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Lockdown is tough on all of us, particularly for new parents. Here’s some tips to help working dads support their partners
Lockdown has dramatically reduced the support networks available new parents. For many new mums their partner is not just their primary means of support but their only source of support.
So dads are key to helping their partners cope with the switch to parenthood.
First and foremost new dads need to look after themselves. The analogy about airline oxygen masks holds true – always put your own on before you try to help anyone else. And parenthood can be a stressful time for new dads. However some of that stress can come from not knowing the best way to help your partner.
Breastfeeding brand Lansinoh have teamed up with midwife Marley Hall to help. Research by the brand during the first lockdown found new and expectant mums’ mental health was impacted by reduced social interactions.
Lansinoh’s survey found that the first UK lockdown led to increased levels of anxiety and loneliness in new and expectant mums, due to not being able to spend this special time with friends or family. In particular, 70% of those surveyed reported increased anxiety levels, whilst 60% reported increased levels of loneliness.
To help new mums feel supported during the third national lockdown, Lansinoh and Marley Hall are encouraging family and friends of new or expectant mothers to show support in any way they can. Here are some ideas to get started.
Even during lockdown, there are a number of practical things that can really help new mums. Women need that mental space to be able to have those self-care moments, which is really important, and having support from their husband or partner to allow them to do that is really valuable. Dads can help from a practical perspective by cleaning up and cooking dinner – that way she can focus on spending precious time with baby and tending to their needs whilst you support both of them.
As well as practical support, it’s important for new and expectant mums to know that they have the emotional support of their partner if it’s needed. The best way that you can offer your support is through simply paying attention to what she might need. Often a new mum won’t always voice that she needs help. So just paying attention to when she appears to be feeling that bit extra tired and offering your assistance will be greatly appreciated. These small gestures can make a huge difference. It’s all about checking-in with the new mum – sometimes all they want is to have an adult conversation!
Loneliness was one of the biggest effects of the first lockdown on new mums. When the national lockdown restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so within the government guidelines, why not arrange a surprise socially-distanced walk in a local park with her family and friends? This could really help to lift a new mums’ spirits. If her friends live further away, then why not opt for a zoom call instead? This will allow mum to have some much needed quality time with her friends and allow you to spend some time with baby!