When a baby is born
So is a mother … And So Is a Father…
One of the most important things a father can do is to spend significant amounts of time in contact with his baby this encourages oxytocin and in turn encourages the father to want to be more involved with his child.
Sometimes it is hard for the father to know what to do when a new baby arrives. Often it can feel like the breastfeeding or birth parent is the only person who can do everything with the newborn baby but learning early and getting the other parent involved as soon as possible can make a huge difference to the whole family. One of the most important things you need to accept is that you cannot do it all on your own. It is also important to know that you are not selfish for needing and wanting some time to yourself.
Before the age of 3 months, babies are happy to go to any caregiver. After 4 months they will tend to prefer certain people and will learn to distinguish the primary caregiver from the secondary caregiver but will still be happy to accept care form anyone.
Involving the father and partner from the very beginning is going to help your baby accept care from others. The easiest time to build up the involvement with others within your family is before they start to show a preference towards one caregiver (around 7 months). However, this can still be achieved with older babies.
How to help your partner to become more involved.
Help your partner to become part of the bedtime routine, including a gentle bath, pj’s, maybe a song and bottle or handed back for breastfeeding. After feeding the father can finish off with winding and placing your baby into bed. As time goes on encourage your partner to do the whole of the bedtime on their own. Not only will this lead to both parents taking turns at bedtime it will prevent you becoming the only one who can put baby to bed. It will also build upon confidence which will in turn encourage him to help more in the future.
It is important to remember that your partner may not always do things the way you like them but that does not mean that they are doing them wrong. It just means that they have a different way of doing them.
Try not to criticize your partner, especially in front of your little one, let them find their way.
Consider giving them time to take your little one for a walk or even to look after baby on their own for a while so that you can take some much-needed time for yourself especially at the weekend, where you can take turns to get that lie in in the morning.
And remember that your night is built during the day, the more connection he gets during the day the more time they spend together the easier it will be for them to help with the bedtime routine.