When you are expecting a baby, there might feel like an overwhelming amount of information that you have to quickly learn and remember – for when the big day arrives.
Although you can do everything you can to prepare for the labor and birth, somethings just don’t go according to plan – so it’s nice to have backups for those moments too. Here are a couple of things that partners can do to help mum along from the first contraction to the final push (and beyond).
Talk through feeding choices. Your partner might like to breastfeed, or perhaps they’d want to formula feed. Whichever one seems to be the top choice you can work with her to get all the information ahead of time. If it’s breastfeeding, for example, have things like milk catchers, breast pads and get some nursing bras. If you’ve decided formula feeding is the way to go, then research types of bottles, sterilizing equipment and brands of baby milk. Whichever method you opt for you can be an active supporting role.
As well as learning how to time contractions, you can learn some massage techniques. If you’ve taken a hypnobirthing class you might already have a few tricks up your sleeve but here is a list of great things you can do during the labor:
- Make sure she has plenty of water, tea, and snacks
- Call ahead to the hospital or birthing unit and let them know how it’s going
- Breath with your partner. An excellent way to do this is in for 4 and out for 8 during contractions
- Encourage walking, rocking and deep hips circles on the birth ball
- If it is early stages, make sure there is a safe, comfy spot for resting.
When it starts to ramp up, and the contractions get closer together, then swap light touch massage for counter pressure on the hips and gentle rubbing of the stomach. Some women can’t get comfortable or relax, so try and help her to relax her face, jaw, and shoulders.
During the pushing stage, things can get pretty intense both physically, emotionally and mentally. It is not uncommon for the woman to cry or say things out of her regular vocab. So where possible keep the tone positive and supportive. Pushing is exhausting and can be uncomfortable (and then some), so if your partner needs to squeeze your hand then allow her to do so.
If you get the sense that things aren’t going to be straightforward, then work with the midwives and/or doctors – again keeping the tone light and supportive.
Once you have arrived home, within a day or two your new bundle of joy is going to start waking up a little bit more, and the feeding and nappy change routine can feel relentless – do as much as you can to allow your partner to rest. Run your partner a bath and try and keep baby comforted and warm. Birth takes a significant toll on the body so recovery can be slow.
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