Dads sometimes have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that their baby’s are not born doing high fives and fist bumps. Lets face it, newborns are no fun, (to most). It’s ok dads! We got you covered.
- Encourage dads to do skin to skin. Of course skin to skin is important for moms for bonding and increasing milk supply but dads need bonding time too. I like to encourage moms to do skin to skin the first 2-3 hours after birth, then when mom is ready for a nice warm shower, dads can do skin to skin. Continue that tradition for the next few weeks.
- Bring dad a 6 pack of beer or some good food and a movie. The Happiest Baby on the Block movie I like for dads because there are dads in it that seem to enjoy taming those little tigers. They can “solve” something by learning to swaddle, or hold baby side-lying. We all know babies are a lot louder than they appear and that can be intimidating for some dads. They may think baby only wants to breastfeed. Although, that is the case a lot of the time, sometimes they desire comfort in other ways.
- Remind dad that his baby has heard his voice through out pregnancy and can recognize it. It’s ok, it can be in a normal dad voice. It doesn’t have to be baby talk. Talk, read and sing to the baby.
- Let them know they are needed. Dads want to solve and provide. Sometimes they want to walk away if it gets hard because they feel like they can’t help the baby. They may do things differently, but that does not mean that it’s wrong. When it comes to diapering, swaddling, rocking and dressing, dads do it differently. This is great for the baby to experience. It teaches the baby trust. That this other caregiver also does things to make me feel good and safe. It’s different, but not wrong.
- Lift them up. Compliment their skills!
- Find local Dad support groups for them to go to! They can talk about things that they wouldn’t normally talk about with their partner, doula or family. They can talk to other dads that get it. They are on the same journey of navigating partner-hood and fatherhood.
(I thought I would add this photo of my husband when he became a dad 20 years ago. This is when I first realized his way wasn’t wrong; it was just different. It doesn’t mean I didn’t get frustrated, it means I had to learn to let it go.)