A mother’s plate is always full. Starting from the tough duty of carrying the baby for nine months and enduring the labour process, moms need all the help they can get. For dads, they have to wait until the baby arrives before they can step in and exercise some hands-on parenting. However, it is not always easy for dads, particularly the first time dads. They need to know what they can do to help.
According to Chris Mancini, author of Pacify Me: A handbook for the Freaked out Dad, both parents have a responsibility in bringing up the baby and must be involved in baby care. "Unless you're watching Mad Men, both parents should work on balancing work and childcare equally. While this is not always possible, it's a good goal to have in mind as the other extreme can cause resentment too--when one parent is doing too much. Just do your best to be involved in your child's life, from conception to college." Mancini opines. “Books and classes can only prepare you up to a point--even my book, which is extremely helpful. It's on-the-job training, but don't worry, you're not going to get fired. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and get in there.” He adds.
Baby care involves both parents, no doubt, but the balance is mostly tilted with the heavier side left for the moms. Dads can get more involved too. Here are some simple and fun ways dads can step up in taking care of the newborn:
Being the brain: While bringing a child to the world is a huge life change for both the parents, dads have the advantage of being physically intact and a little less tired. While the mothers can be too tired, dads can step up and make decisions here and there, from deciding what’s for dinner to deciding on the baby visiting hours.
Support during feeding: Irrespective of what the baby is feeding on, breastfeeding or formula, meals take up a chunk of time. Dads can be that extra arm reaching for the nursing pillows, glasses of water and some snacks for the mom. When the baby id feeding on formula, dads can easily take up some feedings and give the mom some much needed break for that catnap. Also, who burps babies better than dads?
Changing the baby: While he might have never cared about his wardrobe, having a newborn is the best opportunity to get him involved in fashion choices. Babies go through countless cloth changes in a day. Put dad in charge of this task and marvel at the adorable outfits that ensue.
Bath time: Bath time is one of the epic moments to bond with the little bundle of joy. The babies early bedtimes would mean that some parents only get an hour or so with the baby after work before bedtime. Bath time comes as a quality substitute for the missed times. Dad and baby can enjoy some splashing around and playing with the bath toys before sudsing up and getting into bed.
The stroller: Babies tend to love the soothing vibrations of a stroller but, unlike your pre-baby days, you can no longer enjoy the long walks around the neighbourhood. Dads are easy when it comes to navigating cracked sidewalks, what a combination.
Give dad the freedom to be a dad and don’t try to be super mom. Delegate some dad-duties and you will sure appreciate the break as the baby falls in love with the daddy fun.