Hey dads, we see you! At PDHC we know that taking on the role of parent to a little one can seem daunting. And while many of our services are ‘mom-centered’ we want you to know we are here for you, too!
In this post, we’ll share our top three tips to help new dads navigate the ups and downs of parenting. But we’re not stopping there.
We also offer classes and other resources just for you, dads. So please – do NOT hesitate to reach out to us, anytime and find out more about how we can partner with you on your parenting journey. We’re here to help, and you’re never alone!
Learn your baby’s cues – and the possible solutions! Your baby IS trying to communicate with you. It’s just in a different way than you may be used to. Yes, crying is one of the main indicators that she is wanting something. But there are other cues as well. The best way to learn these cues and improve your relationship with your baby, is to spend time watching, listening and learning her cues. This will enable you to respond and meet her needs, and deepen the bond between the two of you. Signs that your baby is alert and ready to engage include wide open eyes and eye contact, grabbing your finger or an object, and general body language of contentment, meaning a relaxed posture and not one that is squirming or stiffened. Signs that baby may be overstimulated and in need of rest can include arching of the back or balling hands into fists. Of course, crying is a cue that is hard to miss. Why is baby crying? It’s usually because she is uncomfortable (check her diaper, ensure she is not too hot or cold, and nothing is poking or pinching her with her clothes), she’s hungry (is it time for a feeding?), or she is feeling anxious or tired and wants to be comforted (try holding her, offering a pacifier, swaddling, and/or gently rocking her). Seek out quiet time alone with your baby to allow the focus to be on the two of you, free of distractions.
Talk to your baby: The sound of your voice is an enormous source of calm and comfort to your baby! This also helps develop a bond of father and child. Speak in a confident but calm voice, and your baby will begin to turn towards you and engage with eye contact and smiles as she learns to love hearing from you. It may seem strange at first, but practice talking to your baby about anything and everything! It will work wonders. Don’t know where to start? Pick up a book and read it aloud. This will quickly become a favorite way for the two of you to spend time together.
3. Master those swaddling skills. As discussed in tip number one, sometimes baby is tired or in need of comfort and TLC. One amazing way to offer a feeling of safety and security to your baby is with swaddling. Master this skill and you are well on your way to being a source of blessed comfort for the new little one in your life. Swaddling offers baby the comforting feeling of being in the womb while diminishing anxiety and instilling a feeling of security. Here are two articles with step by step instructions on how to safely swaddle your baby: https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/baby/dudu-swaddle https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/baby-care/baby-care-101/secrets-to-swaddling.aspx
More help for new dads: even incorporating all the above tips will not eliminate all the stress from this time in your life. Just know that it’s temporary, normal, and that things will calm down. You WILL begin to feel less tired and less overwhelmed. Check out this post offering helpful tips to cope with stress during the early months of baby’s life.