Often it can feel to new dads that all the focus is on mums and that you’re expected to figure it all out by yourselves. Dads are just as important as mums though and if you want to find out more about everything you need to know, there are a few great sources of information you can try, and we have some great tips to make things a little bit easier.
The first thing you can do is to ask the staff at the hospital to teach you how to perform tasks like bathing, swaddling, and changing your baby. New babies can be scary, particularly because they’re so tiny, and learning from professionals can really help to give you confidence.
Another good piece of advice is to get involved as early as possible. Even if you’re scared to hold or handle your baby, you’ll be surprised to find that you have a natural instinct for it. Plus, the sooner you get involved with your child, the sooner you will bond.
When it comes to your wife or partner you need to be patient and supportive. Remember that she’s been through months of pregnancy, the pain and exhaustion that comes with childbirth and is coping with breastfeeding and other demands. You need to be there for her and put her first, even if you’ve had a long day at work – after all, she’s been through, and is going through, a lot worse than that!
Avoid interference from relatives and friends. Even if their advice is well meaning, your mother, mother-in-law, sister and cousin may just be making finding your own way as a family more difficult. They could also be causing a rift between you and your partner that you may not notice. Focus on yourself, your partner, your baby and your new family and you should be fine. Also don’t let well intentioned family members or your partner sideline you. You are involved, since you’re the dad, and you have a right to spend time with, take care of and be involved with your baby.
Accept that frustration is a part of every new parent’s life. This is especially true for first time dads. Just breathe and take it one step at a time and you should be okay. Patience is key so don’t let frustration cause you to lose your temper.
Get out of the house a little too. Spending the first few weeks and months of your child’s life stuck in your house isn’t good for you, your partner or your child. It’s easy to go out with your child if you have a portable baby carrier so plan trips out whenever possible.
When you do spend time with your newborn, remember that eye contact is one of the most important parts of bonding. Making spending time with your baby every day a priority not only helps you to bond with him or her, but also makes all the frustration, sleepless nights and more worthwhile.
Finally, when it all feels like it’s getting too much for you, remember that your child won’t be a newborn forever and whatever is getting you down now will be forgotten in a few months or years. In fact, children grow up so fast that you want to enjoy every minute of them!