Congratulations on your new baby! Whether it’s your first or your third baby, the drive to be a good dad to your newborn is still there.
To be a good dad is almost like being a butler to a person that you have no understanding of what they are saying, and no one else can fully translate what they are saying to you either. My best advice is to try to understand their cues, their different tones of baby cries and the process of elimination will get you through most of the things your baby is asking for.
I’m definitely sure that there are scientific research and studies to solve definitively what babies are trying to say and do. But do remember that every baby is different and unique in their own special way. It is up to both the parents to figure out what is their special and unique points.
To help you get started with what I mean, I’ll share the special and unique points that I have found out with my daughter and how both my wife and I dealt with each scenario.
- As a baby, she doesn’t really fuss about a lot, my wife gives her breast milk at specific times throughout the day. By keeping that schedule, we have a mutual understanding that she will get her meals, after that sleep time for a few hours before she wakes up and wants to do something else. This is the time where I come in to figure out why she woke up, did she wake up because she has a wet or dirty diaper? Did she wake up because it’s her playtime? Or is something making her uncomfortable that she isn’t able to sleep?
- When she woke up because it’s her playtime, I do various activities with her to try to increase my bonding time with her. I explain some of the activities that I do later in this post.
- At least for the first 4-5 months, she would basically sleep “throughout” the night, waking up once or twice to feed her, while she is asleep, and quickly changer her diaper and then let her continue to sleep. She was an amazing little girl!
- Lastly, as a newborn, she loves to play, move, and explore around with her eyes. There are so many visual and physical activities that I did with her to try to stimulate her senses, it was super fun!
Understand Your Baby’s Cues And Cries Will Save Your Sanity
Understanding your baby’s cues and cries definitely saved both me and my wife’s sanity. From feeling stressed, frustrated, and anger from not understanding what our baby is saying to make it into a little friendly competition to see who guessed the right answer.
Luckily, an Australian opera singer, Priscilla Dunstan, with her 8 years of extensive research and testing has categorize the sounds that a baby makes before it cries.
- Neh – hunger
- Eh – upper wind (burp)
- Eairh – lower wind (gas)
- Heh – discomfort (hot, cold, wet)
- Owh – sleepiness
She even made appearances and shared her findings on the Opera show!
So understandings what the baby’s curs are will definitely reduce the amount of stress you’ll have. I know it definitely reduced mine by almost 80%!
Dad’s Bonding With Newborns
During these bonding times with your newborn, there may not be too many things you can do with them. Since the baby isn’t really moving as much as a baby that is walking, you, as the dad, will have to do a lot of the moving for them. Tiring as it may sound, these activities aren’t hours and hours at a time, they may be short bursts of 15-30 minutes per session or even per day. So make the best out of these times.
After doing a bit of research, these are some of the recommended exercises that a parent can do with their newborns (0-6 months old):
- Lay the baby down on its back and gently move their limbs,
- Singing to the baby,
- Talking to your baby,
- Gently and slowly moving baby toys with high contrast in colour within arms reach,
- Being engaged with your baby while giving all of your attention to them.
- Consult with your pedestrian to see when it is a good idea to start doing tummy time.
Dad’s Role In The Family With A Newborn
As a dad, you may not feel like there is much you can really do for your newborn. But do understand that there is a WHOLE lot of things you can do for your newborn and for your wife.
Think of it this way, your wife has spent the last 8-9 months during pregnancy to nurture, grow, and bring your healthy little baby into this world. She has already done a heck of a lot already, I’m not sure what you may have done but it’s sure not as much as she did.
Your child is always looking at how you act in the family. Are you controlling? Do you have a say in the family? Do you share household and family responsibilities? Are you supportive and loving?
You may be thinking to yourself that you do all of those all the time, but the question is, do you do them subconsciously? Cause there are times that you do certain things out of habit, and those are something your child will also see and learn.
You may think that your baby is too young to learn about these things. Sure, you can trick yourself into thinking that, but these little babies are trying their hardest to learn about who they are, who you are, and how do I survive in this harsh world outside of their mom’s comfort.
As an example of this, my daughter (she is 15 months at the time of this writing in December 2019) has learned that helping out with the household chores is fun, giving is fun, smiling to people who are genuine to her. I had always been the one to have done as much of the housework as possible, I know my wife is super tired from consistently feeding her with breast milk. I would feel guilty if I don’t do my part in the family. She has fun, we get housework done, its a win-win scenario for me.
Being a good dad to your newborn takes effort, time, and dedication. It’s not something that you can see results overnight, strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be and the children will emulate that. Leave a comment below on what you think is being a good dad to a newborn.