Healthy living

Tips for mums with a new baby – how to ask your partner for help

Communicate what you need

Men are not mind-readers. They aren’t the best at getting women’s ‘hints’ (or perhaps women are too subtle!). Sometimes, men don’t even notice that something needs doing until it is pointed out.

If you want your partner to do something, the best strategy is to simply and politely ask, ‘Can you do this, please?’. Be clear about whether it needs to be done by a certain time, or more than once.

Does asking turn into nagging?

Nagging is a lose-lose situation. Women don’t like doing it. Men don’t like hearing it.

However, sometimes a reminder is necessary – especially when both your brains are fuzzy and forgetful from lack of sleep.

If you don’t like having to ask for jobs to be done, it might help to make a list (remember – keep it simple and specific) and stick it to the fridge. Tell your partner it’s there, then leave him to work through it. Read more about how new dads can help around the house.

Lots of couples find this works well. You probably have precious little time to talk to each other anyway. Why not save conversation for things other than housework?

Agree on jobs you will each take sole responsibility for

It can take the pressure off if you each know who will do what. This includes both household tasks and baby-related tasks.

Men often find themselves thinking their partner ‘knows how to do things better’. Usually, this is not due to any special knowledge or instinct – it is simply a matter of practise. However, men can be reluctant to have a go in case they do something wrong (and upset their partner in the process!).

When you and your partner agree on division of tasks, try to stick to it – especially when it involves your baby. He will probably appreciate the chance to become an expert on some things.

Show your appreciation

Everyone likes to be acknowledged. Remembering to thank your partner will likely increase the chance he’ll continue in his efforts. Knowing that what he has done makes you happy is a great incentive.

(In case you’re wondering: Yes – he should also remember to thank you for all you do too!)

Women and Newborns Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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