Babyproof Your Marriage: 10 Things New Dads Need to Know About New Moms

When we left the hospital with our little guy we, like all new parents, looked around for an instruction manual (or baby receipt). Alas, there was none to be found. Apparently, the State of Tennessee is totally cool with you wingin’ it.

While an instruction manual for the baby was an obvious need, the instruction manual for your wife probably wasn’t on your radar. Don’t worry (unlike the State of Tennessee) I’m here to help.

Our first lesson is on the 10 Things New Dads Need to Know About New Moms. Some of this is so “duh” it hurts, but we all lose parts of our brain during the newborn phase especially so it wouldn’t hurt for you New Dads to print this handy dandy list off and read it every 5 or so minutes:

  1. New Mom feels ugly. There are so many conflicted feelings about how she feels about her body right now. On one hand, she truly believes she is one of the most amazing creatures to walk the earth. I mean, her body GREW A HUMAN BEING. But on the other hand, she feels gross. Her body feels stretched out and saggy and things are leaking. Add in the inability to spend more than 2 minutes in front of a mirror and the fact that most of her clothes don’t fit right now and you have one ugly feeling mama.

    This is a great time to be very vocal about how you feel about her appearance. When she looks particularly beautiful nursing your new baby, tell her. When she’s standing in front of the mirror with tears in her eyes because nothing fits look her in the eyes and list off all of the things that make her beautiful. She needs to hear these things from you right now.

  2. New Mom is obsessed with this baby. She is smitten. Even if she’s going through PPD and isn’t completely bonded to the baby she still thinks this little thing is pretty cool and will be taking pictures and posting them to Facebook faster than you can say “Goo Goo Ga Ga”. She’s like a school girl in love, and she can’t get enough.

    New Dad, you are probably going to feel like a third wheel for a little bit. I know it’s hard, but it isn’t personal. This is simply part of growing a family.

  3. New Mom is scared. One word: SIDS. It’s terrifying that you could do everything right and still have things go horribly wrong. Becoming a mom is the first time many women are confronted with the fact that, well, life happens. Things can go wrong despite all of your best efforts.

    And this isn’t just with the extreme example of SIDS.

    It’s with expecting to sleep train your baby and finding out she has colic and only wants to be held and nursed.

    It’s with expecting to breastfeed and co-sleep and cloth diaper and still not feeling that bond that you were told you’d experience.

    It’s with expecting to want to be with your baby ALL THE TIME and realizing you’d pay large amounts of money for someone to just take him away so you could read a magazine.

    She’s scared because things don’t always go as you expect. When you accuse her of being irrational or hormonal, while it may be true, it certainly doesn’t help. Listen to her feelings, respect her feelings, and remind her (with your words) that you’re right there beside her. She needs to hear it.

  4. New Mom feels defensive. There is so much advice and it’s coming from everyone. Her mom thinks she should go back to work. Your mom thinks she should breastfeed longer. Her best friend that had a baby 5 weeks earlier seems a little too eager to let her know she’s doing all of it wrong. Let’s not even talk about the books she read and those dumb Baby Bump newsletters. All of this advice can create a defensive mommy. She is already scared (see #3), and feels like this advice is a testament to all of the things she’s doing wrong.

    Be her cheerleader and remind her to listen to her gut. This baby was given to her, and no one else, after all.

  5. New Mom can’t get mad at the baby. Logically, New Mom knows that the reason she can’t sleep and why her house smells like milk is because of this baby. This precious, adorable, sweet baby that she just can’t get mad at no matter how zombie-like she feels. So she takes that frustration and points it at you, New Dad, like you’re the one waking her up at 2 in the morning for cuddles and milk. This might not be my best advice, but I’d say this is a good time to be a punching bag for her instead of trying to make a case for being mad at the baby (pointing at a newborn and yelling “He started it!” isn’t going to win friends or influence people).
  6. New Mom has nothing to wear. This ties into #1, but is more about frustration than sadness. Her pre-baby clothes don’t quite fit. Her maternity clothes fit, but that’s just sad. And she doesn’t want to buy anything because “I’m not going to be this size forever… am I?” Go shopping with her and tell her she’s pretty.
  7. New Mom needs protection. I think women always want their men to be protective and assertive (see the success of Fifty Shades of Gray), but I think this need goes into overdrive when she becomes a New Mom. She doesn’t want to be the bad guy telling people they can’t come over. She doesn’t want to fight with the insurance company because they incorrectly raised the deductible. She wants to be protected. She wants you to create a barrier between her and the outside world. She may be the naturally assertive one in the relationship that normally handles the in-laws or tells the cable guy where to shove it, but I am pretty sure you’d win big points by stepping in and saying, “Let me handle this.”
  8. New Mom needs permission to rest. Most women go into motherhood truly believing they can do it all. That all those other moms with dirty houses and cranky babies just didn’t know what they were doing. Our Supermom Complex leads to burnout and fast. The worst part is that most moms refuse to cry uncle and take some time to ourselves.Give your New Mom permission to rest. Point out that the baby is sleeping, that you cleaned the kitchen, and that she needs to take a napWhen she tries to argue remind her that you’re protecting her… from herself.
  9. New Mom needs to be asked what she needs. I’m writing this from my point of view and experience as a New Mom. I know that a lot of this was experienced by a lot of other New Moms, but the very best way to find out what you  need to know about your New Mom? Ask her.
  10. New Mom really loves you. She loves watching you become a dad. She loves hearing how this new little human is changing you. She loves that the little human has your ears and toes. It might not seem logical, but every time you bond with that little baby you’re bonding with her. She is getting a front row seat to her family being born and there is no better foreplay in the world. In 6-8 weeks. Promise.

