~Leave past problems where they belong. Ask for what you need/want.
Many new mothers want to feel they are in a partnership; they are in this together. They want dads to help without asking. Mothers also really want someone to listen to them, without trying to fix things.
New fathers often want space to do things their own way. Different ways of interacting with baby actually helps baby’s brain, and gives you more skills to draw from. Babies unquestionably benefit from having one-on-one time with each parent. Choose what baby chores you are both responsible for, your “domain”- the other can’t oversee, comment or criticize.
Dads also really want sex! He still desires you. For many moms this is at the bottom of their priority list. It helps to find a happy medium.
Moms can remind themselves that getting enough rest, baby care breaks, and exercise all help her self-confidence and decreases her stress. This may allow her to feel like herself again; taking care of herself she really can better take care of others. Dads can help by sharing the parenting responsibilities and perhaps hiring out some of the house work, grocery shop and prepare healthy meals, do little things to show appreciation and love (a love letter/hidden notes, flowers, an unexpected present), and encourage Mom to take care of herself.
~Focus on positives and show appreciation. New moms really need praise and notice. Dads may not understand just how time consuming breastfeeding can be, or that a baby needs attention every 20seconds! They may think it looks relaxing to sit on the couch all day, without realizing how lonely and intellectually numbing it can be. Dads need to be noticed and appreciated for going to work; they feel
~Make time for each other- connect on a personal level. Don’t talk about baby. You are taking care of your baby by taking care of your marriage.
~Develop a support network. This is the time to receive help not give it. Find other new mom friends.
Ask family for what you need; involve them in ways that supports your marriage. Develop healthy boundaries such as: your new family comes first, respect your spouse and do not criticize (and require the same from your family), support each others' parenting choices over keeping peace (unasked for advice/out of date opinions can be dealt with by saying “My doctor says” or “You did what you thought best, I am doing what I think is best” or “This works for us”.) If problems arise on your side of the family, you should be the one to talk to them.
BabyProofing Your Marriage by Cockrell, O’Neill and Julia Stone,
and Baby Makes Three by Gottman