If you’re reading this, it looks like congratulations are in order. Either you’re officially a new dad or you’re about to become one! It goes without saying that this is an incredibly exciting time for you and your family. It’s also a very overwhelming time. Like most soon-to-be-new-dads, you probably have a running list of questions about paternity leave for men and how to navigate fatherhood.
But never fear, your top tips on the first few months of becoming a dad are here! Take a look:
Establish a new nighttime routine
When it comes to changes in routine post-giving birth, one of the most common things you probably hear about is sleep. Because let’s face it, once your little bundle of joy arrives, it’s “bye-bye” to your usual 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
So what’s the key to managing the months of sleepless nights yet to come? In addition to setting up the ideal sleep environment for your baby, the most important thing is teamwork. One of the best things you can do before your baby arrives is to create a plan with your partner on how you’ll navigate the late hours of the night with your newborn. Will you and your partner alternate turns tending to your crying newborn? Will you be the designated parent to lull your baby back to sleep? Will your partner be responsible for the first half of the night and you for the early hours of the morning?
Of course, you won’t always be able to stick to a strict plan – things come up! But establishing a rough game plan for how you and your partner intend to tackle the night shift will help immensely in the long run.
Remember, breastfeeding is a team effort!
Many people view breastfeeding as a solo act for the mom. But the truth is that there are plenty of opportunities for the father to be involved, too!
You are your partner’s biggest supporter during this time. So even just by being there to encourage her and offer reminders about how great she’s doing, you’re already helping more than you realize! And don’t be shy when it comes to giving back rubs or massages to help her relax.
Another amazing way to be involved is by researching and learning about breastfeeding yourself. This knowledge can come in handy big time in helping the two of you solve problems together, rather than her feeling as though she has to figure it out on her own.
Other ways you can offer support during breastfeeding could be fetching the nursing pillow, carrying your baby over to your partner when it’s time to feed, or helping them both get into a comfortable position. But most importantly, just be there to listen to your partner as she navigates these changes with her body.
Find your support system
Paternity leave for men isn’t just about supporting and tending to mom and baby. It’s super important that you take care of yourself during this time and pay attention to your needs as well. In other words, don’t hesitate to ask or accept help from family and friends. If you know of any other new dads, consider reaching out to them and confiding in each other during this special time. Go easy on yourself and remember, parenthood is ultimately something that you figure out as you go.
With some advanced preparation on how to keep your baby safe and what to do when your baby arrives; and strong communication between you and your partner, you’ll have everything you need to succeed in those first few months of parenthood.
You got this, dad!