So that’s the 10 things to know about New Mom. Tomorrow come back for 10 things to know about New Dad!

If you’ve enjoyed these lists check out my new book, This S*** is Hard: Survive happily ever after without killing each other. It’s a marriage book written in the voice of your best girlfriend if your best girlfriend spent way too much money learning about marriage and family therapy.

125 thoughts on “Babyproof Your Marriage: 10 Things New Dads Need to Know About New Moms

  1. Mai Bateson

    Hubby and I are planning to have a baby next year and we’re gonna be 1st time mom and dad! This article puts a smile on my face… so exciting! Looking forward to read 10 things to know about New Dad and share it to hubby! :D Many thanks!!!

    1. lil

      loved your article! you put into words what most women feel…..I enjoyed reading it…..and having 3 sons, 2 daughters and 8 grandchildren, I have seen it…..

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  3. Brooke R.

    What a great post! All new moms need new dads to read this. You put into words everything I felt and didn’t know how to articulate with both of my babies!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rebecca

    Wish I had this before my son was born last year! I totally relate to Every. Single. Part. It’s all SO true! Now if I can get the courage to have a second child then I’m sure I’ll need this as a reminder :)

  5. Matt D

    This article was shared with me by a good friend. Hopefully I can learn a thing or two as our first baby will make her appearance any day now.

  6. Megs

    Interesting article! Never quite understood the whole not feeling the bond thing; I was totally in love with both my babies from the moment I saw them!! One thing I DO know as far as SIDS is that in Japan they experience a HUGE drop in SIDS once they started vaccinating kids at age 2 instead of at birth….food for thought. Definitely true about the clothes…you will end up shopping for a whole new wardrobe.

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Thanks, Megs, for the comment! I have never heard about the Japan/SIDS thing – VERY interesting! We did the typical vaccination schedule with ours, but waiting until 2 sounds like a really interesting compromise (is that the right word? I don’t know).

      1. Krissy

        Thank you for the wonderful article! To address the other readers comments please look at the CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/sids_faq.html

        The potential link between SIDS and vaccination has been studied extensively, and vaccines do not increase risk of SIDS. Waiting to vaccinate leaves your infant at risk for serious, yet preventable diseases. Why leave them exposed until their toddler years?

    2. Jenn

      Just for the record, and not to be a troublemaker, but delaying vaccinations only allowed the most vulnerable, the little babies, to be exposed to the things that the vaccinations prevent.

      1. Megs

        Always a big debate among people :). As parents, it is most certainly your choice to do what you believe is right! We all want to do what is best for our children. My hope and prayer is that people research these types of things and educate themselves so they can make an informed decision. Long story as to how we decided to go the non-vax route (we actually had a doctor warn us to wait until age 2 and send us a bunch of information) but it truly has been very interesting to read and learn about along the way. Anybody who wants more info, I am happy to pass along what our doctor had given us. This talk given by a doctor in recent years is very interesting also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjVR12DZ2oI. Happy researching!

  7. Amanda H.

    I suffered terribly from PPD and all of these things would have helped tremendously had my husband and family (and myself) found them. Wonderful, accurate advice! Thank you for sharing and getting the word out!

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Amanda, thanks for the comment and I’m so sorry that you suffered from PPD. I do love that so many women are more comfortable talking about the scary side of becoming a mother, rather than feeling alone in the middle of it.

    2. Jodi

      I wish my New Dad and I had something like this or were prepared better.

