7 Common New-Parent Worries

How in the world do I get my partner to help out more?

Before I had kids, I remember having a debate with a new mom (and friend) I worked with. She was breastfeeding her infant and thought that her husband (also my friend) should wake up for every feeding, change the child, and bring the baby to her so she could feed him while half asleep. I defended the husband (we were on the same softball team, after all), arguing it didn't make sense to make both parents lose sleep when he was working in the morning and, really, baby needed only one set of nipples: Mom's milk-producing ones.

I don't think most men take a backseat maliciously; it isn't that they're too lazy to help or that they think baby can get a clean diaper right after the Packers score. It's just that most need a nudge. Women may think that a man should help just because. But if you explain what you need and why -- as obvious as it probably seems to you -- it stimulates the problem-solving center of his brain. After a few (hundred) times, he may catch on. Make his chores a habit early, and he'll start working as your copilot, not as a passenger along for the ride.

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