the birth didn't go as planned, tell the partner that they did an amazing job. – Rebecca Shelton
Plan ahead! Work with your birth doula, family, and friends to set up your support team prior to labor day. Meals, lactation support, house cleaning and laundry, extra childcare for older siblings, postpartum doula support, and discussion of recovery time expectations for mama. – Amy Gottschang
Be available - let mom sleep, feed her. – Pam Perry
Experienced doulas tend to agree that moms need rest and time to recover after a birth. Support people have the ability to support her by taking care of housework and managing baby care that is separate from feeding the baby. Supporting during the postpartum period can be as simple as a bringing her a meal. Planning ahead of time will help smooth the transition into life with a new baby.
More in the series: