Did your husband knock during the birth

Suddenly three of them

From couple to family

The nursery is lovingly furnished, the diapers are in place, the stroller is waiting for the first exit. When a baby is born, the parents usually have everything planned well. There is only one thing they cannot really prepare for: themselves. And so on the day they are born they are thrown into the uncertain life of three, from one moment to the next they are no longer just husband and wife, but father and mother.

How easy was life until recently, back then in intimate togetherness! If you wanted to go out to dinner in the evening, just go. Sleep in on Sundays, stay in bed an hour longer? No problem. From an organizational point of view, your life was certainly easier to cope with without offspring. There was more time for your own interests. No question. But was your life more exciting, fulfilling, more satisfying - without a child?

One thing is certain: the birth of your child opens up completely new perspectives for you as a couple. From now on, you no longer make decisions for just two. Every step you take - or don't take - affects the whole family. Many questions need to be answered: Who is staying at home? Who is responsible for what? This results in new dependencies and responsibilities. Perhaps you are one of those couples in which one partner is suddenly financially dependent on the other, while the other is now the sole breadwinner and carries the material burden on his / her shoulders.

When you talk to parents, you hear one thing over and over again: nothing has turned their lives upside down like the birth of their first child. Free time is taking on a new role. How much time do you have for yourself, for you as a couple, for your family? How should and how can it be used? But your child also forces you as a parent to think seriously about the future. Suddenly you and your partner are very closely connected - whether you live together as a couple or not.

Arrange everyday life

Certainly - the first time after the birth is no picnic for many new parents. But it is also incredibly fascinating and exciting at the same time. Lust and frustration, both are part of it when two suddenly become three.

If you occasionally feel frustrated with the new situation or feel overwhelmed, you are neither a bad father nor a bad mother. If you ask around, you will feel: Most parents feel the same way. What is important is the willingness to get involved in the new situation and accept certain dependencies. Looking back does not lead to anything. In addition, with the gradual development of your child, you gain more space for yourself and for your own activities.

Those who constantly cling to their independence from the past and mourn their past freedom block themselves and their partners from seeing a new, fascinating life.

Unfortunately, there are no recipes for turning a happy couple into a happy family. Each couple is challenged individually and has to find their way to shape their new everyday life. This is especially a topic for those in whose love relationship everyday life has been largely left out. Now it's time to define the division of labor, make firm agreements and find compromises. That is not always easy. But the more you try, the more likely you will become a happy parent.

Islands to refuel

With all the sense for the family, it is just as important that you deliberately set yourself apart from time to time and simply be husband and wife again. That means: going out alone, doing something together and talking about things in which the words child and upbringing do not appear.

The first free evenings should not be filled with appointments. Rather enjoy the togetherness over a cozy meal that is not interrupted by your baby.

But togetherness is also possible with your baby, for example on an evening walk together. Many couples find a trip with the stroller pleasant and relaxing. If possible, plan a fixed evening together every week, your private get-together, so to speak.

Create islands to refuel. This also includes a weekend for two, where you can sleep in and just do what you want. If you don't have any grandparents or other relatives around who take on a weekend childcare service: Don't be shy and talk to other parents in a similar situation. They certainly also long for variety. Perhaps it can be arranged that you take care of each other's children ...

New roles

For women in particular, a lot changes after the birth of a child. Most of them now have completed vocational training, are independent and self-confident. Even when women are employed, most of the responsibility is left to them. Surveys show that 90% of children under the age of 15 are primarily cared for by their mothers. The woman almost always stays with her child and takes on the upbringing tasks.

Of course, not all women suffer when they say goodbye to professional life. Many are even happy to say goodbye to the daily pressure of deadlines or simply the boring routine for a while. They watch with fascination how their child changes from day to day and enjoy the new, responsible task.

But as with any other activity, enthusiasm can at some point reach zero. No wonder, as housewife and mother are a 24-hour job! Who always keeps their nerve and a good mood? Even so, you don't have to just indulge in frustration.

Get out of isolation

How you feel in your new role has a lot to do with what you make of it. If you feel locked up at home and complain about a lack of social contact, you should consciously break your isolation. There are many options. In almost every place there are parent-child groups, crawling groups, and breastfeeding groups. Here you can exchange ideas with others and at the same time promote your child's development in a playful way. You can find out who meets where from the parish, the pediatrician or sometimes in the local press. Can you really not find a group in your place, or are they all crowded? Then found one yourself! There is literature that answers both organizational and content-related questions.

