When you become a parent for the first time, you can get overwhelmed with joy, excitement and even stress you’ve built up in anticipation of that perfect moment, when you get to see your newborn, look them in the eye and fall completely in love with them. And since the first few months of nestlings’ lives can be very confusing or even scary, every new father could use some tips on how to be a good dad during that initial period.
Take some time off work
Although this option isn’t available to all fathers, certain countries allow men to take some time off once they become fathers. This usually means a slightly reduced salary during that period, but the time you’ll spend with your infant is priceless. It will help you get adjusted to the new situation, including all of its challenges, such as lack of sleep, listening to your baby crying and learning how to care for them. This time is also precious for getting to know your little one and creating a bond between the two of you from their earliest of age, one that will develop as your child grows, encourage them to trust you and always feel sheltered and loved around you.
Learn the basics
Becoming a parent changes your perception of the world and your priorities. All of a sudden, you have this little person you adore and want to keep safe at all cost. In order to be a truly loving and caring parent, you need to learn the basic things to keep them happy and healthy. For example, you should definitely know how to change their diapers or how to keep them snug inside a swaddle. Don’t let the baby’s mother be the only one who can bathe your child or put them to bed, but do your best to keep up with all these things by switching these tasks between the two of you, so that you can both do them equally well. This way you’ll have no problem calming your baby down or staying home alone with them. Being so attentive and providing both your partner and your child the support they need at this time is bound to get some cool Father's Day gifts in the years to come. Of course, that is not the reason you are doing the work, but it is definitely a cool bonus.
Be around at feeding time
Whether your baby is breastfed or they are given formula, you can always participate in their feeding, one way or another. If your nursling only has breast milk, make it your mission to be around whenever they’re fed. If nothing else, they will get used to your proximity and find it comforting, but you can actually help by doing research with your partner on how to increase their milk supply or finding out what foods are good and bad for lactation. And if your baby is bottle-fed, you can feed them yourself. All you have to learn is how to make the formula perfect, which isn’t that hard really, as well as how to be quiet and calm when you feed them during the night and how to burp them once they’ve eaten.
Get used to the smelly stuff
Nowadays, many dads learn how to change diapers even before their little ones are born. However, once you have to change your baby’s diaper, you realize that it’s not the same as what you practiced with a doll. This is especially true for the first few times your newborn poops, since it doesn’t really look like anything you might have seen before, or anything you might have anticipated. The colors and the textures will vary, but don’t let that worry or disturb you, since it’s perfectly normal. Expect your child to throw up on you, or even wee on you occasionally, so simply get used to all of it. It will probably be easier than you expected, since you’ll worship your little angel and things coming from them won’t bother you that much.
Play with your newborn
Though it may seem your infant doesn’t really notice much nor do anything interesting in their first few months, there is actually a lot going on in their little heads and they go through many changes during this period. If you stay close to them and communicate with them, it will be as much a gift to them as it will to you. It will bind you together and allow them to develop better. Talk to them, name the things that surround them, such as objects, smells, colors and sounds, be playful, use different emotions and funny voices when you speak to them and show your affection in any way you can think of.
Each baby and each parent are a story of their own, there are no two that are completely the same, so when following these tips, always give your personal touch to everything you do, be gentle, loving and understanding and you’ll probably be doing it right.