Pregnancy, childbirth, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding…These things take a toll and can lead to serious health issues, even years after childbirth. Check out this article in Goop, and even if your partner doesn’t have the symptoms of postnatal depletion, she can surely use a few months of rebuilding and recovery. Pay attention to signs of postnatal depression because it can onset long after the baby is born.
If you haven’t already, take ownership of breakfast to make sure she’s leaving for work with a healthy meal. Work out a dinner schedule together, perhaps you cook 2x a week and she does 2x a week and you cook together Friday nights. If your partner is breastfeeding, follow the Kellymom guidelines on drinking while breastfeeding – she can probably enjoy a glass of wine.
If your partner is still breastfeeding when she goes back to work, she’s pumping at work – and that is not just draining but stressful in many workplaces! To keep her nutritional stores up, find a good postnatal supplement that she can take (my company, Wonder Mother has a formula especially for breastfeeding women).
Take over the household tasks, at least for the first few months. Try using a shared document to keep track of household items and chores (google docs, evernote, notes app) so you can both add shopping items, tasks, reminders, etc. as you think of them. Your partner and your household are going through a profound change, and your involvement in this will not only take some burden off your partner but may be rewarding on its own.
If you don’t have it, get Amazon Prime! Having household items delivered can save lots of time and energy – two things neither of you will have much of for the upcoming years.
Remember – she’s a woman and your partner. In addition to date nights, date walks, bike rides, or gym nights are another great way to talk and bond while getting activity. You might not be feeling especially attracted to your partner for a number of reasons (i.e. childbirth trauma, the weirdness of seeing a baby on her breast, the inevitable weight gain, and the inevitable stress), but you must get back to seeing your partner as the sexiest woman alive if you are going to raise this kid together. If you don’t have family to help, sign up for a babysitting service or app (in So. Cal I use Helpr) or get a recommendation from a friend. Some gyms even have childcare.
And always cherish your time with your partner and new child. Time flies, and there’s so little of it!