Perhaps you are one of those women for whom such meetings are not enough and who complain that the focus is on what surrounds you all day anyway: the child. If you would like to see and hear something else besides your baby, create your own personal space. Of course, this is often easier said than done. But even if you cannot fall back on helpful third parties and on top of that have a partner who is very committed to the job, you do not immediately bury your head in the sand. It is better to tap your environment over and over again to see whether something can be changed after all. Perhaps there is a woman in your area in a similar situation? Why not look after each other's children? What if it is only once for an hour in the beginning? Or hire a babysitter for a regular appointment? In addition, use your child's sleep phases consistently for yourself: for example, for your own interests and hobbies that you can pursue around your child.

If you are planning to return to your old job after parental leave, stay tuned: keep in touch with old colleagues, read trade magazines, do something for further education and training. There is a wide range of offers, for example via distance learning, television, video or even CD-ROM. Or would you like to use the baby break for a special commitment - in politics, in citizens' groups or in the social sector?

You may find it difficult to do something for yourself at first because you feel drained from being a mother and a housewife. If you overcome yourself, you will be better soon. That a balanced and satisfied mother is also good for the baby can only be emphasized again in this context.

Become a father - be a father

When it comes to the new everyday life with a child, usually only women are mentioned. But there is also a lot to do for the men. You also have to deal with old role stereotypes: You go out of the house and make the money. If you take parental leave and are househusband, then you are one of the few exotic species in this country.

Both parents can take turns up to three times during the three-year parental leave, but external circumstances often mean that what the legislature allows is rarely put into practice.

However, fathers who continue to pursue their profession also play a new role. You are no longer only responsible for yourself, but suddenly have to support a family. This quickly puts them under double pressure. If you are very involved in your job, it does not necessarily trigger a storm of enthusiasm at home. Because this commitment is inevitably at the expense of the family. So that the family does not miss out, young fathers - even if they are working - can do a lot:

The father can relieve the young mother by helping with the household and getting up at night to help her breastfeed the baby.
At first he should be especially loving to the stressed young mother.
The partner should make it possible for the young mother to be alone at times - without a child and a father.
If it is financially feasible, you could hire a housekeeper. So you are both relieved.

Appointment "child"

Many fathers who devoted little attention to their offspring, especially in the beginning, regret it very much later. At some point they notice that they have missed irretrievable experiences and experiences. So that you don't feel like this, two conditions must be met: You want to get to know your child and your partner gives you the chance to do so. Some mothers take over all tasks from the fathers in the belief that they can do it much better anyway.

If both parents can take turns on parental leave, each of you experiences first-hand how your child is developing. But even if you as a father are away during the day, you can take care of many things: in the evening you change your child's nappy or bathe him. You are also in demand at night. You can bring your wife to bed when she is hungry, change her diaper at night or give her the bottle, pacifier or teddy bear.

The more you deal with your child, the more confident you become and the better you understand their needs. That makes you competent and proud.

Why don't you go to the children's gymnastics group, the crawling group, the play group or a children's birthday party with your child later. If nothing else is possible, use a flexible day for this, reduce overtime or take a day off. On such an opportunity you will learn a lot about your child, his friends and his life.

The new “late night show”

A major problem that unites all new parents is lack of sleep. The causer, the babies, are completely innocent, because they first have to find their day and night rhythm. And also that they get hungry every few hours and announce this out loud is completely normal. After all, until recently there was food in the womb around the clock.

Now your baby has to learn first that he should have his active phase during the day and his rest period at night. You can help him with that. Consciously change the atmosphere depending on the time of day. During the day the baby lies in the light. The room is not darkened for sleeping either. When he is awake, laugh and play with your baby. On the other hand, be much calmer and quieter with him at night, do not play with him and - if possible - avoid changing diapers at night. In this way, your child's nightly sleep phases will gradually lengthen.

Don't expect miracles. If a baby can go six to eight hours without a meal, that is considered to be sleeping through the night.

Many babies go through the night without a bottle or breast from around six months. However, this does not necessarily mean that the night will be quiet for you and the baby. Like adults, babies wake up every now and then. Calm babies go back to sleep alone. Others cry and shout because they cannot find their way back to sleep.

