Mothers nurture their babies for nine months in their womb, care for them when they are born and are understandably more attached to the newborn than fathers are. When we brought home our first child, I remember my husband shying away from the nursery. So one evening, after he came home from work, I put our boy in his arms and snuck away to the kitchen to prepare dinner. When I came back to check on my boys, I found them staring into each other’s faces while my husband was telling our son about his day at work. It was just the jitters that he needed to get out. Fathers are not just the second adult in the house; they can influence their children’s lives immensely. So, here are some tips on how to become a supportive new dad:
1. Be More Involved: It is important that you involve yourself actively in your child’s life.
When your kid grows up a little, you should try to attend most of his soccer games
and his graduation ceremonies. It might not always be possible, but you can try to be
present for the achievements he considers important. Children need a constant
reminder that their parents are going to be there to support them in every step of their
lives. Your presence assures your child of your continuous support.
2. Take The Night Shift: You have a day job and it understandable that you are tired
when you get home. You should catch some early sleep and sign up for the night
shift. Why? Firstly, you have your hands full with the job in the day, and that means
you don’t spend enough time with your child. Taking on night duty will give you a lot
of time with your baby. Enjoy the intermittent gurgling sounds you child makes, in the
stillness of the night. Secondly, and more importantly, your wife needs a break too.
She will not be able to function if she has to wake up to soothe the baby in the night
especially after the day she has had.
3. Cradle Your Baby Closer: Have you noticed how your wife holds your baby when
she breastfeeds him? She cuddles him close and peers into his face. Your baby also
has a clear view of his mother’s face as he suckles. When you are bottle-feeding him,
you should also hold him close to you, allowing him to gaze up at you. Watch his
reactions while you speak to him and as he suckles on the bottle. Your baby will
know who his dad is, and it will also give you time to bond with him.
4. Be The Supportive Dad: Now, I know that a wailing baby is anything but cute and is
almost impossible to get him to stop. If your baby suffers from colic, life just becomes
more miserable for you and you might want to hand over baby duties to your wife.
Irrespective of how you feel holding a wailing baby in your hands, you have to push
yourself to be there for him. Rock him in your arms, walk with him, sing to him, make
funny faces at him, or simply hold him close to your chest and let him hear your heart
beat. Your child will know that he does not always need his mommy to tackle his
worries. He will learn to trust you, and that is an experience you will treasure.
5. Daddy On Diaper Duty: You do not need a heads up regarding dirty diapers. Yes,
they stink up the room. Then why am I suggesting you take up diaper duty? Well, the
stink aside, changing diapers are a great excuse for parents to bond with their kids.
You can try talking to him, making silly noises and get him to laugh. Your baby will
know that there is another person who cares for him besides his mother and that this
person is a funny guy is another upside. Also, changing your baby’s diapers is taking
another chore off your wife’s hands and giving her some time to pause and breathe.
Raising kids can be difficult, and there is no one rule that works. You typically learn on the
go, so, don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if you make mistakes sometimes, you will have
raised a good human being, on the whole. So, you should be proud of yourself and your kid.
Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com. Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.