16 Ways to Support Your Partner Before, During, and After Birth

new dad supporting his partner after birth

Supporting your partner through something as wild as pregnancy and birth can seem overwhelming. That’s why we polled our Facebook audience to nail down the most helpful things partners did before, during, and after, and as always, you didn’t disappoint.

Here’s a sampling of the clever, kind, and downright impressive things partners did to take care of their other halves.

How to support your partner through pregnancy, birth and beyond

Exercise your empathy muscles.

“My husband went through a labor simulation with me using a TENS unit to simulate contractions on his abdomen. He agreed to do it so he could physically understand my pain later on, even though, in his words, “I’m sure it still pales in comparison.” When the time came, he was a champion and tended to my every need, and was sincerely involved in the entire process, a rock from start to finish. He was the only one I wanted in the delivery room and the only one I needed (Aside from nurses and doctors who were all awesome as well!) I could never have done it without him, twice so far now!” – Melissa

Encourage sleep, even at the cost of your own.

“My wife was amazing, during pregnancy she encouraged me to nap. In labour she provided counter pressure and kept me calm and centred. During postpartum I would pump after I put the baby to bed and she would get up and do the first feed of the night so I could get a longer stretch in the first few months.” – Carly

Be their voice when they need it most.

“I had to have an emergency c-section, and I told him that he had to be my voice when I couldn’t. After the medication wore off, they gave me a shot of morphine and it didn’t do anything – he called in a nurse and she said she had to get permission from my doctor to give me something else. While I lay in bed, sobbing into my fist to keep from waking my newborn son, he stormed the nurses station and refused to leave until I was given something for the pain. (This coming from a man who wondered if it would be rude to send back a burned meal at a restaurant once.)” – Kristine

Jump in without being asked.

“My wife didn’t wait for me to ask for help. She just parented. Changed diapers, bathed the baby, took her out in the stroller so I could shower, washed bedding, put away laundry, etc. She acknowledged that I had the physically and emotionally taxing job of growing, delivering, and breastfeeding, and she took on the other aspects of parenting. And she did it without me needing to be a manager and assign tasks.” – Alannah

Feed her (and the baby, too!).

“My husband did ALL the cooking for the first 2 months of our sons life. He also takes the night shift from 2am-6am so I can get a stretch of uninterrupted sleep… this is so important for my mental health. He’s never shy to take him when he’s being difficult and always keeping up on daily household chores. I don’t know what I’d do without him.” – Samantha

Channel your inner Zen master.

“When it was “go-time” I was amazed how calm and prepared my husband was. I was surprised how nervous I ended up being when real labor started and he was my absolute rock. He knew where all the packed bags were and got loaded up so fast, got me a snack, and called the doctor. He rubbed my feet in the tub while we tried to kill a little time at home before going in and kept me super calm. It wasn’t until several weeks later that he admitted how scared he was and I never would’ve known it.” – Emily

Get creative with your schedule.

“My husband and I had/have an awesome system. I sleep better in the morning (like 2am-6am) and he sleeps better early on in the evening (prior to 3am). If the baby would wake up in the first half of the night, it was “my turn” and if it was the second half of the night it was “his turn.” This way we were both sleeping when our bodies did our best sleep.” – Reagan

Think ahead.

“If you have older kids, partners can put together a plate for the little one’s lunches each day before going to work. Makes lunchtime so much easier for a mom breastfeeding a newborn.” – Emily

Watch what you eat.

“Never the eat the last of anything. Ever. In fact if you see the last of something, go to the store and buy two more boxes/bags/crates/whatever of said item.” – Sarah

Take care of her.

“Always was 100% on board with me going out to spend time with friends or whatever I wanted to do to get a little me time in. Being extra patient with me while I recovered/adjusted. Calmed me down if I was overreacting. Answered medical questions that I was in too much pain to answer. Getting up in the middle of the night to feed baby. Third baby and we are a well oiled machine of a team, he rocks.” – Laura

Get cozy in the kitchen.

“My husband has taken over the grocery shopping and dinner cooking, and this has continued since I’ve gone back to work as well. It is a HUGE relief to my schedule and mind to not have to have that mental inventory of groceries needed, meals to plan, as well as the time spent shopping taking away from my precious few moments with the baby every evening after work before bedtime. Also every time I’ve had a low moment about my body image he has said, simply, “you’ve had a baby.” it helps me keep perspective.” – Kate

Make sure the intake matches the output.

“Keep a new breastfeeding mama fed and hydrated! I always appreciated water and food, sometimes brought to me in bed because I was feeding baby or pumping, more than I could express!” – Lindsay

(Related: 20 One-Handed Snack Ideas)

Keep her comfortable.

“My husband was a rock during labor. We took a Bradley method class and he was a great. Also, I struggled a lot with breast feeding. He recognized that isolating myself in the nursery every time I had to pump was causing me even greater depression and moved my pumping station out to the rest of the house and made me feel comfortable always.” – Jessica

Use your manners.

“He thanks me for nursing, which was especially helpful when I was doing it every 30 minutes. Literally never feel like my time and energy and dedication is taken for granted. I cannot overstate how good this is. He also did every overnight diaper change, which even if I was awake anyway was such a weight lifted somehow.” – Ericka

Just say yes.

“Said yes to all of my requests with our newborn – the biggest one that made me realize how much I appreciate him — I wanted to co-sleep because I had an emergency c section and couldn’t get out of bed so he ran out and got a co-sleeper. Never asked when it would end or doubted my ability to keep baby safe at night. Just checked on us through out the night and changed his diaper.” – Rachel

Do what you’re told (and know when to tell a white lie!)

“When I looked at him and said, “I need the epidural,” he pressed that nurse button so quickly! He also told me I didn’t poop when I knew I did.” – Stephanie

So there you have it.

There are many creative and thoughtful ways to support your partner through pregnancy, birth, and beyond. When it comes down to it, being attentive, kind, and anticipating her needs go a long way – and when in doubt, feed her.

Got something your own partner did that was worthy of a shout out, or something you didn’t find helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

Our next recos: The Ultimate Hospital Bag Packing Checklist

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