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Image courtesy of Affinity Health

Seven tips for dads on how to play an active role in caring for the new baby right from birth.

Caring for a newborn is a demanding, tiring and emotionally fraught task that mostly falls on the mom’s shoulders, but these seven tips for dads can get their baby-care skills into action and give mom the necessary support.

“Stepping into the role of a new dad is exciting, daunting and a little terrifying all at the same time,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“As a new father, you play a crucial role in your child’s upbringing and in supporting your baby and partner during the early weeks. By actively caring for your new baby and providing emotional support to your partner, you contribute to a positive and nurturing environment for your growing family.”

Also read our DIY Baby Plan For Dads article.

Seven tips for dads to help care for their newborn

  1. Share the night-time duties

One of the most challenging aspects of caring for a newborn is the frequent night-time waking. Both you and your partner are likely to experience sleep deprivation, making it crucial to share the night-time duties. Consider taking turns to handle night-time feedings, nappy changes and soothing the baby back to sleep. This helps both parents get the rest they need.

  1. Be Involved in feeding

If your partner is breastfeeding, you can still participate in the feeding process. Support your partner by preparing a comfortable feeding environment, providing water and snacks and offering emotional support. Consider giving your baby an occasional bottle of pumped breast milk or formula to allow your partner some relief and give you valuable bonding with your baby.

Find out more about breastfeeding here.

  1. Master nappy changes

Changing nappies may be a messy business, but it is an essential part of newborn care. Learn and practise the proper techniques for nappy changing.. Keep a well-stocked nappy changing station with nappies, wipes and spare clothes within easy reach. This hands-on task helps lighten your partner’s load and affords you quality time with your baby.

  1. Offer emotional support

The postpartum period can be emotionally challenging for new moms. Hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and the demands of caring for a newborn can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress. As a new dad, offering emotional support is essential. Listen to your partner’s feelings and concerns, provide reassurance and be empathetic. Simple gestures of affection, hugs and kind, encouraging words will comfort your partner during this time.

  1. Take on household chores

With a new baby in the home and amount of time required to ensure their optimal care, household chores can quickly pile up. To alleviate stress on your partner, take on additional home responsibilities. This includes cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping. Sharing the household duties allows your partner more time to bond with the baby and gives her time to rest and recover from the birth.

  1. Learn about infant care

Infant care can be daunting, especially for first-time parents. Educate yourself about newborn care by reading books, taking parenting classes or seeking advice from experienced parents. Understanding infant sleep patterns, breastfeeding and development can help you feel more confident and capable. Additionally, attend medical appointments with your partner and baby to stay informed about their health and wellbeing.

  1. Prioritise self-care

Caring for a newborn can be all-consuming, but both parents must prioritise self-care. As a new dad, caring for your physical and mental wellbeing is crucial for supporting your partner and baby. Find time to relax and engage in activities you enjoy, and maintain open communication with your partner about your needs and feelings. A well-rested and emotionally balanced dad is better equipped to handle the challenges of parenthood.

Bonus tip: create quality bonding time

In addition to the essential parenting tasks, creating quality bonding time with your baby is vital. Engage in activities like reading books, singing lullabies, and playing gentle games with your little one.

Read our article on how dads can build bonds by reading with their children.

Kangaroo care – skin-to-skin contact – with your baby held against your bare chest can also promote bonding and comfort for you and your baby.

By following these seven tips for dads, you can make the arrival of and care for your new baby a less daunting and wonderful bonding experience for all.