Learning objective "sleeping"

Some tips to help you and your child have a peaceful night:

  • Put your child in bed when they are really tired but still awake. Make sure you have a loving bedtime ritual every day, and then consistently get out of the room.
  • When your baby cries, comfort him, stroke him, take his hand, but don't keep taking him out of his bed.
  • During the day, give him the love and attention he needs. It should feel that you can be relied on and that it is not left alone.
  • Even if it is sometimes difficult: try to create a relaxed atmosphere. Your child feels negative moods and becomes even more nervous. In critical moments, it is better to take three deep breaths in the open window before turning to your child.
  • Some babies are afraid of the dark. In such a case, leave the door ajar or install a night light. A cuddly toy to cuddle with can also dispel fear.
  • Many parents mean it too well and wrap their children up thickly at night or turn on the heating. Make sure that the external conditions are right: The room temperature should be 18 degrees. Cover your child warmly, but not too thickly. Don't be alarmed by your baby's cold hands, this is perfectly normal. Measure the back of his neck with your hand. There you can feel whether your child is sweating or whether he is actually too cold.
  • In order to reduce your own sleep deficit every now and then, alternate with night care. At the weekend, the working partner can take on the night shift and possibly even sleep with the baby in a different room. If the baby is still breastfed, the mother can express milk before bed, which the father then feeds at night. You will see, a good night's sleep works wonders!

The bed is a place where your child should feel comfortable. This is the only way to fall asleep and sleep through the night. Therefore, do not let your child scream in it for minutes and do not use the bed as a punishment - according to the motto: "If you are not good, you go to bed".

Sexuality - there was something else ...

It's bewitched. If the waist circumference increases in the course of pregnancy, some couples no longer experience their sexuality as fulfilling. Now, after the delivery, your stomach is gone, but perhaps the well-known lust for each other may not really come into its own. The restless nights are certainly one of the reasons for this. Women in particular fall dead tired to bed in the evening - in their minds perhaps as soon as the next breastfeeding meal, which will soon rudely wake them up again. Men also have to get used to the new sleep rhythm, especially if they also look after their child at night. Many new parents are simply too tired to have sex.

But there are also other reasons why lust is a long time coming. Some women do not want to know anything about sex after giving birth, but long for warmth, tenderness and security. There are women who need a certain amount of time after the drastic experience of childbirth before they develop a good feeling for their body again: Perhaps they still feel rather misshapen or unattractive. But also pain, for example from a ruptured vagina or a perineal or caesarean section, is a burden. Added to this are the effects of the hormonal change after the birth. The changed estrogen level is one of the reasons that the vagina is extremely dry and painful intercourse can occur. Incidentally, the latter often leads to misunderstandings and mutual accusations.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, it is important that both partners know about the physical processes after the birth.

The men also have to find their way around the new situation first. Some withdraw because their wife is suddenly no longer just a lover, but also a mother. In this new role they first have to get to know and love their wife. This will need time.

Remain in conversation

As long as the weekly flow continues, the subject of sexual intercourse is taboo due to the risk of infection. Then each couple has to find out for themselves how they can develop lustful sexuality together again. Unfortunately, there are no general recommendations. But don't panic: your fear that the old feeling and the old lust may never come back is unfounded.Nevertheless, the first time requires a lot of patience - from both partners. The less you put yourself under pressure, the faster you will find your old intimacy. For most women, pleasure returns with the first period and / or weaning.

An important prerequisite - as in every area of ​​the relationship: the communication must be right. Talk to each other, state your needs and avoid misunderstandings. It is important that you look certain facts in the eye, do not look back sadly and, above all, trust that you will get through this dry spell with jointly practiced patience and understanding for one another. In terms of time, it only affects a small part of the entire partnership.

However, if serious difficulties arise and you cannot get out of the crisis on your own, talk to other parents who have just had children. Sometimes it helps to see that you are not alone and that your own fears and needs are completely normal. You can also go to a sex counseling center. Often it is possible to leave the well-worn tracks after just a few conversations. You can get addresses, for example, through word of mouth, from church and municipal institutions and from your health insurance company.


For nine months this matter didn’t matter. For this reason, some couples experienced their sexuality particularly pleasurably during pregnancy. After the birth, contraception becomes relevant again.

About eight weeks after giving birth, women who do not breastfeed will have their periods again. In breastfeeding women, this usually happens later. The reason: you have an increased level of prolactin in your blood. The hormone prolactin not only stimulates milk production, it can also prevent or at least delay ovulation. This is why the rumor persists that women cannot get pregnant while breastfeeding. But that is a dangerous fallacy. The effect of prolactin and its amount depends on various factors - including how hard the baby is sucking and how often it drinks. If the breaks between meals are too long - we are talking about a maximum of six hours - then the prolactin level drops. This can lead to ovulation and thus fertilization.

