For many dads the arrival of a new baby can be both exhausting and a complete shock to the system, especially if it’s your first. There’s a tendency to focus more on mums bonding with their baby, so it is very normal for dads to take a little bit more time to feel that special connection, especially if mum is breastfeeding. In fact, it’s not unusual for dads to feel completely left out when they finally bring their partner and new baby home from hospital. But there are lots of ways in which dads can become involved during those first few weeks that will help form a strong bond with this new person in your life. Here are some tips:
- First and foremost, expect to experience a rollercoaster of emotions –worried, confused, overwhelmed – and rest assured your partner is feeling exactly the same! So talk to your partner, family and friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Get involved in your baby’s routine. If mum is breastfeeding, you can help by bathing and dressing baby, changing their nappy, and putting them to bed.
- Have plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your new baby – once your baby has finished a feed, give them a cuddle with your bare arms or lie them on your bare chest as you wind them after a feed.
- Give your partner a break in between feeding times – spending time looking after the baby on your own will help to build up your confidence in being a dad.
- Sing and talk to your baby so that they get to know the sound of your voice. You don’t even need to read nursery rhymes or children’s books – sing along to your favourite CDs, talk about things you like or make up your own stories.