A new dad's Q&A
How can I afford a baby? And when can we have sex again? Expert answers to the questions new fathers ask most.
I humbly ask your forgiveness for what I’m about to do. I’m about to break the No. 1 rule of being a man: Thou shalt not ask for directions.
I have a good excuse. Perhaps like you, I’ve just become a dad for the first time. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there on how to be a father. It’s not like you can go down to the local Home Depot and sign up for a fatherhood demonstration. (Noon: how to shim an entry door; 1 p.m.: how to mix grout; 2 p.m.: how to change diapers like the pros.) So I took my questions to baby experts, and here’s what I found out.
Isn’t it expensive to have a baby?
It can be. Before you begin your family, figure out your financial priorities. Certain expenses, such as health care and diapers, are a must; others, such as a bigger house and a designer baby wardrobe, aren’t.
Breastfeeding is one way to cut costs. Another is getting hand-me-downs and shopping at yard sales and discount or resale shops. (Just make sure the things you buy meet current safety standards.) But the real key to saving money is to avoid impulse buying. Write down what you absolutely need and stick to that list.
—Eric Tyson, San Francisco-based financial counselor and author of
Personal Finance for Dummies (IDG Books Worldwide, 2nd edition, 1998)
When can we have sex again?
Usually it’s safe to have sex six weeks after delivery. However, if your wife had a vaginal delivery, the area may still be tender, especially if she also had an episiotomy or suffered any tearing. And if she’s nursing, hormonal changes may make the vaginal tissue more delicate or drier than before delivery. If she had a Cesarean, keep in mind that it’s major surgery, and she’ll need time to recuperate. Her abdominal area may be particularly sore.
In any case, be gentle and use her comfort level as a guide. Try new positions — maybe have her lie on her side — to see if that alleviates any discomfort. But don’t be surprised if she’s not interested in sex right away. She’s going through a number of hormonal changes. She’s also taking care of a newborn, so she’s tired.
In the meantime, try other ways of being intimate. There’s more to sex than having intercourse. Ask her what you could do to make her feel good, such as setting a romantic mood, caressing her and telling her she’s beautiful. You can spark her interest in having sex again.
— Allan Lichtman, M.D., ob-gyn in private practice in Tarzana, Calif.
Can I taste the breast milk?