Research has shown that one in five breastfeeding women matured an egg in the first four weeks after giving birth. Contraception is therefore very important if you absolutely want to avoid a new pregnancy in the near future. It is not always possible to go back to the previous method of contraception. This is especially true if you are breastfeeding.

Take the pill, for example: some of the hormones in the pill pass into breast milk. According to the working group of independent breastfeeding groups, the test results vary between 0.02 and 0.1 percent. Even if that doesn't sound like much - keep in mind that your baby's metabolism is not yet fully developed. In addition, the hormones can negatively affect the composition of the milk.

The minipill, on the other hand, is recommended by the scientific advisory board of the German Medical Association as the “hormonal method of choice” because it does not impair stylistic performance. But here, too, you should bear in mind that the hormones pass into breast milk and their long-term effects on the newborn cannot yet be assessed.

If you decide to take the pill despite the above concerns, you should talk to your gynecologist about the advantages and disadvantages of this method of contraception. He or she may give you a low-hormone supplement and tell you when to start taking it.

Many women choose the copper spiral. It is inserted about eight weeks after delivery. The IUD is also suitable for women who are breastfeeding, because it has no consequences for breast milk. The same applies to the diaphragm or vaginal pessary. Since it only works locally, it is a suitable and absolutely harmless contraceptive for women who are breastfeeding. When deciding on a diaphragm, the first thing to do is to have it adjusted to the required size. Your gynecologist and employees of Pro Familia counseling centers or women's health centers will advise you. Make an appointment six to eight weeks after the birth. Only then will your body have regressed to such an extent that a diaphragm can be adapted.

Like the diaphragm, the condom also works locally. You can therefore also use it to prevent breastfeeding while breastfeeding.

If you are breastfeeding, you should choose a method of contraception that does not affect breast milk: copper coil, diaphragm, condom, NFP.

Many couples also choose NFP, natural family planning. It gives women the opportunity to get to know their bodies better. However, it also requires a responsible attitude from the partner. The principle of NFP is based on physical signs that change in the course of a cycle: the cervical mucus, i.e. the mucus on the cervix, and the body temperature are observed. With this data, you can determine your fertile and infertile days with great confidence. There are now small computers on the market that help couples with NFP.

However, NFP only works with a lot of discipline. Among other things, it is necessary that you always measure the temperature at a specific point in time. Short nights or an irregular daily routine - typical side effects of breastfeeding - influence the values ​​and their informative value. If you would like to know more about these and other contraceptive methods, you can find out more from your gynecologist, church counseling centers or family centers.

The ultimate contraception

Once their family planning is finally completed after the birth of the child, some couples also think of the ultimate in contraception: the sterilization of a partner. The simpler variant is sterilization of the man. The two vas deferens lying under the skin are cut through and tied off. After that, the sperm cells that are produced in the testicles no longer get into the vagina during ejaculation. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis - generally with local anesthesia. General anesthesia can also be performed on request.

The sterilization of the man does not affect his erectile function. In addition, men who undergo sterilization continue to have an “effusion” - just without semen.

The sterilization of the woman is more complex. It can be performed under general anesthesia but also on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia. Both fallopian tubes are closed or cut through so that the egg and sperm cell can no longer come together and fertilization is not possible. This intervention has no influence on the normal cycle. The woman continues to have her period. Sterilization is already possible in the puerperium. However, some doctors recommend not performing the operation until a few weeks after the birth because the tissue then heals better.

If you are interested in sterilization, ask your doctor for more details.

Back to the job

Many women want to go back to work despite having children. Some earlier, some later. Be it in order not to lose touch, to supplement the family budget or to feel the challenge of the job. Perhaps it is also important to you to have external contacts, to feel recognition and self-affirmation or to regain a piece of independence?

During parental leave, you can work for your old employer for up to 30 hours a week. In companies with more than 15 employees, you are entitled to part-time work if there are no urgent operational reasons to the contrary in individual cases. The childcare allowance is paid based on income.

If you and your partner are working, that means a lot of organization for both of you. It is essential for everyone involved - including the child - to live well with it. If you work away from home, the first requirement is of course that your child is well accommodated during your absence (more on this in the child day care section). The next step is to clarify who takes on which tasks, who bears which responsibility and what happens if someone is prevented from doing so. Be honest with each other and check whether you and your partner really want and can take on the work mentioned in the long term - this applies in particular to housework. If necessary, check whether you can afford domestic help for a few hours two to three times a month. Because the time you spend together is even shorter.

