Top Tips for a Dad Caring for a Newborn Baby
At Dadvengers, we know that as a dad caring for a newborn baby, there is so much to think about. Also dads sometimes worry about feeling like a spare part. In fact, we hear this from a lot of dads when they're preparing for a new baby. But we're here to let you know, it doesn't have to be this way! There are lots of ways for dad to get involved in caring for a newborn baby - here are just a few.
Get Involved in the Practical Side of Caring for Your Newborn Baby
Getting involved in physically caring for your baby will not only help them get to know you and increase your skills. It also helps you form that all important bond with your baby. Start as soon as you can, and do as much as you can. After the birth, you can have some skin to skin time with your new baby. This is really comforting for the baby, and gives you time to hold and talk to them.
Once they're home, you have so many more opportunities to get involved as a dad caring for a newborn baby. The average newborn goes through 12-14 nappies a day! Everyone is time you can share with them. Bath time is also a great thing you can get involved with as a dad. Again these create opportunities to talk to your child, sing to them, or just make silly faces and sounds! It is an opportunity for them to hear your voice and keep getting to know you more.
The more you can do, the better it will be for your bond. There are loads of great tips on bonding with your newborn available online.
Pregnancy and labour can be physically and mentally exhausting for a mum. She's going to need more support after the birth and this is where you can help. As well as physically caring for your baby, you can also make sure you are helping with the running of your household. For something so small, your newborn baby will create a lot of washing! Putting a wash on while mum feeds the baby can be really helpful. Making a list of all the things your partner usually does, and trying to do more of them is a good way to support mum.
Then there is the physical side of supporting mum. This is even more important if your partner has had a c-section. This is major surgery and the recovery can be tough. Just being aware of what your partner might need will help - if they're feeding the baby, try to help get the things they might want or need nearby. A drink, a snack, the burping cloth. You are the right hand man here!
Sleep When You Can
We've all heard the old adage "sleep when baby sleeps". As unrealistic as that sounds, it is based in good advice! A lack of sleep will get to you quickly so we need to try and avoid the exhaustion setting in! When we don't get enough sleep we don't make good decisions. The smallest of things can cause us to lose our patience. So although sleeping when the baby sleeps might not be practical, it is a good idea to get some sleep in where you can.
Talk to your partner and try to devise a schedule of when you can both get some sleep. Maybe you could take on night feeds and sleep in the next morning? Or you agree that you'll not do night feeds because you're back at work, but you'll do more in the evenings when you get home so that mum can get some rest. However it works best for you and your family is the right way to do it. But whatever you do, make sure you're all getting those much needed naps in!
Take As Much Time Off as You Can Afford
Two weeks of paternity leave will fly by, and you'll be heading back to work very quickly. Although there are some companies that offer extended paternity leave, this isn't as common as we would like it to be. So if extended paternity leave or shared parental leave isn't an option, you can try a few other ways to get more time with your baby.
Try to book some annual leave to take at the end of your paternity. If you can take 2 weeks off, you'll get a month at home. Or, if your job is flexible and allows you to work from home, maybe you could try doing that too. It can be distracting working at home with a newborn, but it will mean you're able to take more time to bond with your baby, and to support mum. The best thing to do is have a conversation with your management at work early in the pregnancy. Understanding exactly what leave you're entitled to from the company, and how flexible they'll be when you get back to work will be really helpful.
Don't Forget To Look After Yourself
Being a dad caring for a newborn baby can be tough. You need to make sure you're looking after yourself too. You should also find time to do the things you enjoy and give yourself a break when you can. Keep communication open with your partner so that you're both getting what you need. Exercise is great for looking after yourself, and you can incorporate the baby into that too! Heading out for a walk with the baby in a carrier, or the pram, will help you get the endorphins you need and it can help your baby sleep better.
Another great way to look after yourself is by ensuring you have support from other dads. Making connections with people who know what you're experiencing can be really helpful as a new dad.
Prepare to be a Dad Caring For A Newborn Baby With The Dadvengers New Dads Course
These are just some of the topics we cover on the Dadvengers New Dads Course. It's a 4 week online course we have created specifically to help you prepare for fatherhood. We cover all the important topics you need, from practical tips, to being emotionally and mentally prepared for fatherhood. All the dads who've done the course so far have told us they feel better prepared after doing the course! And we want to bring that to you too. Don't hesitate to get in touch and find out more.
Plus Dadvengers will be at The Baby Show and we'll be offering an exclusive discount on our New Dads Course - so make sure you come and find us there!
Nigel will also be speaking on the Live Talks Stage on Saturday 15th April on Becoming a Dad: Preparing for Fatherhood at The Baby Show with LidlGB at Manchester Central.