Parenting is hard. There’s no doubt about it. But it shouldn’t just fall on the shoulders of one parent – there’s a reason it takes two to tango! Having a baby is definitely a game changer in your life and in your partner’s life as well. In many cases moms feel like they are doing it all alone without any help from their husbands, but that could just be because the dads simply don’t know what to do or how to help. Here are a few tips on how to involve dads from Day 1 that we have picked up along our journeys:
Human touch is so important, whether it’s with the mother or the father, and this is especially important during the first few hours of life. Why not involve your partner from the beginning, by letting him do a skin-to-skin session when baby’s born? It helps the baby feel a sense of security and establishes a great relationship from the start. If you’re undergoing a C-section, it’s a perfect time for dad to do skin-to-skin with baby while you are still in the operating room.
Putting baby to sleep:
Make sure dad can also put the baby to sleep. We are facing a slight problem in that Freya thinks it’s play-time whenever she sees her daddy, even at 3am. Sometimes mama needs a break, and it would really be great if we could take turns to put her to sleep in the middle of the night. Let baby get used to daddy putting him/her to sleep – mammas, you can thank us later.
Feeding the baby:
A lot of the time dads feel helpless because they aren’t the ones physically carrying/birthing/feeding the baby etc. But men can be involved in other ways once the baby arrives – for instance: if you are formula-feeding or pumping breast milk, let dad give baby the bottle every once in a while. Or if you are breastfeeding, let daddy help you by burping the baby after feeding is done – the look of satisfaction on your partner’s face when the baby burps is priceless! At some point you need to hand over the reigns in order to take a break, otherwise you will burn out – which brings me to my next point:
Ask for help:
Don’t try to do everything yourself! Dads work well if they have tasks to complete – give them your lists! Whether it’s grocery lists or to-do lists, if they feel like they have something that can be checked off once completed, they’ll feel a great sense of achievement.
Be specific with what you’re asking from your partner:
Avoid confrontation by being really specific in your requests. It’s a known fact that men speak in black and white, while women tend to be fluent in all 50 shades of grey areas. If you want him to help with something, make sure you tell him exactly what you want. They aren’t mind readers (although wouldn’t that just save soooooo much time and effort??) You can’t just say: “Please go buy diapers”. You have to say: “Please can you go to Spinneys and check the “Baby” aisle for Pampers in Size 4+. If they don’t have Pampers in that size, you can buy Huggies size 4”. You see what happened there? You just sliced off at least 5 minutes of him having to call you while he’s at the store wondering what size to buy…
Start something called “Daddy Time”. It can be anything from having him give baby the first morning bottle, or always having him get the baby ready for bath time (if he’s home at that time) so that there is at least one daily thing that he can claim ownership of from the start.
Make it a point to always attend your baby’s medical checkups together so you can both see and understand how your baby’s growing and developing.
Let your husband help during those hard baby colic times, whether by carrying them in a baby carrier or a sling, or by taking them on car ride or on a walk. You need that time alone to breath and recharge.
Agree with your partner on the nights he’ll be waking up with the baby at night (if you aren’t breastfeeding), because you need to catch up on some sleep to be able to give back the next morning. Just make sure to give daddy all the instructions he needs to know before you go to sleep.
Daddy & Baby Alone Time:
It would be good if daddies could make some time at least once a day, whether it’s in the morning, or in the evening before bedtime, with the babies ALONE. Give them some space and let them figure it out, without having you criticising them on everything they do. Control your feelings, it’s going to be OKAY.
Take it from us, those first few weeks of parenthood are really, really tough. But as they say: “It took two people to make it, and it takes a village to raise it.” As long as you and your husband stick together, keep the lines of communication open and share the load – there’s nothing you can’t do.
Best of luck,
Kinda & Mia
P.S. If you’re a dad reading this and there are things you agree/disagree with – let us now what you think! Or, if you have anything you’d like to add, we’d like to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!