How New Parents Can Stay Connected Before and After Delivery

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If you and your partner are expecting a baby, you may have questions amidst your excitement: How is our daily routine going to change as we care for our newborn? How can we stay connected and support each other once our baby arrives?

“Recognize that this is a time of transformation for you and your partner. Be mindful and present as you welcome a new life into your family. Be open and non-judgmental as you communicate and support your partner through this new phase of your lives,” says Wendy Corriveau, NP, director of the Perinatal Mental Health Program in Behavioral Health Services at Henry Ford Health.

Planning for Baby And Staying Connected

Before a new baby arrives, many expectant parents prepare for the delivery, set up a nursery and arrange time away from work. But it’s also important to plan for how your lives together will change once your baby is born.

“Staying connected with each other means working as a team to ease your adjustment as new parents,” says Corriveau. She recommends planning with these strategies:

  • Discuss your routines: Accept that your daily routines will change. Talk about how you hope to manage childcare, household tasks, work and family obligations.
  • Expect the unexpected: Even with careful planning, you may encounter unexpected changes once your baby arrives. Be open to adapting your routine to care for your baby and yourselves. Partners will also experience changes in emotions as they adjust to the responsibility of caring for a newborn.
  • Gather your village: It really does take a village to raise a child. Family, friends and neighbors are often eager to help once the baby arrives. Talk with them about how they can provide support. They may also be able to help care for older children.
  • Make a family plan: Decide how you and your partner want to manage birth control after delivery. New mothers can still become pregnant before menstrual periods return. Talk with your obstetrician about postpartum birth control.

Reconnecting After Baby Arrives

“After bringing your new baby home, work together to establish a routine that works for you. Don’t feel you need to follow stereotypes about the roles each of you should play. Make a plan that fits your family’s needs,” says Corriveau.

As you and your partner navigate this exciting time (often with little sleep), keep these things in mind:

  • Ask for help: There are many trained professionals ready to guide you as you care for yourselves and your new baby. Talk with your primary care physician, obstetrician, pediatrician, therapist or behavioral health specialist to find available resources. These professionals can also help new mothers experiencing baby blues and postpartum depression, or partners adjusting to life with a new baby. There are also many online resources, including Postpartum Support International.
  • Give each other time for self-care: Be purposeful about giving each other time for self-care. It’s important that both of you have time to recharge. Eat regular, healthy meals, schedule naps and take time for yourself.
  • Involve older siblings: Recognize that older siblings may need time to adjust to a new baby. Many children are eager to help, so find ways for siblings to have time with the new baby. Each parent should also have special one-on-one time with older children, to make sure they get much-needed attention.
  • Keep date night on the calendar: Date night may look different with a newborn at home, but it’s still important to take time together as a couple. Enjoy a meal and movie or game night at home. Find a trusted caregiver and plan an outing together.
  • Rally your supporters: When you’re ready, accept help from family and friends. You may appreciate help with meals, errands or even childcare so you can take a walk, run errands or take time for yourself.
  • Share baby care: It’s hard to manage newborn care 24/7 on your own. If you’re a breastfeeding mother, let your partner bond with your newborn by helping with other tasks like bottle feedings if you’re pumping. Take turns connecting with your baby during diaper changes and baths.
  • Take time to be social: Carve out time to connect with friends with phone calls or virtual visits. When you’re ready, have friends visit at a time that accommodates your new schedule.

“Embrace this phase of your lives and take the opportunity to strengthen your bonds with each other and your growing family,” says Corriveau.

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To find a doctor at Henry Ford, visit henryford.com  or call 1-800-436-7936.

Wendy Corriveau is a nurse practitioner and behavioral health specialist who sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Center - Ford Road in Dearborn.

Categories: ParentWell