Here's 15 ways how dads can help with newborns!
Show what positive parenting looks like and see how dads can help with newborns.
The needs of a newborn naturally take priority and as such, there is just not that much time (or energy) to put into your relationship.
From a psychological perspective, however, it is important that your union is also nurtured during this time where possible and not completely neglected.
This is because, as world renowned relationship psychologists Dr John and Julie Gottman at the Gottman Institute have found, the best gift you can give your baby is a healthy, happy and loving couple relationship.
A big part of happy relationships with a newborn comes down to being kind to each other and working as a team.
This means getting dads involved with parenting and the running of the household from day one.
As research shows kids can benefit emotionally, socially and intellectually from having a hands-on dad.
Children with involved fathers have shown greater verbal IQ and academic performance in primary school, as well as greater levels of empathy as an adult in third decade of life.
Science also shows that playfulness is an important aspect to fathering.
For example, the rough and tumble style of play that is common to dads (more so than mums) has been shown to help babies develop self control. This upbeat manner of play also helps young children to be viewed more favourably by their friends and accepted by their social group.
In addition, studies show that young kids whose fathers are more skilled at playing infant type games (i.e., Peekaboo) show greater intellectual advancement down the track.
Fathering that is warm as opposed to cold and authoritarian, is also highly important in a child’s development and in the clinic setting, many mums report they are happier when dads are an active and equal part of family life.
So, how can dads become involved in family life with a newborn baby?
1. After baby has been fed, burp and settle baby.
2. Change baby’s nappy.
3. If Mum is breastfeeding, bring the baby to her in bed during the night so she doesn’t have to get up, even if it’s just every now and then or on weekends. Settle the baby after a night feed as well if possible.
4. If your baby is being bottle fed, take over a late feed before you retire (i.e., around 9-10pm) so Mum can go to bed and get some sleep. Also offer to do bottle feeds during the night and/or in the morning.
5. If you have other children, take them out so Mum can sleep when baby is sleeping.
6. Take the baby out for a walk once fed so Mum can nap.
7. Offer to massage any aching muscles that Mum may have.
8. Take charge in meal preparation and cooking for the family. Set the table, do the dishes. Ask other children to help with age-appropriate chores.
9. Do the shopping or an online food order.
10. Help pack a nappy bag, including wipes, nappies, change of clothes, dummies, nappy cream etc.
11. Take care of bath time.
12. Fill the car with petrol.
13. Dress the baby.
14. Do some light housework in morning such as a quick vacuum or emptying of the dishwasher.
15. Play with your baby.
Having a hands-on dad is certainly ideal. However, it is worth noting that it is very common for dads in this situation to feel like their help is not up to their partner’s standards. As such, they may resent being criticised for their assistance.
I would advise going easy on the high standards bit and just give your partner some autonomy.
In addition to hands-on fathering, there are also other ways to keep your relationship healthy and strong with a newborn.
How to maintain your couple connection
Obviously, sex is a great way for couples to maintain their connection although readiness for sex can vary.
If you’re not up for sexual relations just yet, here are some other ways to keep the love alive.
1. Hold hands with your partner on the couch.
2. Exchange a passionate kiss each day.
3. Gently stroke your partner on the face and tell them you love them.
4. Engage in a nice long cuddle.
5. Part and re-unite each day with a lingering kiss on the lips as opposed to a quick peck.
6. Talk about sex and what you are looking forward to when you are both ready.
7. For mums, in the absence of sex, tell your partner that you are still attracted to them and exactly what it is you find sexy about them. Take time to explain why sex is not yet an option.
8. For dads, after a period of time when you’re into a routine, try and cook a meal, set the table, light some candles and sit down for a romantic dinner together when baby is asleep.
If you need professional help talk to your GP about seeing a psychologist or visit The Australian Psychological Society’s Find A Psychologist service.
This article was first published on Kidspot and republished here with permission.