Written by: Shani Fowler
I thought for this article that it would be prudent to consult with my husband and see what his thoughts were, what inspirational tips he could give a new dad. He said to make sure you are out of the way as much as possible and pretend to be asleep for the night feeds. I knew he wasn’t asleep!! Unsurprisingly, as insightful as he thinks he is, that is not the angle I have gone for. Instead I have found some helpful tips to share. Have a look at my top five tips for dads after the birth.
Firstly – help round the house
Quite often the mother takes the lead role in the day to day caring for the baby and especially if she is breastfeeding, a lot of time is consumed in this. Remember your partner has just gone through nine months of pregnancy and then given birth and may feel totally overwhelmed. Although new dads are involved in caring for the baby too, they need to help in other areas of domesticity. Whilst the mum is busy, help out as much as you can – the housework won’t do itself you know! Get the vacuum out, flick the duster round, clean the bathroom. Yes that container by the toilet contains a brush to clean it with!
Secondly – don’t compete
Having a new born is extremely demanding, more than you can imagine. You are both exhausted; sleep deprivation is terribly hard to cope with. But it’s not a competition for the coveted title of “most tired parent.” Accept that you are both very tired, show understanding. Suggest taking turns to catch up on a bit of sleep; little power naps can really help relieve the exhaustion and calm the spirit. You’re in it together – be the team not the rival.
Thirdly – communicate
Make sure you communicate. You used to communicate before the little one arrived and now it’s even more important. Many times people can get a little lost in all the tasks, routine and work involved. Check your partner is coping; make sure she is eating properly. Encourage her to let you know if she could do with some more help. Communication is in the body language too; if your partner is not saying anything read what her body is saying.
Fourthly – the name’s Bond
Humans are hard-wired to care for each other – not all animals do this. It’s true to say that mothers usually have that natural instinct to bond and nurture but what fathers may not have instinctually they can certainly develop. Studies have shown that when parents and babies interact the emotional part of the brain adjusts and attune to each other providing a strong bond and harmony which can last a life time. Spend as much time you can with your baby, make sure there is plenty of eye contact, holding and cuddling and loving them.
And last but not least – enjoy it
There is no doubt that having a new born is hard work. Relationships can be tested but don’t forget to enjoy it, cherish the time. Babies soon grow up and you’ll be left wondering where the time went. Make sure that when you look back it is with great fondness and not something you managed to stumble through and now you’re glad it’s over.
It may be tiring and testing but having children is the most rewarding life event. It is important to ensure you bond with your child and bring them up to the best of your ability, but it’s also important to make sure you and your partner enjoy it. You have a new responsibility and family unit now, life has changed forever but so much for the better.