7 Ways for Fathers to Be Part of Newborn Care

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Image adapted via Flickr/ Micah Sittig

When it comes to caring for a newborn, it’s a lot of work. I swear, each time I brought a new baby home, if you had asked me a few weeks prior, I would have told you I totally knew what I was in for.

And each time, I was surprised with how much work those little babies are. Even a seasoned parent like myself had days where I wasn’t sure if I could do it. How I was going to handle another night and day with no sleep? I just thanked the world for having a supportive partner with me, who took on some of those draining responsibilities.

{ MORE: Will Your Only Child Accept The New Baby? }

So much of the newborn care seems to default on the mother, usually because she’s the one who is home, recovering and caring for the baby. Also, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ve got the responsibility of feeding the baby, but there are many ways the dad can be a very involved partner in newborn care as well.

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Image via Flickr/ Karen Sheets de Gracia

Bath time

Newborns don’t need baths every day — just every few days or a few times a week. The father can be responsible for this part of newborn care. He can help calm and comfort the baby with calming scents and warm water and spend the cuddle time after while he gets the baby dressed and ready for bed.

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Image via Flickr/ nateOne

Reading time

It may seem silly or strange to read to a newborn, who probably doesn’t know what you’re doing, but it’s a great routine to start. It’s something that the father can do each night before bed to bond and create a lasting routine for the child’s life. Eventually, they will become interested!

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Image via Flickr/ tofslie

Nightly walk

Some babies like the fresh air, and combined with a calm stroll in a stroller (or a car for some babies), it can aid in a great night’s sleep. The father can take on the duties of this nightly walk, and Mom can stay home and rest.

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Image via Flickr/ Karen Sheets de Gracia

Well-baby checks

Newborns are often at the doctor, for their well-baby checks every few weeks. They’re to check that baby is growing well and that there are no issues that need to be addressed. Oh, and their immunizations. Dad can be involved by going with Mom or alone, making sure all is well with the baby.

{ MORE: Your Newborn Bathing Questions Answered }

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Image via Flickr/ Family O’Abé

Diaper duty

In my house, when my husband is home, he is on diaper duty, meaning he’s in charge of changing all the diapers. Since I am home with the baby most of the time, he tackles this part of newborn care when he’s home, and I get a break. Yes, that means if baby needs a change at night, it’s on him.

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Image via Flickr/ Family O’Abé

Baby wearing

Baby wearing using a carrier or sling is a great way for newborns to feel safe, get a nap, and allow the parent to have both hands free. If Dad is looking to be a part of the newborn care, taking on the baby wearing is a great thing for both of them. He can do some kangaroo care when baby needs some cuddles or just strap the baby on when he’s making dinner.

{ MORE: What to Do About a Sleepy Newborn }

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Image via Flickr/ meemal

Support mom

Part of newborn care is making sure Mom is well taken care of and supported. This is a perfect way for the father to be involved. He can ensure she’s getting enough sleep (or at least a little bit when she can), and he can take on some of the duties around the house to make sure she’s taking time to rest and heal.

{ MORE: Let's Hear it for the Dads: The Movement for More Paternity Leave }

What are your suggestions for how Dad can be involved in newborn care? Share in the comments!

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7 Ways for Fathers to Be Part of Newborn Care

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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