Becoming a dad for the first time is a special experience. Within just a few weeks or months, you’ll be able to cuddle with your newborn and help them to grow and learn about the world. While it might feel like the big day is so far away right now, you’ll quickly discover that those final weeks of your partner’s pregnancy go fast. Right now, you have the perfect opportunity to start learning about fatherhood so that you’ll be ready when your baby makes their big arrival.
Connect With Your Baby Through Touch
Adults tend to make their closest connections through talking, but your newborn won’t understand your language quite yet. Instead, their little bodies are designed to learn about the world through touch. Kangaroo care is a technique that both moms and dads can use with their newborns. Being against your skin helps your baby to feel secure, and they’ll begin to recognize your scent. Skin-to-skin contact also helps newborns to regulate their heartbeat.
Find Ways to Help With Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is hard work, and it is common for dads to feel left out if they aren’t able to nurse. While your partner might be doing the bulk of the work, you do have a few ways to help. You can pick up your baby and carry them to their mom, and you can also change the diaper. Some dads enjoy helping to adjust the nursing pillow or bringing mom a snack. You can even offer to burp the baby when they’re done eating. Even small tasks provide a chance to bond with your baby.
Have Specific Requests In Mind for Help
You can expect a flood of visitors and well-wishes during those first few days at home. After giving everyone a chance to hold the baby, be prepared to answer their offers to help. Whether you’ve got dishes piling up in the sink or could just use a chance for someone to watch the baby while you shower, having a specific request in mind gives your visitors a clear way to help.
Choose a Firm Mattress for Your Newborn
The safest way for a newborn to sleep is on their back, and you might be surprised to find out that an overly soft mattress could be a hazard. Your newborn will spend the majority of their first few weeks sleeping, and a firm mattress will keep them safe. Keep in mind that a bassinet mattress might be firm, but it should also be breathable to prevent your little one from overheating. Choosing the best mattress you can find helps you to rest easy as your baby sleeps.
Establish a Routine From the Beginning
Adjusting to life with a newborn may feel hectic at first, but it is possible to establish a routine. Try doing things in the same order each time. For example, you might change your baby’s diaper before their feedings. Or, you might play a certain song each night as you prepare your baby for bed. Eventually, they’ll be able to pick up on these routine events as cues for what happens next.
Use an Organizational System
You and your baby’s other parents will find it easier to work together if you are on the same page with the organization. Storing all of your baby’s bottles on the same shelf or their diapers in a specific spot helps you to avoid searching frantically as your baby cries. As your baby grows, remember to change up your system so that it fits their new routine.
Become an Expert Swaddler
Swaddling babies is a technique that has been used for centuries, and this is because it really works for keeping babies calm. You can use swaddling blankets or try a premade version that helps to keep your baby’s arms snug against their body. If you’ve never swaddled a baby before, then you can practice on a doll or stuffed toy. Don’t worry if you don’t have these things yet, though. You’ll get lots of practice when your baby arrives.
Remember to Soak Up the Snuggles
New dads can sometimes get so wrapped up in trying to do everything right that they forget to just have fun. Once you’ve got the nursery set up, spend some time thinking of songs you want to sing to your little one, and pick out a cozy chair that you can relax in during those late-night feedings. After all, newborns grow fast, and your memories of your cuddle sessions will be what lasts.
As a new dad, you’ll notice that each new stage of your baby’s life brings changes. Be willing to stay flexible with your plans, and reach out to people that you trust to help you adjust to your baby’s changing needs. From getting them to sleep through the night to helping them take those first wobbly little steps, learning about your baby’s development helps you be an amazing dad.