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The Role of Partners in the Postpartum Period

In the first few weeks following childbirth, mothers in Canada often grapple with feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and frustration. This phase, commonly known as the "baby blues," typically spans the initial two weeks after giving birth. While some mothers begin to feel better after this period, others may continue to experience stress and anxiety. In some cases, these feelings can escalate into postpartum depression, underscoring the importance of offering support to mothers during this crucial time. While postpartum depression is treatable, prevention through attentive care is always preferable. As a partner, it is essential to play an active role in aiding your loved one through their postpartum journey.

There are several ways as a partner you can help:

1. Always be available

If able, partners should seize the opportunity if you are eligible for paternity leave. Being there with your partner and helping them is important in their postpartum recovery. The presence of another person can be therapeutic for many persons suffering from postpartum depression.

2. Provide help during breastfeeding

Even mothers who adore the process of nursing may experience a sense of isolation, sitting in a chair while the baby feeds for several hours. This is the perfect time for you to offer any help you can, even if it just means staying next to them. Though it may seem insignificant, to mothers feeding day in and day out, it makes a world of a difference.

3. Encourage your partner if they need professional help

Getting assistance from a therapist or psychiatrist is the best approach for someone suffering from postpartum depression. So the sooner you can schedule a doctor’s appointment for your partner, the sooner that procedure can start. Your partner’s midwife or gynaecologist can recommend a doula or a therapist. A postpartum doula is a specialist qualified to support a new mother during the time following childbirth.

4. Get extra help

Being a new parent can be tedious for both parents, and there is nothing wrong with getting some extra help if you want your partner to get the utmost postpartum care. A night nurse specializing in newborn care is someone you can hire to assist you and your spouse during the baby’s first few weeks at home. Typically, they work at night, hence the name; they care for the baby, feed them, and change their diapers. This way, your partner will get the rest they desperately need after giving birth.

5. Surprise them

It doesn’t have to be big; you can give your partner flowers, cook them food, take her out for a meal, get her favourite drink, etc. These all things will help your partner feel loved, also she will be able to blow off some air. It doesn’t need to be expensive; small, frequent acts of care and kindness are more important.

6. Help your partner realize the change

Help your spouse detect the changes in their attitude or behaviour if you suspect they are signs of postpartum depression or anxiety. Acknowledge that this is a big step in her and your lives together. Embrace the next chapter of your lives that you’re starting, and make plans for the future together with the baby.

7. Provide essential postnatal care

Mothers need continual care for up to eight weeks immediately after delivery. The postnatal care includes counselling, rest, proper nutrition, and time to bond with the newborn. Treatment of common recovery issues, and other preventative measures, are all healthy parts of the process.


New mothers in Canada may sometimes find it challenging to ask for help due to feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed. As a partner, you can do a lot during this period to provide them with the postpartum care you can. Other options like doulas, midwives, and postnatal retreats can also help in the recovery process. Meet your partner where they are in their postpartum process, and you’ll be making the journey easier, together.

August 24, 2023
Hana McConville
Co-founder & former CEO of Alma Care