With Mum carrying the baby for 9 months and the midwives and doctors taking control at the hospital, new Dads can feel a bit like a spare wheel and are often left wondering what to do. Remember, your partner and your baby need you now more than ever.
Don’t feel sidelined
Now’s your chance to shine and there are lots of things you can do to help.
Announce the birth
Add all the numbers of the people you both want to tell to your phone ahead of time so you can send out a group text once baby arrives. Field her calls – tell people to ring you instead so she’s not bombarded.
Manage the visitors
Everyone will be excited about seeing the baby but having too many people around in the early days can be a bit overwhelming. Make sure you arrange visits for times that suit you and keep them short. Don’t be afraid to ask people to wait 10 minutes until after a feed or a nap.
Accept all offers of help
If relatives or neighbours offer to bring a home cooked meal or help you out with other jobs, take them up on it. If they don’t, ask. They’ll be happy to help.
Be prepared - babies cry. A lot. And unfortunately they don’t come with a manual. They cry for all sorts of reasons. They might be hungry. They might have wind. They might need a nappy change. They might be too hot or too cold. They might need a nap. They might be too tired to sleep. Or they might just want you to pace the floor with them for an hour at 4am for no apparent reason. You will get better at figuring out what they need over time but sometimes you will honestly have no idea and you’ll just have to wait it out.
Take turns at night
Sleepless nights take their toll on new parents so taking turns will really help. Even if you can’t feed the baby you can still change nappies and help settle them. Just getting up with your partner to keep her company sometimes will give her much-needed moral support and let her know that you’re in this together.
Remember, it’s not all hard work - babies love to play too and that’s something Dads are really great at. Bring them to the cinema or to a catch up with friends.