Adjusting to Life with a Newborn – for Dads
Welcoming a new little one into your life is a wonderful and exciting time. Becoming a dad will likely be one of the biggest and most life-changing moments that you experience. And that can be a bit overwhelming. So how do you embrace your new life as a father from day one?
Well here are a few tips to help get you started:
1. Start being involved in your baby’s care from the very beginning.
Whether it’s changing your baby’s diapers, settling her down, bathing her, or dressing your baby for the day, taking on some of the daily tasks with your baby will help build your confidence and deepen your bond with your little one.
2. Learn how to read your baby’s cues.
Babies give signals to what they need or want through their body language, crying, and behavior. As you really pay attention to your precious little one, over time you will become better and better at figuring out what your baby needs.
3. Bond with your newborn through touch.
It is important for babies to feel safe and secure, and physical touch builds that trust and helps your baby to feel safe and connected to you. It also helps stimulate your baby’s brain development, and your baby will love when you hold her to your chest so she can hear your heartbeat.
4. Talk to your baby.
Your baby loves to hear your voice and every word he hears will help develop his language and learning. You can talk to him while you are changing him, or carrying him, or tell him stories and read books.
5. Help with breastfeeding.
Though this might seem like an impossible area for you to provide help, it’s not. Your support of your partner as she learns and navigates breastfeeding is incredibly important. Encouraging her in the process, and helping her to know that it is okay to reach out for additional support if or when she needs it will go a long way in comforting her and helping her.
6. Take care of your relationship with your partner.
A new baby — and the sleepless nights that come with your little one — can put added strain on your relationship with your partner. Make sure to support each other and keep a positive attitude as much as possible as you navigate life with a newborn and learn to parent together. Simply asking your partner how she is doing lets her know that you care. It is also important to understand one another’s expectations to avoid misunderstandings.
7. Make sure you have one-on-one time with your baby.
Whether you’re making faces at each other, or snuggling with your baby, or reading a story, one-on-one time will give you both the chance to bond with each other.
8. Be willing to ask for or accept help from others.
If you don’t know how to do something, don’t be afraid to ask someone. And it is okay to say ‘Yes!’ if someone asks if there is anything they can do to help. Whether it is simple things or big things, work with your partner to figure out how and when you’ll accept help from friends, family, neighbors or colleagues. Having a postpartum doula is an invaluable help and support for your family.
9. Look after your own well-being.
If you are doing well, you will be better able to take care of your baby and encourage and support your partner. Make healthy lifestyle choices and try to get sleep and rest when you can.
10. Invest in your family with a postpartum doula.
You and your partner will benefit richly from investing in having a postpartum doula. She can help you learn how to read your baby’s cues, answer your questions as they arise, and help make your transition to life with your newborn as smooth as possible. Contact us today to find out more!
Whether your baby is here or you are excitedly anticipating his or her arrival, we hope these tips will give you some practical ways to grow in your new role as a father and to support your spouse.