A staggering one third of the women who took part in a recent Healthy Mummy Community survey say they get NO help at all from their partners during the night shift. In addition to this, only 30 per cent replied that ‘yes’ their partners help out with the night shift.*
If you’re struggling to get the support you want or need from your partner during those dark hours, your mental and physical health will take a battering.
Sure it’s not always possible to have help at night because of work commitments, but if you partner can help it’s really important they do, and here is why.
1. It will strengthen the bond between your partner and baby
During those first few weeks and months it’s usually mum who does feeds, changes and cares for baby because their partners are at work. Sure some have a bit of a cuddle at the end of the day but if dads share the night time duties they will get to enjoy some precious bonding moments. A tiny hand wrapped around their big finger, a cuddle as they rock them to sleep and a smile during feeding time are just some of the paybacks for dads who take the night shift.
2. Your relationship will become stronger
Partners who voluntarily help with the night shift are usually rewarded with love and affection instead of feelings of resentful. Couples are likely to fight less if they share responsibilities during those long and often cold nights when babies wake. You’ll become a team that loves and appreciates each other, this will happen even if dad only gets up every other night.
Tip: Just because you’re breastfeeding it doesn’t mean your partner can’t help at night, express some milk for them to feed baby, and you’ll appreciate the non-broken sleep.
3. A sense of empathy will develop
They will develop a greater understanding of what you are going through and hopefully realise how unrelenting parenting a newborn is. As a result they might be more thoughtful around the house, with taking care of other children and offering a reassuring hug or cup of tea when you least expect it. Make them have a few nights in your shoes and you’ll be surprised at the results, hopefully.
4. They might find an easier way to do something
It can be hard to relinquish control to other people, particularly if you have certain and strict ideas about what way you want to nurture and care for your baby. However, when dads have a turn ‘behind the wheel’ they might come up with new ideas for settling baby that could make your life easier or less stressful. We’re you’re close to a problem it can be hard to see a simple solution, even if it’s looking you in the eye.
5. It’ll earn them some (much-needed) brownie points
If you’ve got a partner who loves a round of golf on a Sunday, a night out with the boys or who trains a lot for sport, let them know you’ll be more likely to agree to such events if they share the night shift duties with you. Dads are often in the dogbox for seemingly being able to come and go as they please, whereas you’re stuck at home with a baby. And remind them of the old adage, a happy wife makes for a happy life.
* Survey results taken from 1,950 mums in the Healthy Mummy Community.