On some level, the new dad may have been eagerly waiting for the pregnancy to end and life to get back to normal. It is now time to work out on a new set of routine. For the first time the new dad realises that his life has changed and will take some time to fall into a rhythm that works.
It is quite natural for the new dad to experience paternal postnatal depression, and he may feel left out or overwhelmed by everything that is happening around him. Eating well and resting will help to keep up his energy level.
The new mother needs a lot of care and affection too. She may be moody at times. Several weeks after the baby comes home, she may experience bouts of crying, irritability or sleep disruptions. The new dad needs to keep an eye on her mood too.
Physical needs may take a back seat now. But when it comes to sex, the dad should be patient. Asking her what feels good, what hurts and what the dad can do to help is the only way to deal with the situation.
The thrill of being a father puts one in a celebratory mood. Celebrating at home is a good idea. Make sure the friends do not overstay their welcome.
Taking over the bulk of household chores, bringing her a snack and a drink while she breastfeeds, rubbing her shoulders and a hug-for-no-reason – all these will make the new Dad and Mom feel good.
The key is to keep yourself buoyant, as your partner is grappling with hormonal changes while coping with the demands of the baby. Just because she is paying less attention to you does not mean she has stopped caring about you. You are her partner and she needs your emotional support, now, more than ever before.
If at times you feel overwhelmed by the scene at home, take time out to go out for a drink or two with your friends. But only after explaining it to your partner and by ensuring that someone is there with her and the baby while you are away. But do not make this into a regular habit. The joys of parenting can be discovered as you open yourself up to meet the challenges that come along the way. There are no shortcuts to being a good father.