Up to this point, Dad's role in the labor and delivery has been that of coach, cheerleader, masseuse, photographer, chauffeur, ice chip delivery man and general punching bag. All of which he has fulfilled with enthusiasm and tact. And now, you and baby are in your own home. You're ready to tackle your new job with love, patience and joy. You'll breast feed like a pro, you'll diaper, coddle and burn the midnight oil for this little bundle. But what about Dad? Where does he fit into this pretty picture painted of lifelong dreams of parenthood?
Even in the earliest moments of baby's arrival, Dad plays an important role in the balance of parenting. He is the other half of the dream team. The half that does things differently than you, but with as much love and affection. Yes, Dad will feel a bit left out of your new world. After all, he didn't carry the baby for 9 months, can't breast feed, and more than likely, cannot be with the baby all day as he may be at work. He won't be a whiz at diapers at first, but then, neither were you without practice.
It is this practice that is so important, however. At every opportunity, Dad should be encouraged to diaper, feed, bathe, soothe, and care for the baby. He may be hesitant perhaps even stating that the baby is too small yet, but encourage him anyway. He may be nervous saying that you do things better. Gently remind him that different is not necessarily better. You may hold baby cradled in your arms as he drifts off to sleep; Dad may find the football hold more comfortable, but just as effective. It is good for babies to know that their needs will be met and not always in exactly the same way.
Baby needs to know that both Mom and Dad are there for him. You may even find that by letting Dad become more involved, you will not only benefit from a well deserved break, but your relationship as a team will grow. Here are some ways that Dads can connect with baby even in the earliest days:
Remember that most new fathers need a nudge of confidence when handling a newborn. Encouragement and non critical support are the keys to his success. By keeping Dad involved in the care of the baby, all of you will reap the benefits of a truly remarkable family unit.
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Father's can help