7 Ways for Fathers to Be Part of Newborn Care
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What are your suggestions for how Dad can be involved in newborn care? Share in the comments!