Congratulations, you’re a father! Now what?
If you are a new dad in the early days of fatherhood, you might be looking for tips and advice about the early days of having a newborn. Here is part three of our new dad survival guide, with advice for new fathers on the early days, and smiling through lack of sleep.
Be Involved With Your Newborn From The Start
One of the best ways to bond with your newborn is to be as involved with their care as much possible, right from the start. Change nappies, change their clothes, hold them, sing to them, and soothe them. While it might seem that nothing is more terrifying than trying to grapple a tiny baby in and out of a tiny babygro, it soon becomes less scary.
Help Support Your Partner With Breastfeeding
If your partner wants to breastfeed, there are lots of ways in which you can support her and bond with the baby at the same time.
Read our post on 10 ways to help support a new mum with breastfeeding for advice and ideas.
Look After Your Partner As Well As The Baby
Giving birth and the early days of parenting can be an emotional time, especially as the enormity of the task at hand sets in. Make sure as well taking care of the baby, you look after and support your partner too, both physically and emotionally, from making all the meals through to being a shoulder to cry on. It is normal for women to experience an emotional rollercoaster after giving birth but help her to seek help from her doctor or midwife if she does not feel better soon.
Be Prepared To Feel Emotional
Having a baby is a huge life change that can surface lots of emotions, especially if you are tired! It is normal for you to feel emotional too.
Help Everyone To Have Some Sleep
While new babies can sleep a lot, they also wake up a lot, and it can be a shock to find your normal sleep schedule of several uninterrupted hours a night goes out of the window. Take it in turns to hold the baby and try to make sure everyone naps when the baby does – or take it in turns to nap during the day. Everything will seem a lot brighter when you have some sleep.
Accept That New Parenting Might Be Challenging
Having a newborn can be incredibly rewarding but being a new dad can also be hard. It is not just you; it takes most people time to adjust and accept the enormity of their new responsibility.
Wear Your Baby
New babies like being held, a lot. Babywearing – where you ‘wear’ your baby in a sling or harness – is increasingly popular as it means your baby will be soothed by being close to you but allows you to have two free hands. There is no reason that dads cannot get involved too.
Look For New Baby Groups
It can be a helpful experience to find a new baby group, or a group of new parents to meet up with to share experiences and stories and support each other. This is just as helpful for dads, too, so do not think these groups and meet-ups do not apply to you.
Make A Will
Although it sounds morbid, making a will is something everyone should think about as a new dad, specifically as you now have a child. Your will should specify who should have responsibility for your children, should anything happen to you. And once it is done, it is sorted.
Think About Childcare
Although it might seem like your tiny new baby will be that small forever, at some point it is likely that you will need childcare if you are both working. Childcare is the responsibility for both of you, and it’s important to note that some nurseries have long waiting lists, sometimes up to a year, and so you’ll need to visit your local ones and put your name down on the list.