      My daughter is two and I’m just barely getting over ppd. It is actually part of what contributed to us splitting a few months back.

      I only wish that I had a way to better articulate what I was going through.

      Anyways, this article is great by the way.

  8. K

    “This baby was given to her, and no one else, after all.”

    Really? Here I thought it takes both an ovum AND sperm to make a baby. I really, really, really dislike it when people act as if the husband has no right or claim on their own children. It may not be his body, and sure he didn’t push it out, and no he can’t breastfeed (though there are ways to get around the last one, namely, pumping and letting him bottle feed), but that human being is half his DNA just like it’s half the wife’s. That child is only half the mother’s. The other half is the father’s. So no. The baby was not “given” to ONE person. The baby was produced by a male and a female. Together, literally.

    This obviously wouldn’t apply if for some reason a woman decided to have a child out of wedlock (it really is a decision to have sex knowing it may result in a baby and if you don’t want a baby then don’t have sex, it’s the only foolproof method) and other various situations (such as, but not limited to, instances of rape). However, this article is for husbands who just had a child with their wives, therefore that is the audience to which I am speaking. Statements like “The baby was given to her, and no one else…” are really offensive to me and other likeminded women, and surely to some husbands out there as well.

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      K, totally sorry for offending. It obviously didn’t come out the way I meant. I meant that mom should follow her instinct because the baby was given to her and not to the many other opinions out there (friends, family, The Internet). I completely agree that the baby is just as much dad’s as it is mom’s, and my point was to remind dad to put their opinions/judgements ahead of other people’s.

    2. R

      I totally didn’t take offense to “this baby was given to her, and no one else, after all.”

      I completely understood where Marie was coming from. If you can’t understand it from that point don’t take judgment so quickly. This blog was is going to be very helpful to many women who are becoming first time moms. And I wish I had this when I became a first time mom. Its not meant to offend people. Relax and have a good weekend.

      1. Jenn

        I’m with Marie. I’ve been told that from more than one experienced mom: this is YOUR baby. God gave him to You, not your friends, not to the couple down the street. While there’s nothing wrong in asking advice and help, go with your gut.

        Marie, you said it perfectly. Those that want to be offended, will find a way.

    3. Ryan

      As a husband/Dad I took no offense. K, check you contextual premise and place your negativity in your personal journal. No one reading this wants that crap. Don’t be so easily offended, there are better things to focus your offense on. Like the 50 million innocent babies that never got to be held by their mother and the many single moms whose babies, fathers, don’t give a rip about their children. A dad in the house these days is a wonderful and, unfortunately, rare thing. Again, I reiterate, take your offense somewhere else.

  9. lissa

    “New moms feel ugly.” I couldn’t DISAGREE more! I am a mother of 3 and after going through pregnancy and labor and delivery, and all the changes that happen with your body, I have never loved my body so much as right after I have a baby! Our bodies were created to carry babies and bring children to this earth! After our bodies endure so much getting a baby here, why would/should we feel ugly!! In today’s world women have this image of what their bodies should look like and after going through such a miraculous thing, bringing a child into this world, a woman’s eyes should be open to how truly beautiful and amazing her body is!!! and so should her husband!!

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Lissa, I totally agree… most of the time :)

      I seriously think it’s awesome that you can remember the miracle, but I’m so prone to forgetting (darn those Victoria Secret models that are all “I had a baby last week and now I’m walking the catwalk!” barf). Thank you so much for this comment. I want to print it off and put it on my mirror for the days I forget.

    2. Julie

      Good for you for feeling beautiful…I still remember the tears when I saw my abs (or lack thereof) during my first post-partum shower!

  10. Ashley C

    #10 cracks me up. Foreplay in 6-8 weeks :) All the joking aside though, this is the perfect list. Seriously, these are all the things new dads need to know about new moms! I wish I would have had this list when I had my first, but I think we’ve pretty well got this thing down now. At least, I sure hope we do. :)

  11. Karma

    Love it!
    May I add one more?
    New mom needs dad to be in charge of keeping the house clean and orderly. Maybe even more so then mom would on a normal day. This is one of the best ways for dad to show his appreciation and love…. At least in my book :)

  12. Bridget

    I cried reading this, you hit everything on the head. I have read a lot of mommy blogs and never had someone express it so well.

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Bridget, thanks so much for your comment :) I read a lot of mommy blogs, too, (right there on the verge of addict), and it’s funny how we feel comfortable talking about bowel movements and nipple cream but marriage issues? Not so much.

