Like new moms, new fathers also have unique needs to support them in the early days, weeks, and months of the postpartum period. While it's true that moms experience the brunt of the physical experience of birth and postpartum healing, dads go through their own experience, often with little support or acknowledgement. Dads experience sleeplessness, feelings of helplessness, emotions that range from joy to despair, stress of balancing family and work, and even postpartum depression. This Father's Day (and really, anytime you encounter a new dad), consider gifting something that could significantly enhance a new father's time with his new baby. A new wallet or dinner out is nice, but other gifts may have a bigger impact. For example:
1. Coffee talk. If you're an experienced dad, offer to take the newbie out for coffee (or tea, or a beer) and check in with how things are going.
Stereotypically, men aren't as likely as women to reach out to friends to open up about life. With an informal get-together, you're giving the gift of support wrapped up in a social outing. Listen to all he has to say and offer advice or input if it seems appropriate.
2. Postpartum doula support. A postpartum doula is for dads, too! A postpartum doula assists with infant care, light house cleaning, and general postpartum support, all of which can impact a dad's confidence, peace of mind, and comfort. Search for one in your area.
3. Scheduled support for mom. One of the biggest concerns for dads when a baby is born is needing to go back to work and leaving mom by herself. Offer reassurance and gift mom and dad by offering scheduled time to come and help while dad's at work.
4. Time to take a good nap. Offer to come over on the weekend or week night and give dad and mom a chance to take a well-deserved nap.
5. Photos. If dad has to be away from mom and baby during the week, give him some photos to take along. Whether it's wallet size or framed 8x10s, a good photo (iPhone or professional photog) can help dad get through the day.
6. A great baby carrier. A solid and reliable baby carrier is a parent's best friend. And babywearing certainly isn't just for moms! Dads are often more comfortable with buckled or soft structured carriers, like the Ergobaby carriers.
7. A date with mom. These are hard to come by! Offer your child care services for even just a couple of hours out of the house. Mom and dad can reconnect and enjoy a nice meal or a good movie (and maybe some extra zzzs in the theatre).
8. Massage gift card. Even dads enjoy pampering... and now is NOT the time to ask mom for a back rub! A gift card for an hour long massage will allow dad a nice treat without asking too much of a tired mama.
9. Meals. This oldie but goodie is a tried and true new parent gift. Put an extra Father's Day spin on it by bringing over a four course meal (to leave, of course), complete with wine and dessert. Or, bring over the tastiest take out your town offers.
10. An unexpected day off. If you're the employer of a new dad, spring on him a day off by surprise. Tell him as he's heading out of work for the day that he can stay home tomorrow and enjoy his family and rest.
What ideas would you add to this list?