New dads are equally important when it comes to taking care of the newborn baby. It can be a scary and challenging time for both parents, especially if this is their first child together. I will share some tips for the newborn dad in this blog post.
Two years ago when we brought our baby daughter home from the hospital, my husband and I looked at each other other.
We were responsible for this little baby.
In reality, do we even know what we’re doing?
Eventually we figured out how to take care of our baby through the late nights and early mornings. We realized that with consistency and the willingness to try different things, I as the mom feel a lot better and more confident in taking care of our child.
Whether this is your first child or maybe you had a big gap between your children, there are some helpful tips for you.
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- Here are 8 newborn tips for dad:
- 1. Special bonding time by bottle feeding the baby
- 2. Participate in bath time
- 3. Understand that your wife’s focus is on the baby at the moment
- 4. Don’t be afraid to change diapers
- 5. Have a support system with other dads
- 6. Open communication is best
- 7. Choose a time that is just for you and baby
- 8. Know that you are in the process of learning
Here are 8 newborn tips for dad:
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1. Special bonding time by bottle feeding the baby
There’s something special about being able to feed the baby. As for dads, you can have this special bonding time by feeding the baby with a bottle whether with pumped milk or formula.
When you feed the baby, it gives the mom some time to rest or to do things that needed to be done.
When K, my daughter, was a baby, my husband would give her a bottle at night before she sleeps. He would work during the day and when he comes home, he has that special time with her.
If you are worried about carrying and feeding the baby at the same time, use a breastfeeding pillow to support your arms. This will ensure that the baby’s head is supported well and your arms will be comfortable carrying your baby.
Remember to burp the baby after each feeding session and use a burp cloth to protect your clothes if necessary.
2. Participate in bath time
Another wonderful way to spend time with the baby is during bath time.
I would recommend for the both of you to do this together as it will be much easier with two people than one.
We would give my newborn daughter a bath in this whale bathtub. My husband would help support her head while we gave her a bath.
He would talk to her and make faces. She would respond. It’s a really cute sight!
Bath time is great for you as the newborn dad to help keep the baby clean.
3. Understand that your wife’s focus is on the baby at the moment
After the baby is born, your wife is going to focus on the baby. Similarly, your baby might only want to be with their mother.
Know that it will be a new normal where you might be playing the assistant role for a bit.
If something needs to get done, you can take the initiative to do it. Perhaps it is cooking a meal or doing laundry.
Certain things might not get done. That is okay, you’ll have to accept that you have a new normal now and that priorities might be different.
However, communication is key so that both you and your wife understands the current situation you are facing and compromising so that everyone’s needs are met (mostly). I’ll talk more about this in a later point.
4. Don’t be afraid to change diapers
Changing diapers is not the most glamorous thing, but it’s something that we all parents need to learn to do.
The goal is to change the diaper before the baby pees or poops in it before the end of the changing session.
It’s okay if you get peed or poop on.
Poop explosions does happen, even with a really good diaper. It can go up their back into the onesie.
Be prepared that it can get messy, but by the end of the first few, you’ll feel accomplished!
My husband and I made a game where we put the diaper bin on the other side of the room. If the diaper is not full of poop (we flush them down the toilet), we’ll wrap it up nicely and try to ‘score’ by throwing the diaper (like a basketball) into the bin.
It’s a lot harder than it looks as each diaper has a different weight.
You can make it like a game with a reward at the end. It could be some alone time, a massage, or a choice of takeout.
This can get competitive as the person who changes the diaper will get to throw it into the bin.
5. Have a support system with other dads
It is so important to have a support system as a newborn dad. Whether that is having friends who are experience dads themselves, or an online community where you can ask questions.
Surrounding yourself with people who you trust and get their opinions on what they did, whether about sleep training, diaper changing, or any other dad related matter.
There are also some great dad channels on YouTube that you can check out. Feel free to follow them and hit them up with questions if you feel comfortable to do so.
Another option that you can get out are Mommy forums such as Baby Center (which I personally use) and see what people are saying. You can choose the specific month and year when your baby is born and see what other parents are struggling with. Oftentimes, there are suggestions given so that might be helpful to you too.
6. Open communication is best
This is so important for both parents, not just one or the other.
Talk to one another throughout the day and check in on each other.
Whenever you or your partner feels frustrated about something, talk it out. It is better to figure out a compromise or a solution than waiting for the situation to become worse.
Things run a lot smoother when both of you know what is happening with each other, the baby, and your life together.
Here are some things that my husband and I talked about when our baby was a newborn:
- Creating a bedtime routine
- What happens when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night? at 3 a.m.? at 5 a.m.?
- Me having anxiety especially at night (not sure if it’s postpartum anxiety)
- What are we having for meals?
- Preparing formula in case the baby gets hungry at night (use a flask and formula dispenser)
Check-in periodically with one another. Do not assume that if nothing is said, that your partner is fine.
7. Choose a time that is just for you and baby
As a newborn dad, choose a time that you can spend with your baby by yourself.
It can be after the baby is fed and changed, or whenever you feel most comfortable.
Here are some activities you can do with your baby:
- Watch them while they do tummy time (be a distraction if they feel discomfort)
- Read a book while they rest on you
- Sing to them your favorite song
- Take them on a walk around the neighborhood (either in your baby carrier or in your stroller)
- Show them different black and white flash cards
You do not need to spend a whole hour, maybe start small with 5 to 10 minutes. When you feel more comfortable, then take them a little longer. Your wife will have some time by themselves to rest and recharge. It’s a win-win for the both of you.
8. Know that you are in the process of learning
Parenthood does not come with a manual.
Yes, there are a lot of books out there for you the newborn dad, but your child is unique.
We are all trying to figure out what works and what does not. Also, when something works, it might change again tomorrow.
Know that you are learning and constantly adapting to what it means to be your child’s parent. That is perfectly normal.
Take it one day at a time and rest when you can. We are in our own journey figuring out what it means to be the best parents that we can be to our children.
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