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Duty calls: how to decide who does what after the baby is born

The nine months of pregnancy are an excellent (if not obligatory) time period for a couple to reassess the division of labor when it comes to child care. Before your baby is born, talk things through with your significant other about each other’s expectations on everything regarding your baby, and try to find a middle ground. It will help to avoid any misunderstandings, feelings of disrespect, lack of communication, and more importantly, it can strengthen the parental relationship. When the parental unit is a unit, the baby—and everyone else for that matter—fares much better. Think of scenarios and talk openly with your significant other about his/her comfort zones when it comes to the baby duties of feeding, bathing, diapering, and burping. Perhaps there are some activities you each prefer to do alone, while others you would like to do together with the baby, or some can be done so that the other parent can take a break.

Sometimes not knowing how to do something can lead to resistance from your partner. Check to see if it’s because he or she does not know how to complete certain tasks or if they simply don’t feel comfortable doing it. There are plenty of ways to learn the basics (Bundoo being a great resource!). Once your baby is born, you each will learn your way of caring for your little one.

Sharing the parental duties not only helps the mother feel more connected to her significant other, she can feel less of a burden in parenting. This brings the couple closer in this incredible journey of parenting. When speaking with your significant other about these activities, don’t phrase it as “work,” an “obligation,” or worse: a “job.” Caring for the baby provides an excellent opportunity for the baby to bond with each parent in each parent’s unique way.

The following are some things to think about when deciding who will do what. Feel free to dig deeper to find out what works best for your family.

  1. If you plan to exclusively breastfeed, you will be your baby’s only source of food. Can your significant other bring the baby to you while you get ready to feed?
  2. In between or after feedings, can your partner burp the baby or change the diaper?
  3. Who will take care of putting the baby back to sleep?
  4. If you plan to formula feed or use a pump, can your significant other take some turns feeding the baby?
  5. Who will wash the pump’s parts and bottles?
  6. Who will clip or file the baby’s nails?
  7. Who will bathe the baby?
  8. Who will do the baby’s laundry?
  9. Who will take the baby to doctor visits?
  10. Who will tend to household chores (cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, to name a few)?
  11. Will you hire help for child care or household chores?
  12. Talk to some friends or family members with children to get some ideas as to how they split up child care.
  13. Try creating a list of duties to see what fits in with each of your schedules. Take in consideration that after the delivery and once you are home, you may not feel up to speed quite yet and may need more help than you anticipated.

How do you split up the duties in your household? Share your tips in the comments.

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About Dr. Eva Benmeleh, Bundoo Child Psychologist

Dr. Eva Benmeleh Roditi is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialization in the 0-5 age range. She is also a certified lactation educator and helps mothers with breastfeeding issues in pediatric practices. She currently works in private practice in North Miami Beach, Florida.

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