  13. susie

    A W E S O M E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You nailed this. We started our family years ago but I was curious how it’s all viewed today…. WOW. Perfect!! How quickly the new love and patience for your husband will emerge (and continue to grow) if it can all start like you’ve pointed out.
    Peace!

  14. Jamie Pavelec

    I loved this article! I handed it to my husband and made him read it as well. We are expecting our first bundle of love this August! Thanks so much! :)

  15. Ali S.

    I love this list! I’m sitting here with a sleeping baby (who turned 1 month old yesterday [Has it seriously been a month?!]) on my still saggy/spongey/squishy/nasty belly and this was just what I needed to read to know I’m not alone.
    After two babies in under 14.5 months, my body is definitely making me feel ugly. Really ugly. And you’re right. Pretty much nothing fits. In fact, some of my clothes haven’t fit since shortly after I got married (we got pregnant on our honeymoon with multiples, miscarried, got pregnant again less than four months later, had baby #1 and got pregnant with baby #2 five months after that). Thank God for yoga pants and “at home” days where you never actually get dressed because you never have enough time to yourself to find something to wear, let alone fold that HUGE pile of laundry.
    I’m determined that my clothes WILL fit again before we get pregnant again….hopefully…….. ;)

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Congrats on your little one!! It’s such a great time, but it’s exhausting to feel not “yourself”. Bleh. And I’m 2 years in and still on the “hopefully before the next baby” train. Welcome aboard :)

    1. Jodi

      Yes, that was a big thing for me too! Lol. I felt like a kid when I go out or get to see soneone other then my baby.

  16. Kaitlin F

    New mom needs to be fed! This is ALWAYS one of my issues when I have babies (i’ve had three in under 3 years- crazy? yes, but wonderful). One of the BEST things my husband does is feeding me. From the moment you give birth, you a) have tons more space to pack with food and b) are healing and that takes energy and c) even if you choose not to breastfeed, the first few weeks, you are producing milk, and that takes calories. When i’m breastfeeding, he gets me a glass of water and a granola bar when he’s around. Before he leaves for work in the morning, he makes me breakfast and makes sure there are easy to grab snacks available. He asks family and friends to bake and cook for us= whole meals, healthy breads, muffins and even ‘breastfeeding cookies’. It’s hard to remember to feed yourself when you’re focused on feeding a baby (and two other toddlers). Plus, if he asks for people to cook, he gets a nice home cooked meal too without mommy having to do the work. :D

  17. Robbie

    I whole heartedly agree with the “new Moms need to feel protected” – one of DH’s coworkers stopped by when I was 4 days post partum – and stayed for almost 3 hours. I sent him every signal known to man to kick her out, but he didn’t get the clue. The same goes for relatives and other well meaning friends. The last thing a new Mom wants is to entertain someone for extended periods of time when she’s still trying to learn to breast feed, when she’s still bleeding, and her body hurts. That goes for phone calls when Mom is resting and for anyone intruding upon that special time or who stays for more than 45 minutes or so.

    Additionally — new Moms need food. Lots of food. Lots of healthy pre-made food. Precut up fruit salad, banana bread, sub sandwiches, anything neighbors bring by – Dad, don’t eat it all because chances are the new Mom isn’t going to eat a bite the entire time the new Dad is at work between marathon nursing sessions, rocking the baby, and trying to get a little rest. So, any food the neighbors bring by, make sure to save a hearty helping for Mom for lunch the next day and make sure something is prepared for dinner the next day.

    Help new Mom – Dad, if your parents are stopping by to see the baby, suggest they help in real tangible ways, too, like pick up that gallon of millk from the grocery store that you guys have been out of for 3 days, bring take out for you guys from your wife’s favorite restaurant, throw a load of laundry in the washer (there will be an exponentially large amount of laundry with the advent of the newest member of the family), or ask if they can load the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. My biggest frustration was my ILs coming by to see the baby and wanting to “help” by holding the baby so I could get stuff done around the house. Guess what – I just pushed a human out of my who ha, my nipples feel like they are going to fall off from nursing and the very last thing I want to do is get my bleeding body off the couch to tidy up when its something they could do in 10 to 15 minutes. There will be plenty of times they can watch the baby for an hour or so, but holding the baby is NOT helping during those early days.

    Hmmm….obviously I have some resentment to deal with. LOL.

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      These are great, Robbie! I definitely agree with you (and another comment) about the food. How could I forget? I always felt like there was nothing to eat! Thanks for the comment (and I hope the venting helped with the “resentment”, ha :D)

      1. DKL

        You have a lovely heart, to answer so kindly when someone reads an article as perfect as yours and the only comment they have is about a spelling error.

