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New Mom Entourage

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The hands-on hubby: Ladies, take note: When we have babies, some of us have a tendency to go all mama bear and hover protectively over our spawn 24/7. We assume there's precisely one way to parent: Ours. (“Hold her this way.” “Rock her, don't bounce her.” Any of this ringing a faint bell?) While wanting to do best by your baby is admirable, oftentimes it pushes your partner right out of the picture. “When all he hears is what he's doing wrong, eventually he'll get discouraged and give up,” Douglas explains. In the long run, letting dad make his own way in his new role will make everyone happier. And anyway, who crowned you the final decision-making expert? Being partners means figuring it out together as you go.

The thorough-but-mellow pediatrician: Well, there has to be somebody who doesn't freak out when the baby gets a pea stuck in her nose (and it won't be you, mom). Douglas' advice: Talk to your friends and stockpile recommendations. “The learning curve is pretty steep when you have a new baby,” she adds. “You want to find a pediatrician who won't be annoyed by 25 panic calls in the first month, one who will say, ‘Relax, most kids get baby acne at some point.’”

The enterprising sister (or sister-in-law): Face it, new babies sleep a lot. If you're going to have a house guest during this period, it might as well be someone industrious. My older sister spent the first (sleepy) week of my daughter's life painstakingly organizing 30-plus years of my photos into matching albums. “As soon as your baby arrives, you'll have a list of jobs you may not be able to get to for the next year — or 10,” maintains Douglas. The only down-side to having an extra set of hands is that they eventually go home.

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