Monday, 10 June 2013 12:09

Five baby care tips for expectant fathers

It’s a scary time when you discover you’re going to be a Dad. Your life is going to change. Here’s some tips on what to expect. And how to cope. Share the joy and the pain. Mum may be the star of the show but expectant Dads play a vital support role. Share the joy by feeling and talking to baby in the tummy. Pay attention at the pre-natal classes so that you know what is happening during pregnancy and childbirth. Be sure to catch the moods of your partner and lighten
the load whenever needed. Talk to each other and to the experts. Some expectant Dads even claim to experience the symptoms of pregnancy – sickness, tummy pains, food cravings, mood swings. Whatever your personal reaction, remember that you’re in it together.

Bond with your baby Apart from giving birth and breastfeeding, looking after baby is a partnership. Bathing, playing, feeding, nappy changing, cuddling, sleep time, dressing – Dad can do all these aspects of baby care. It’s a great way for Dad to bond with baby. And it’s a great way to give Mum a break. Or of course it can be a shared experience. If you can, take paternal leave or holiday so that you can be at home for the first few weeks to share in this most important time with your newborn.

Bond with your partner Pregnancy and baby care can be a stressful time. Dad’s support role before the birth and after includes treating your partner as a woman as well as a Mum. Give Mum a break by taking your fair share of baby duties. Do the shopping. Cook a meal. Go out together with baby to a restaurant. Remember that not everything should revolve around baby. You are still a loving couple and still loving each other as individuals. Make sure you talk about things other than baby. If you can, take time out as a couple.

Stay calm When your partner first tells you you’re going to be a Dad, stay calm. When your partner’s morning sickness racks you with guilt and helplessness, stay calm. When you are holding her hand through the agonies of contraction, stay calm. When all around you is a crying baby and a dirty nappy, stay calm. When all around you is a tired and irritable Mum, stay calm. When all around you is another day at work after yet another sleepless night, stay calm. After all, there are more good times than bad.

Don’t get jealous Maternal instincts kick in when Mum gets pregnant. Dad can feel a bit left out. Dad isn’t carrying baby for nine months. Dad isn’t the one giving birth. Dad isn’t the one breastfeeding. Dad usually isn’t the one at home with baby and bonding 24/7. But it is a shared partnership and both Mum and Dad must make sure that they don’t leave the other out. Dad can take a fair share of the burden and more than a fair share of the joy. Dad is often the fun parent. Laugh and play. Cuddle and coddle. You can bond with baby separately. And you can bond with baby together.

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