  18. Cydnie

    This was a really great post! My husband and I just found out we’re expecting, so I’ve been a little in overdrive trying to figure out what to expect. I’ve kept enough babies to have at least a small feel for what’s coming on that front, but it’s the part about what to expect from my own body both now and afterwards. This was a great heads up for what to mentally prepare for, and there’s a lot on this list I will definitely be making sure my husband reads before Baby gets here!

  19. Kali

    LOVED this article! My gorgeous baby is now 8 weeks old and I completely agree with every single thing on this list. I even printed it off to give in a baby shower present to some friends of mine who are expecting next month. I would however add in something about feeding. New moms go through so much when it comes to feeding new baby- whether it’s criticism or unwanted suggestions from others about the right way to feed. To nurse or not to nurse, how long to nurse for, nipple confusion, AGH! One of the best things new dads can do is support new moms in whatever they choose. If they choose to formula feed, the best thing he can do is support her decision and help her in disregarding what anyone else says. (And also get up through the night so she can catch some zzz’s.) If she’s breast feeding, it’s HARD! Although its natural, it doesn’t come naturally. They may have showed me how it works at the hospital and tried to help, but mostly I just said I got it down so I didn’t seem like the most incompetent new mom on the planet. I mean, I wanted to feel like the best new mom. And when we got home, it got harder. I needed my man’s help with nursing around the clock. It hurt! He was so good with rubbing my back and turning in my favorite girly shows for a distraction. So I added that advice into the printed off version of yours because its something all new moms go through and it’s difficult and emotional. Thank you so much for the article!

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Kali, this is such a great comment! I’m thinking about doing another post with ideas everyone has suggested in the comments. Also, that you printed off the post for a baby shower almost made me cry! That sounds so dramatic, but I really think it’s neat that this has touched people :) I also, think I’ll start calling myself a “published” author now :p Congrats on the baby!!!!

  20. Mia

    I’m a new mom – but not to a newborn. My husband & I just adopted two toddlers, and aside from the body image stuff this is still spot-on. Passing it along to the hubby for sure!

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Mia, congrats on your babies! That’s awesome. I’m so glad that you commented. The whole time I wrote it I wondered how adoption changes a marriage, so this is great to hear that it happens to us all as we transition from a couple to a family. Love your blog name, btw!

  21. Veena

    Loved your post!!! My little girl will be 8 this september (sigh! How fast they grow!!) but I still remember how I felt like it happened yesterday. I couldn’t agree more with every point you listed. The last one did move me to tears coz that one holds true not just when they are that little but forever :)

  22. Courtney

    I totally agree with everything in this article and will be forwarding it onto some friends but there is one thing that I would add to #10. Although the doctor says 6-8 weeks sometimes that is not enough time should your wife tear really badly. It is not that she doesn’t want to it is just that everything is not quite healed yet. My husband and I just recently experienced this with the birth of our daughter and although I kept telling him it would happen again someday just not in the time frame that the doctor gave us he had a hard time with it as he had it firmly in his mind 6-8 weeks. It took me about 12 weeks before I felt healed enough to be intimate. I felt like a bad wife for making him wait so long past what the doctor said but after looking online at what other women had experienced found out that my situation was quite normal for the kind of tear I had. I know this is a little personal but it is what really shocked our marriage the most after the birth of our first child.

  23. kris

    I agree a lot with this whole thing but also kind of disagree too. Moms also u have to remember that us dads stick with u for the 9 months before too. Yes the first couple maybe easy but last 3 are tuff for u moms and u stick it to us dads. We should care to u ladies it must be tuff but there is no reason to throw us a bone . Most marriages that do break up are in first year of having a child. Although it may be tough to hang on your emotions it still doesn’t make it ok to be irrational. Will us dads accept it and put up with it. Yes. But don’t use this article as an excuse to be like that.we will love u no matter what. Remember its hard for both men and woman. When a baby cries and is hungry. There is nothing we can do. How do u think that makes us dads feel when we can’t helpcalm our baby.

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Kris, thanks for the comment and the additional thoughts from the dad’s perspective. It’s so true that being irrational or beating up your man for the sake of it isn’t loving. I’m hoping that us moms are able to see that we aren’t alone in the feelings we have in becoming a mom, and also realize that we have to be respectful.