... No to perfection

Perhaps it will help if you lower your standards a little. Women in particular tend to want to do everything perfectly. If you try to do justice to your child, partner, job and household in equal measure, you are annoyed, you become dissatisfied easily and you feel guilty. If you know that, think carefully about what responsibility you can give up. Who does the weekly shopping for you, who takes care of the warm food? Who stays with the child when they are sick, who goes to the pediatrician with them? Bring these topics up to your partner if you feel like everything is over your head. Don't give up if you can't find a solution to every problem right away. Only when both partners pull in the same direction can a man and woman's job function properly.

Sometimes “modern home work” is also recommended. Thanks to the new communication technologies, many tasks can be done from home. However, if you choose to do this, you should be aware that it doesn't necessarily mean less stress. Many people do not have as much clear head at home as they do in the office, because household and work can easily mix. In addition, you are likely to work in a fairly isolated manner - with no major external contacts except for the telephone. Still, this can be an interesting alternative.

If you don't want to work regularly, ask your old boss if you can take on vacation or sick leave. In this way you can keep in touch with old colleagues and keep up to date. You can use this opportunity to try out how you can cope with the double burden, how the division of labor works at home and, of course, how your child can cope with this step. Working mothers in particular often have a bad conscience when they leave their child in someone else's hands. They fear that they will not be able to adequately control and watch their child develop. Of course, your child shouldn't suffer from the absence of both parents. You should therefore observe how your child reacts and, if possible, make the nature and extent of your work on parental leave dependent on it.

Postnatal exercise

During pregnancy, your body works at its best. The entire organism adjusts itself to the impending birth. Once the baby arrives, your organs have to rebuild, muscles strengthened and stretched skin layers tightened. Postgraduate gymnastics helps with this.

Some women think of postnatal gymnastics as a type of aerobics for new mothers. A big mistake, because this is not about sweaty sport on the way to the dream figure. Postgraduate gymnastics means gentle, sometimes barely visible movements that help the body to find its way back into its old form. Accordingly, the parts that were particularly stressed by pregnancy and childbirth are trained. Above all the pelvic floor muscles. This muscle block unites the entire sphincter muscles of the intestine, the bladder and the vagina. At birth, the entire pelvic floor is overstretched. Not only the vagina, but also the bladder and intestinal muscles are affected. Perhaps you have already felt the consequences if you have involuntarily lost urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing after giving birth or during pregnancy. Targeted exercises after the birth should help to strengthen the pelvic floor again as quickly as possible. This will prevent urinary and, under certain circumstances, intestinal incontinence. Postural gymnastics is also important so that the vagina and uterus return to their original place in the body.

During pregnancy, hormones ensured that the tissue became supple and the muscles stretched. After the delivery, this relaxation continues for about six months. In addition, other hormones are released during breastfeeding, which also cause the tissue to remain soft. Nevertheless, you should start postnatal exercise as early as possible.

If you have a perineal or caesarean section, ask your doctor when you can start postnatal exercise and which exercises are allowed.

In general, you can start on the third day after the delivery. Most clinics already offer postnatal exercises. These are gentle, barely visible movements and breath perception. Women who have given birth after a caesarean section learn there exercises that stimulate the circulation and prevent thrombosis.

Postural gymnastics is more fun in a group. Therefore, find out where appropriate courses are available in your area (for example, in midwifery practices, in mothers' centers, at family education centers). Babies can be brought along in many courses. Sometimes baby care is also provided. There you will learn exercises that you can do at home. Because it is important that you consistently plan a few minutes for this every day. This works best if you incorporate practice into your daily routine.

Nine months

Even if you do intense postnatal exercise, don't expect miracles. It took your body nine months to establish and carry the pregnancy to term. Now the traces do not disappear within a few weeks. A rule of thumb is that it takes the body nine months to get everything back to normal. Maybe some parts of the body will never look the same as they used to, and maybe even the tight jeans will never fit the way they did before the birth, but you did something overwhelming for that: you gave birth to a child!

As soon as the breastfeeding phase is over, you can go back to intensive sports. This is not only good for the figure, but also for the psyche.


Barmer and More Time for Children e.V. (Ed.): Being parents - the first years. Ideas, information and health tips for the young family. 2nd edition 2002

The book is available for EUR 9.20 from Mehr Zeit für Kinder e.V ..

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Created on March 27, 2003, last changed on March 23, 2010