Dad’s Guide to Fatherhood
From learning the elementary child care tasks to trying to bond well with the delicate and fragile newborn, parenting is a journey of discovery. Though for mothers, the journey starts as soon as they conceive and start feeling a new life growing and developing each day inside their womb. But for the new fathers, the news of the little one’s arrival brings a lot of queries, worries, panic and anxieties ranging from “How will I change the nappies?” to “Will I be a good father?”
Since the baby’s conception, the fathers try to figure out how to bond with a life that they are not about to see and feel unlike their partner who can sense each movement of the baby and has an instant connect with the unborn child.
Despite all the worries and doubts, becoming parents is the unique experience for both the parents. Though women are biologically and culturally gifted to be more stable and steady as a parent and in most of the families, mothers are the person ‘in command’ when it comes to the baby.
When it comes to a new father, his world too goes through a drastic change, from weekend parties to sleepless nights, from bike rides to being busy diapering- a change from being just a man to a father.
Unlike the earlier days when a dad’s role in parenting was minimal and was limited to be the only breadwinner of the house, today the new age dad’s desire is to participate equally in parenting. However, as they go ahead closer to the baby, they need to understand that they are entering the mother’s world and understanding this deep bond between the child and the mother is the key.
A father needs to work on developing his bond with the baby, though it has to go through the mother and not without the mother.
How to Start?
- Get in the Field from the First Day:
Most dads are just mesmerized on the first day of their baby’s birth and have no clue of how to even hold the baby. This doesn’t mean you need to be away from the baby. Being in action from the very first day is the best possible way to develop confidence as a father. You can help in dressing, bathing, diapering and even helping the baby settle down in the new world. This will give you ample of time with the baby, moreover it will help your partner get the desired amount of rest after childbirth.
- Bond Through Your Warm Touch:
You can be a trusted person in your baby’s life if you understand the power of your warm touch. Hold your newborn with immense love and warmth, gently cuddle or rock the baby when he/she are crying or irritable. Warm touch makes the baby feel comfortable and secure just like the way the baby has been in the mother’s womb. This will help you build connection and trust with the baby as a father.
- Take Help if Needed:
It is OK to seek help if you are findingitdifficult to handle the baby in the initial attempts. Try to learn from your elders about how to hold the baby and soothe them.
- Help the New Mother while Breastfeeding:
Though breastfeeding is natural, it can be equally difficult for a new mom. Breastfeeding is the first act of nurturing your newborn but it can be challenging for a new mother. Help your partner while she is breastfeeding. Give her an extra pillow or water if she needs, help her sit in a correct posture to feed the baby. Keeping your wife relaxed and calm will assist in better breast milk supply. Some mothers can panic if the initial efforts are not working.
- Interact with Your Baby:
Talking to your babywhile you are doing the basic child care tasks can be useful in developing a bond with your baby. Every word your baby listens help him/her develop the language and learning ability. You can sing, read poems and stories to him/her. You can also describe the tasks you are doing. Look into the baby’s eyes and smile and make facial expressions to keep the baby engaged.
- Have Some Lone Time with Your Baby:
It canbescary for a new dad to even think of being left alone with a newborn but you can start with short spells of lone time with your baby may be for 20 to 30 minutes to begin with. This will let the new dad try tricks and develop his own style of taking care of the child rather than just being handled by the mother’s style.
Remember the key is to spend more time with your little one to get to know each other better.