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  25. Sheila

    I just had baby #6 (!) and think you nailed it. I always have to give my husband the reminder that there will be times that I cry. It’s not anything that he has done, it’s just hormones. I may be happy, sad, overwhelmed, tired,amazed, feeling fat, feeling love….anything, but there will probably be tears with it. I look at my baby (each and every one) and am amazed that my body created this human. (More tears:)) and that this human chose me to be their mom. Amazing. I would like to add one more point that I think is important for people to know. We all have what we think is an ideal birth plan. Please don’t put too much emphasis on it. If you don’t want an epidural, great! But if for some reason you end up deciding to have one, its okay. Plan for a natural delivery and end up with a c-section, font be hard on yourself. Women place so much emphasis on the “extraction” process that they seem to forget that they just grew a human being! That is where the real miracle lies, not in how the baby comes out. I had four of my babies naturally, two with epidurals, breastfed anywhere between a month and 19 months and can say that none of that matters on how much I love them. I love them because I grew them and they *chose* me. That’s all!

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Six babies! You are amazing. Seriously. And thanks for the reminder about the birth plan and how we can get so caught up in the exit strategy that we lose sight of the REAL miracle. Thanks so much for this comment!

  26. Daniel schaffer

    This helped out a lot. I now know why my BMP is trying to kill me in my sleep.
    Just kidding my wife it the most beautiful woman in the whole world and I tell her that every day. Even tho she thinks I’m just saying that because I have to when I really mean it. I wouldn’t trade her for anyone….Thanks for sending this to me babe I love you.

  27. Chelsie

    i happened to read the 10 things new moms need to know about dads list first and immediately had to read this list as well. I couldn’t agree with you more and happen to holding our 4 week old son (first one) as i type (slowly with one hand of course). This is a great list and I think every new parent should read this! I will be passing this on to a friend whose expecting her first in a couple weeks!

  28. Kendra

    I cannot say enough how true your points are! The after effects of birth are sometimes harder to deal with than pre-baby preparations! This is a great list and should be shared with everyone, first time parents or not! It is a great reminder to even parents of a dozen children!

  29. Beth

    Love this….it actually left me with tears in my eyes from remembering these feelings, you’ve described them dead on. My “babies” are 3&5 but I am still handling the loss of my pre-baby body, and I would have loved to hear (would STILL love to hear) that growing my children, growing our family, is worth the extra 10 pounds and missing waist!

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Beth, thanks for the comment! I just got back from vacation and I can’t say I don’t miss the pre-baby body, but introducing our little man to the ocean made up for it. Well, most of it ;)

  30. Christine

    #7 made me tear up! It could be that I’m very pregnant, although with baby #2, and I had to ask my husband for this very thing already! :) It is so true! I have been stressed out this pregnancy and I am normally calm, cool and collected! I have traveled to Afghanistan for work, for crying out loud! However, this pregnancy I can’t even handle re-signing our lease or doing my taxes! I need my hubbs to handle everything and he does it so gracefully. Let me tell you I have not been the easiest person to be around either this time around! As I am writing this he is bringing me a glass of water and a bowl of blueberries. This is a fantastic article for fathers, I wholeheartedly agree with every point! I am going to share this as much as possible!

  31. Seth

    I honestly found this article to be utter bullshit that found its way from a hormonal woman’s head onto the Internet. I’m not going to be a punching bag for a woman that is equally as stressed as I for the same reason. It’s a teamwork thing through and through. It’s not all about mom and how she’s so busy with the baby. If you’re tired, the man would gladly take the baby. I’m not giving you permission like a damn school girl. There are some other things in this article which are pretty understandable on the other hand. Such as how the woman may feel like she looks up to part. I definitely wouldn’t suggest this to anybody.

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Seth, certainly a fair opinion, and I was definitely aware that being a punching bag wasn’t the best advice, but I through it out there anyways. I will say that, in my opinion, marriage requires a bit of sacrifice and putting up with attitudes/behaviors that we don’t necessarily “deserve” but we do it because we love them and know that, in the grand scheme of things, it will all be paid back in due time.
      Also, thanks for noting that there were things that were pretty understandable in the article :)

  32. Jenn

    I didn’t read all the comments, but I just feel strongly compelled to add that new moms need dad to be INVOLVED; very involved. There is nothing quite like experiencing a tough, masculine daddy enthralled with someone you also love beyond anything. And, new moms, don’t correct your husband or give too much advice. Too much advice (of course, unless asked) doesn’t help, but discourages daddy from taking an active roll in parenting.

  33. boat

    My wife, who is expecting baby #2 in about a month, showed this to me recently. I couldn’t agree with you more about these all of these things. I don’t think I did much right with the first baby, so your tips are going to be helpful the second time around.

