Dad: Once your baby is home

Most couples are anxious and concerned right after they take the baby home. It takes about six weeks for most couples to feel better about having a baby. Here are things you can do:

  • Hug your partner a lot. Tell her she's doing a great job.
  • Be patient with the baby and with your partner. This is new for all three of you and takes some getting used to.
  • Ask friends and family members for help with cleaning up, grocery shopping and meals. This is not the time to be shy about asking for help. Everyone needs help with a new baby!
  • Try to rest whenever you can.
  • Help out with the baby during feeding time. If mom is breastfeeding, you can bring her the baby. Help them get comfortable.
  • Help with other jobs too: change diapers, give baths, rock the baby, cuddle the baby, read to the baby and sing the baby to sleep. Most babies love to sleep on their dad's chest.

Most common questions

Dad: Can you smoke in the house after bringing your baby home?

No. Secondhand smoke isn't good for your baby. Children, especially babies, exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, severe asthma, headaches, sore throats, dizziness, nausea, lack of energy and fussiness. You can protect your baby from all these things by keeping the cigarettes out of the house! Remember everything you did during pregnancy to help keep your partner and your baby healthy? Keep doing them now that your baby's here! If you or your partner smoke, quit. If you need help to quit, tell your health care provider.

My partner cries a lot since she had the baby. Why?

There are lots of changes happening in your partner after pregnancy. Her body has taken care of your baby for 9 months. It has to get used to not being pregnant any more. There are lots of hormones in her body after pregnancy. These hormones can cause the baby blues, which are feelings of sadness a woman may have 3 to 5 days after giving birth. Your partner may be cranky and she may cry a lot. This happens to lots of women. By about 10 days after the baby's birth, the baby blues should go away. If they don't, tell her health care provider. If she’s really sad for longer than 2 weeks, she may have postpartum depression. This is a more serious problem that requires medical treatment.

My partner is breastfeeding. What can I do to help?

Support her decision to breastfeed. It's not always easy, and she may need some encouragement along the way. Help her during feedings. Bring the baby to her and help them get comfortable. If your partner uses a certain pillow or sits in a certain place to breastfeed, make sure they’re clean and ready for her to use. If you're using stored breast milk, learn how to warm it so it's just the right temperature for your baby. Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding. Read books, watch videos, find information on the Internet, and ask other dads what they did to help. Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Doing what you can to support your partner in breastfeeding helps give your baby a healthy start in life.

©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).