Fatherhood is exciting and expectant fathers have a pre-conceived notion about their role of being a parent. Becoming a father can be both a challenging and a happy time for you. While you may think that a bond between a mother and child is intense, the father has a significant role to play in the upbringing of the baby. Here are a few parenting tips for new fathers.
1. Before the baby’s birth
Parenting process can begin even before the baby’s birth. Spend time with your partner and discuss pregnancy, child birth and parenting. Understand the responsibility that comes with the birth of a child. If you are involved, your partner will feel at ease and will feel comfortable in tackling the new responsibility together. Being present at the time of child birth will give you valuable lessons of bringing a life into the world.
2. Stay calm
Since a mom has more chances of spending time with her baby, the baby will naturally be bonding with the mother. Accept and acknowledge the fact that your partner has now limited time for you and she needs more time for the baby. Make efforts to spend quality time with your baby and the mom. Being a father is entirely different from being a mom. You will face challenges in the process but it is worth being patient and not getting discouraged to build a life-long relationship.
You should involve yourself as much as possible in the daily activities surrounding your baby. Ask your partner how you can be of help to her. Learn how to change a diaper, feed, rock, massage, change the dress and even bathe your baby. You not only get the time to be close with your baby but will also help your exhausted partner who really needs your help. Your baby will slowly get used to you and your touches, which will help you connect with the baby faster. Caring touch is an important way to lay a foundation of love and care with your baby.
Become familiar with the gender specifications, baby products and accessories that come along with boys and girls. It is a different world out there in the market with earmarked products for boys and girls. Shop cautiously when selecting toys, clothes and other baby items. Of course, there are uni-sexual baby products too, such as strollers, bouncy seat and so on.
5. Read, Sing and talk
Reading to your baby makes her get accustomed to your voice and also helps in making the baby a better reader. You can introduce the habit of reading right from the time when she is in the womb. Singing is also one of the great ways to bond with your baby. Who said the domain of singing lullabies is owned by moms? Fathers too can have soothing voice to comfort a baby. Singing and reading affects your baby’s intelligence positively. Another technique to improve bonding, is talking to your baby. From repetitive words to ramblings, talking can do wonders to establish a bonding technique with your newborn.
6. Do not panic
Do not be worried if you are unable to do the ‘right’ thing for your baby. It is a brand new feeling and experience for both the parents as well as the baby. Do not fret if you do not meet up to the ‘expectations’ of a dad. There is no perfect way to do things for your baby. Simply follow your intuition and instincts. When in doubt, do check with your partner.
7. Eye Contact
As with touch and sound, making eye-contact with your baby is equally important. Even though babies can see only about a foot in front of them, stay close and remember to smile and look at your baby in the eye. Babies, do recognize and prefer people who look at them often.
8. Date with your baby
Whenever possible, schedule an entire day where you can spend full time with your baby. This way you will give the much needed ‘free time’ to your partner as well have a good opportunity to get closer with your baby. Ensure your partner is there in the vicinity since she can always be there in case you face any hurdles.
9. Parenting is a joint effort
On the other hand, moms should empathize and recognize the need for dads to bond with the newborn. Moms should provide enough opportunities that will get baby and the dad together. Do not look for perfection in any help the new dad has to offer. Acknowledge and appreciate the father’s efforts in spending quality time with the baby. Both of you are equally responsible in this new live project and you will smell success with conscious joint effort.
Each dad is different in his emotions, expression of love and care for the baby. Some dads readily melt over babies while others may not be hands-on with the babies. Father bonding happens naturally but slowly for most of the new dads. Involved dads often bring up a self confident and secure child. Dads do make a great difference in the life of a child!