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  1. #1

    Sharing Chores with Husband

    I had my son two months ago and will be going back to work next week. I'm really worried about sharing the workload with my husband - right now, I do almost everything: cooking, cleaning up, laundry, and most baby-care chores. Any advice on how we can optimize our time with our baby, each other, and still keep the house from falling apart?

  2. #2
    Hi,

    That's a difficult one. Please try not to worry; it may take a bit of time for you all to adapt but you will both make adjustments and reach a good system soon.

    How much will you be working and how much will your husband be working? Will your son be in childcare or will your husband be watching him whilst you are working (some couples split the time looking after the children and working like this but I know it isn't possible for everyone).

    One tip is to put together a list of food which is easy to cook. It may help to have your evening meals planned in advance so you know you have all the ingredients ready and have already decided who is cooking the meal (so there are no surprises on the day!). Don't feel guilty if you need to rely more on convenience food for a time - it has its purpose for families in a transition time. Are you able to get a weekly online shop? Then no-one needs to spend time in busy supermarkets. You can sit down with your recipe list and order everything for the week in one go. If this works for you then you can just order the same every week which should save you time.

    I think it will help you to plan things out and be quite organised before you fall into a natural rhythm of doing chores and having family time. Block family time out first in your diary so that this priority does not get 'eaten up' by other jobs which inevitably come. You can plan to do something fun together each week with your little one e.g. visit a new park or have a special lunch together.

    It's also important to plan some time as a couple each week; lots of couples with children set aside one evening as a 'date night'. This doesn't have to be expensive - you can cook a nice meal together and have candles and music and just enjoy each others' company.

    Maybe the house won't be kept to the same standards as before. You have to decide together on the level you are happy with. However, if the house isn't cleaned as frequently as before but you are all enjoying each others company, eating well and getting the basic laundry and cleaning done whilst both working then I think you should be pretty pleased

    Many families also rely on extra help (either from family, friends, or paid help) with the household tasks to help them when they have a young baby and are working. Just having a cleaner once or twice a week can really free up a bit of time and stop a stressful situation from building up. Again, I know that this isn't financially possible for everyone.

    A bit off-topic, but I was wondering if you were planning on expressing your breastmilk whilst you were at work?

    Best wishes,
    LJ

  3. #3
    Hi LJ,

    We'll both be working at the same time, and unfortunately, we both work 12 to 13 hour days. I'm quitting as soon as I can, but that won't be for the next 4 months :-(

    I definitely am going to express my breastmilk; I've got a good pump and feel comfortable using it - we just have to get the baby comfortable eating from a bottle!

    I like the idea of planning out meals for the week and of ordering groceries online - that would be wonderful! There's a business that delivers ingredients for specific meals, too, so even though it's a little expensive, we might have to try that.

    We also might have to look into a house cleaner too!

    All great advice; thanks again LJ!
    Kirsten

  4. #4
    Dear Kristen,

    I was thinking about this some more today and I also wondered if you could make lots of meals in advance (cook large quantities of stews, curries etc) and put them in the freezer ready for when you are back at work.

    Yes I've heard of a company that delivers the ingredients for certain recipes - sounds nice.

    How is your baby getting on with drinking from a bottle? Did you know that there are some bottles designed to simulate the latching on of breastfeeding - and exclusively breastfed babies often get on with these better (Medela make one called Breastflow and there are other makes I believe).

    Often mum will have to leave the room whilst her husband feeds the baby expressed milk - many babies only want it straight from the breast if the breast is available.

    Your workplace should provide you with breaks so that you can express and a private place to do this in (not the toilet). Plus somewhere for you to store the breastmilk. Has your employer been supportive?

    Wishing you and your family all the best with going back to work,
    LJ

  5. #5
    LJ,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. I really feel like there's someone looking out for my family!

    I have a few meals saved in the freezer. I've heard of some websites that provide recipes and directions to prepare and then freeze a month's worth of meals, which would be so nice to have on hand. I think when my mother comes to visit, we'll go on a meal-making and freezing spree.

    My employer is very supportive of my continuing to breastfeed. While I was pregnant, there actually wasn't anywhere besides the toilet to express milk, which a few co-workers were using. I found a spare room that had turned into a sort of dumping ground for extra office supplies and furniture, though, and we cleared it out and turned it into a lactation room...so I will be all set when I go back!

    That's great advice about having me leave the room when my husband tries to bottle-feed him. So far, it's been quite a struggle because he's so used to feeding from my breast. I've tried three different brands - Tommy Tippee, Playtex, and Comotomo - and he likes Playtex best, but it's still difficult. I'll have to try Medela, since they specialize in breast pumps.

    Thank you!
    Kirsten

  6. #6
    Dear Kristen,

    It is a pleasure to be able to support your family here. I had some invaluable support on this forum when I was pregnant with my second son which helped me to have the positive birth experience I hoped for (and sadly had not experienced with my first birth).

    A mum-daughter cooking and freezing spree certainly sounds in order!

    I am so pleased to hear that your employer is supportive of your breastfeeding and expressing.

    With the Breastflow bottle the baby has to latch onto the bottle so this can be an easier transition for an exclusively breastfed baby.

    Skin to skin contact (including between your husband and baby) whilst giving your baby expressed breastmilk can help and it certainly increases bonding too. Something else which can helo is having a piece of your clothing (not washed!) near your baby whilst they are feeding from the bottle so the smell of mum relaxes them and reminds them of breastfeeding. You may find this article by Becky Flora helpful on Offering Your Breastfed Baby a Bottle.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  7. #7
    We will definitely try this; thank you!

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