If you’re reading this post, you’re probably either about to become a parent or already rocking your new Daddy status. Congratulations!
Becoming a dad can be an incredibly magical and rewarding time, but likewise, a very intense period.
As a new parent, you may be under pressure to feel how you are ‘supposed to feel’. Sleep is at an all-time low, anxiety is right up, and emotions are flying all over. It will be overwhelming.
Feeling pushed out as a dad
You may feel like the secondary parent, particularly in the newborn days.
If your partner is breastfeeding, you’re probably left taking care of household tasks like nappy changing, washing, cleaning, and cooking.
Notably, remember that Mum had a bit of a head start.
Biologically, mums are programmed through their pregnancies and hormones to respond to their new baby.
Your partner might naturally know when the baby is due a feed, and she may feel that something isn’t right. She may also be more comfortable taking charge of the baby’s care.
However, babies don’t follow a rule book, and therefore you’ll both wing it at times. Nonetheless, many mums say that they have an in-built ‘mother’s instinct’ that can help guide their decisions.
You are not written off, though; Dads still play an essential role in pregnancy, birth, and caring for their babies.
How a dad can help during newborn days
Regardless of how the baby is delivered, there is still a recovery period.
Make the most of any time off work. Paternity leave allows for getting to know the baby and its routines, and helps mum recover.
Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks. Be a supportive partner and reassure Mum that she’s doing a great job.
Furthermore, as the one who isn’t experiencing physical changes and hormonal surges, you might see situations more clearly. Never underestimate the value of this clarity!
Picking up the ‘to do’ list
Whilst mum is busy, exhausted or resting, dads can pick up extra slack in household chores.
Take control of the food shopping, cook meals, wash up, do the laundry etc. Dads can even make a head start on thank you notes. All of these will feel like a massive contribution.
Dads should always be responsible for keeping mums fed and hydrated, too, particularly when breastfeeding.
When sleep deprivation has taken over, take on the job of fielding visitors. Manage how many people can meet the new baby so that it’s not too much.
Dads are also often best placed to seek help, be it from family and friends or medical professionals.
Bonding with your baby
Just because a mum may be doing the lion’s share of childcare, dads can still bond with a baby.
Where possible, feeding can provide an opportunity to spend some quiet, one-on-one time together. Skin-to-skin enhances the experience for both of you too.
Be more hands-on with the everyday tasks such as bathing, nappy changing, and dressing baby to build confidence. Being involved helps you develop an intuition for the baby’s needs and learn their cues or signals.
Whilst taking on these tasks, talk to your baby. Babies pick up on words very early on to help develop language and learning. It is, therefore, never too early to read to a baby either, and this aids bonding too.
Look after yourself
Dads need to remember that men can also suffer postnatal depression and anxiety following the arrival of a new baby. It’s important to share feelings and worries and ask for help. Perhaps a grandparent could come over to watch the baby whilst both parents rest or drop off some batch-cooked meals ready for the freezer.
Remember, most people are happy to help, so just ask!
EFFORTLESS FOLDING • SMART & STYLISH
Enjoy the feeling of freedom and family with the didofy range