If you are about to become a dad for the first time, it’s an incredibly exciting time, but you might also be feeling a little nervous about what’s ahead. Soon-to-be Dads may feel slightly apprehensive about the birth, changing nappies, calming a crying baby, or even how hold them correctly. Here are some tips for first time Dads to calm the nerves and get yourself prepared for the arrival of your first bundle of joy.
Be ready for the hospital well in advance. The new mum will most likely have had her hospital bag ready for weeks, but make sure you know where it is, have a change of your own clothes and some toiletries ready, in case you have to stay at the hospital for longer than expected. If the due date is looming: keep the car full of petrol, phone topped up with credit and battery and stock up on some hospital activities like Sudoku.
Spend time with your baby
When a baby is born it is essential to spend as much time as possible with them to form a bond between you as the father and your child. The more time you spend with your baby, the better and stronger your bond will be. Research suggests ways for fathers to bond with their baby include changing the nappy and bathing the baby. Babies are also very attracted to the human face, but in particular they look at the eyes, so when you are holding the bub, look them straight in the eyes and smile.2
Babies make their first bilabial sounds of da-da, ma-ma and ba-ba. If you hear your baby making these noises, make them back to reinforce the sound. These sounds are easy for babies to make due to them being able to easily press their lips together and blow air through. It will be an amazing experience when your baby says da-da for the first time!
Bounce and jiggle
Babies love to be gently bounced, jiggled, swayed and held. Movement is great for babies as they develop their sense of balance. Try different holds to determine how your baby likes to be held. Being held gives baby a sense of security, but try not to hold them too tight or loose.
This may not be the most enjoyable part of parenting, but remind yourself that a baby cries because it is the only way they can communicate with you. Babies cry differently depending on what they are trying to say. The top 3 reasons for crying are:
- Hungry: Babies are not sure what hunger is, as they have never felt it before. Prior to birth when they are in the womb, their hunger is satisfied before it is felt. These new hunger pains can make your baby cry.
- Uncomfortable: If a baby has just soiled their nappy, they are going to be experiencing some unpleasantness (you would too!). Check baby’s nappy if they are crying, a nappy change might just do the trick.
- Tired: If the baby is not hungry and does not need a nappy change, then they may be feeling tired and ready for a nap.
Besides these tips, every new parent (mum or dad) can always use some additional ideas tips to care for a newborn. And don’t be scared to ask friends and family for help and guidance while you are settling into your new and most important role in life. It’s a wonderful new stage in life so be sure to enjoy it!