    I think it is good to know what new mom is feeling and thinking before hand, especially when she may not be able to communicate what she is going through. Thanks for posting this, it is a big lifesaver!

  34. Brooke

    What a great post! Just had baby number 3 and this article is perfect. Wish I had read it before the baby and had the hubby read it!

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  36. Elizabeth

    I am expecting #5 anyday and I agree- reminders are lovely. Pregnancy and post pregnancy are hard to deal with…. Some woman aren’t as effected by hormones while some can feel like monsters. Tough on everyone… But especially tough on someone as selfish as Seth. I have compassion for his SO. Hopefully he will realize that although sleep deprivation is happening all around- the biological hormonal imbalances that go through the body of a new mom are real and need love and support. Hormones don’t play ‘fair’ and a woman can’t always be expected to feel as though it’s her fault that she doesn’t have as much emotional control as she normally would. Hopefully, the new mommy in his life didn’t cue him in to this article in hopes for some love and reprieve!

  37. Rick

    I am a father who of a 2 months old son. His mom and I have been together for ten years now, married for two. Im 31, She’s 29. I noticed something really unbecoming with the mother, and it really makes me go besac. The mother is too protective, and many times, it makes me feel lie I’m a bad father, or I pose some danger on the baby. “The baby is hers”. When this occurs I get so infuriated and I just wanna leave them.This also scares me, particularly when I see the change in her face.I hate overprotective parents and mothers with passion. I have seen this happening to my family. As it is, my father is very unhappy in his marriage because of this. I cant live like that too. The baby is fine, the mother just gets under my skin the way she behaves, and that isnt good for our marriage. How do i deal with this.
    PLEASE HELP!!

    1. Jenn

      It absolutely makes sense that you are frustrated, and that your wife is reverting back to what she knows from her history. I think it is very important to gently say that the two of you should get a sitter for an hour or so and attend counseling with a certified counselor. Bringing in a new family member, especially one who causes so much change and demands so much, is always hard on the marriage, and it’s so important to make the marriage relationship a priority.

  38. Mama Bear

    Great list! One that you left out was that just because the Doc says you can resume sexual activity after six weeks doesn’t mean mom is ready. Depending on a lot of factors, so to be fair, dad shouldn’t be chomping at the bit at the six week mark ready to get back in there.

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  41. Sara

    This is so perfectly written. I smiles chuckled and cried. Especially about the SIDS. It’s such a fear you described the feeling perfectly. You have a gift. Thanks for sharing this.

  42. Joanne W.

    This is by far the BEST list of advice for new moms and dads that I have read yet, and I’ve read a lot of them in the 5 years that I’ve been a mom. Seriously, this should be printed by the thousands and handed out at hospitals, birth centers, and everywhere in between. Fabulous list.

  43. Laurie

    Thank you thank you!! We have a beautiful 3 month old baby, who is currently going through a growth spurt and early teething – safe to say all that leads to a cranky mommy. I feel like I’ve been unfairly taking it out on hubby (just like your comment about not wanting to be mad at baby). I sent him this article and I really think it helped to explain my ridiculous behavior a little bit better than I ever could!’

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Laurie, so glad that the article helped and that you didn’t feel so alone :) A cranky baby is so hard because there are SO many feelings and frustrations, it’s hard NOT to take it out on him. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment :)

  44. Caitlin Larocque

    Wish this article was out when my little one was born. Maybe my husband would have understood better of what I was going through instead of being whinny and needy himself.

  45. Chris

    Great article. My wife and experienced many of these issues. The level of honesty and truth in this article is like a breath of fresh air to all new parents, ourselves included! We adopted our little girl from Ethiopia (who is now 4) and our son just turned 1 this week. This topic could totally be turned into a good e-book or printed book. Here are a few more points that worked along the way for Kara and myself. She needs to be taken on dates (establish a regular date night for just the 2 of you, to get away from the constant ball of love and stress and remember again what it’s like to be a couple in love). She needs him to help set up a routine. Routines will help build a life that doesn’t feel like its in chaos( and it will help the little one start sleepin through the night faster). Expanded point of #7 – she needs him to set up boundaries, and firmly cut the umbilical chord from his or her parents so you can both start to have permission to be parents without feeling like children every time the grandparents come around. This was the hardest thing to do with us at first but we are respected so much more by our parents now, and the experience helped my parents look differently at their own marriage. Along with these other points maybe you could have an opposite perspective side of the book that your husband could write. There is a similar book that was very good, that was “the most important year of a woman’s life, then you flip the book over and it looks like another front cover that reads “the most important year of a man’s life (referencing the first year of marriage.) Those are just a few thoughts of mine to expand an already really great article, keep up the great work Marie. ~Chris

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Chris, thanks so much for the comment. And really great point about cutting the proverbial umbilical cord. We didn’t have tons of issues with this (despite living with my in-laws for 2 or 3 months with a 1 year-old in tow), but I can’t tell you how many people struggle with this in their marriage. And I’ve heard of the book with the flipped covers thing, I’ll have to check it out. Take care!

