As a lot of South Africans learned during the Soccer World Cup, getting a reasonable amount of sleep is a very important thing. Some of the worst time for sleep is in the first few weeks and months after bringing the new baby home.
For us, Stacey's last few weeks of pregnancy was really tough, and we went into the birth with not much sleep under our belts.
It seemed to me that new moms that felt supported, did some exercise and got enough sleep were less likely to develop Post Natal Depression -which seems like a pretty tough illness, and definitely one to avoid.
I took an approach, which seemed to work well:
Getting Stacey to express milk so that I could do the midnight feed.
Making sure that during the night I was the one who got up to at least 1 in 3 of Matilda’s screams.
Me taking one day off work a week to look after Matilda and let Stacey take the day off, go to work, catch up with friends, go shopping, see a movie. Anything she wanted.
When I initially figured out this plan, I'll admit I thought that those would all be a hassle, and I should get some sort of medal or award for being such a good dad and guy.
One year down the track, I'm really glad, on a personal level, that I did all of those things to the best of my ability. I feel like I'm closer to Matilda and a better Dad as a result.
I would strongly recommend coming up with a similar plan that suits you and your situation. Get involved, you won't regret it.
For more information see Fatherhood or Parenting