How to Share Newborn Care With the Father
Bringing your newborn home from the hospital is a joyous and exciting time for the whole family, but after you get everyone home and settled in, that’s when the business begins. Your new baby will keep you on your toes with feedings, diaper changes and sleepless nights.
To keep your sanity and get everything done, share the care of your newborn with your partner.
Assign specific jobs for you both and take turns with some of the other tasks, suggests KidsHealth.org.
Accepting and Asking for Help
1. Create a list of the things you need your partner to do to help you out with the baby. Post that list where he’ll be able to easily see it and keep track of his responsibilities, such as on the refrigerator.
2. Build up his confidence and encourage him to help with the baby. Tell him that as the father, he is just as capable of loving and caring for the baby as you are, according to Pregnancy.org.
3. Offer your partner positive feedback when he helps out, even if he does something differently than you would. If he does something that isn’t healthy or safe — dressing baby to warmly or placing a plush toy in the crib, for example — tell him how much you appreciate his help and share baby health and safety literature with him or demonstrate how to do something. Loosen up the reins when you are confident your partner understands how to keep baby safe and health, allow him to do things his way when he’s caring for the little one. You may even find that his way is just as good as yours.
Specific Ways Daddy Can Help
4. Ask your partner to spend time with your new baby while you get a little break. He can spend this time holding her, talking to her and playing with her. This alone time between baby and daddy is important, as it gives them time to get to know one another and it give daddy the experience of caring for your baby all on his own, notes PsychCentral. You can spend this time taking a nap, getting something to eat or relaxing in the bath tub.
5. Share diaper changing responsibilities with your spouse. You can simply take turns with this task when you’re both around, alternate days or split it each day: you change diapers during the day and he gets diaper duty at night.
6. Show your spouse how he can help you with feedings. If you’re bottle-feeding your newborn, you can just take turns giving your newborn his bottle. Even if you’re breastfeeding, he can still help. He can bring your baby to you when it’s time to nurse and burp him when you’re finished. You can also use a breast pump and let your partner give your baby a bottle of breast milk from time to time.
7. Let your partner be in charge of bath time for your new born. You can use this time to catch up on other things you need to do each day.
Tips & Warnings
- Be patient with your baby’s father, and give him credit for trying to help you.
- Ask for more help when you need it.
- Take into account work schedules when asking for help. For example, if you are staying at home with your newborn and the father must be at work for designated hours, nap when your baby naps so you get enough rest, but keep in mind he can’t nap at work.
- Share parenting information with the baby’s father, whether you both read the same books or websites, such as HealthyChildren.org. You will each have your unique parenting methods, but you should both be on the same page when it comes to health and safety.