  46. Daniel L

    Just wanted to say this article was well written, very informative, and just flat out convenient for some of us 1st time dad’s that never thought of this stuff…. My gf and I are expecting, and our boy Jacoby will be here right around Christmas…. I am terrified, and I’m sure she is too (eventhough she hides it well)… We are both going to be 27 when he finallly gets here… Old enough to have kids, but young enough to still be freaked out…. Anyways, I just wanted to say that this was a great article, for both women and men alike… I think it made my gf feel more confident with her situation, and it made me realize some of the things I should be paying attention too… There isn’t nearly enough willing fathers in the world these days, and I have no problem doing a little bit of extra homework to do it right. And seriously, Shame on the people who only wanted to point out negative things…. This is supposed to be the best moment in your life. Why else would you even read this article if you weren’t just looking for the best outcome of yourself and family?

  47. Daniel L

    And I hope you and your readers don’t judge too harshly that we aren’t married… We always planned to be married before any children…. But you can’t run away when life happens…. We are still going to get married, but we both agree, that we should take these challenges one at a time. We want to focus on bringing in this baby into the world best we can, and then we will handle our wedding to the best of our ability. Sorry if that offends anyone, but then again, you probably have enough to worry about in your own lives :)

    1. Marie McKinney-Oates Post author

      Daniel, no way would I judge someone that takes the time to read and research how to best support their family and mother of their child. You two rock! Thanks for the comment and CONGRATS!

  48. Tracey

    That guy Seth was such a creep I can’t believe it. It sounds like its all about him and no one else in his relationship. His poor wife (and child!) is all I can say! I thank god for my wonderful husband. How lucky I am!

  49. Heather

    Well unfortunately not all guys think our insecurities as women are worth thinking about…and when you bring them up they just think you are being stupid and do their best to ignore you…good luck getting through to those kind of men….I know I’ve tried and he just says I’m “making too big a deal out of it” when I specifically tell him all I need is for him to say something reassuring…

  50. Erica Bechtel

    Loved this. It’s all so true! I’m struggling with the weight thing. I almost fit into my old clothes and I’m working out so that by christmas or early new year, they should fit! But it’s that in between stage where nothing fits, but you don’t want to spend money on new clothes because hopefully in a few months they’ll be too big and you’ll fit in your old stuff. Gah, good thing my baby’s cute. She was totally worth it :)

    P.S. I think there should be something about nap/sleep times. Like when I’m feeding my baby right before bed time at night… it’s not tickle her feet time. Haha

  51. Kendra B

    I’m 16 weeks pregnant. This totally made me cry, and smile, and cry some more. Then I emailed it to my husband. Thank you!

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  55. Sarah

    One way that you can significantly decrease SIDS is not co-sleeping with your baby. Trust me, I know how scary it is and I am 15 years old (no, I’m not married and no, I do not have a child, don’t worry).

    My brother died of SIDS when he was 8 months old. He was just eating and then he passed. Just like that.

    Just to keep your fears a little less make sure that your baby gets the necessary vaccines, put your baby on your back to sleep and never co-sleep. These tips might not completely get rid of the risk, but defiantly decrease it.

    Good Luck!

  56. Amy

    Thank you so much for such a well written list! As a new mom, your blog took the thoughts out of my head and helped me express my crazy hormonal issues with my husband in a way that he easily understood and made both of us laugh. I’m referring every new parent I can to your website!

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  58. Hayley

    Wish my husband could have read this before we had our first one!! I ended up having postpartum depression and I acted crazy..the hubby wasn’t very supportive because it was all new, and he really didnt understand what was going on..heck I didn’t know what was going on. We were def. more prepared the 2nd time around..but also learned each baby is different so we had some new things to face with the 2nd also..what a learning experiance!!

  59. Michelle

    It’s too bad you left out us adoptive mothers with this post. I understand your good intentions but wish it was more inclusive to “different”families.

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  61. Sisa

    What a great article! I will be a first time mom in September and I need to get all the feedback I can. And this is just perfect for Daddy. Thank you!!

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