The first-times in our lives always bring about mixed feelings of anticipation, excitement, and worry. As fathers play increasingly bigger roles in caring for their newborns, becoming a dad for the first time can be daunting if there’s no early notice on what they should expect and manage. As such, we have consolidated a survival guide to help first-time dads conquer their virgin experience!
Help mom whenever you can
While taking care of a newborn can be a stressful experience for you, it is even more so for your spouse whose body is weak and exhausted after the childbirth. Any initiative from you in helping to take care of the newborn will be warmly welcomed. You can assist in showering, changing diapers, feeding formula milk, pacifying the baby and bringing him out for sunlight. In fact, feeding formula milk can help you bond with the baby, by adopting a nursing position and opening up your shirt to simulate breastfeeding. By helping your spouse with some caregiving duties, she can have more time for rest and recuperation.
Apart from helping to care for the newborn, you can even get involved in confinement and household duties! If you have a knack for cooking, you can surprise your spouse with a confinement meal! Spare your wife from household chores during her confinement period, if possible.
What if both of you have your plates full and cannot muster enough energy to balance childcare and housework? Consider engaging third-party professional help. For instance, CaregiverAsia has an umbrella of freelance caregivers providing customized services to clients. A confinement nanny is just a click away in the banner below!
Understanding your baby’s needs
In order to be an excellent first-time dad, you need to understand your newborn’s needs. How much milk should you feed your baby according to her age? How should you carry your baby so that she will be comfortable? The list of how-tos is never exhaustive; you’ll discover more questions to be answered as you go along. Therefore, we offered some pointers below which we hope will be helpful to you:
- What nutrition components should be present in infant formulas to ensure your baby is well-nourished?
- How warm and concentrated does your baby like the milk?
- How much milk should you feed per meal, and how many times should you feed per day?
- How should you carry your baby while feeding to ensure he does not choke?
- How much water should a newborn consume per day, apart from milk?
Toileting and bathing needs:
- How often should you replace your baby’s diapers in a day? (You shouldn’t replace only when the diaper is full)
- What should you look out for in a newborn’s diapers? (allergy to material, diaper size, ease off putting it on, absorbance, etc)
- How warm should the water be for bathing to prevent catching a cold?
- How should you carry the baby safely while bathing her?
- After bathing, how can you put on your baby’s clothes and diapers while she is moving about?
You are advised to pay close attention to your baby’s body language and facial expressions while taking care of her so that you will intuitively understand her needs. You can even talk to her to enhance her language and hearing development.
Never neglect your own needs!
Although your relatives and friends may be eager to adore your newborn, this is not the optimal period as both you and your spouse will be physically and emotionally drained from the daily caregiving. As newborns have weaker immune systems and more sensitive skin, exposing them to a big crowd heightens their risk of infections. A wise approach would be to wait until the baby is older (3 months old) with a stronger immune system.
Although you may feel it is your utmost responsibility as a father to take care of your baby whenever you can, you need to take a break from time to time to let your body rest and let your mind wander. If another family member offers help, accept it graciously. If you feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities, voice them out to a trusted family member or counselor, so that they may provide support and advice to resolve your concerns.
As you and your spouse are putting focus into your baby, relationship management may be on the sidelines. Make it a habit to check in on each other daily and manage expectations of each other.
Since dads are superheroes to their kids, it is even more important to take care of your health, so that you can continue to be the Superman in their eyes. If you need any professional help (confinement, home cleaning, etc), contact CaregiverAsia at +6258 6683 and we will be here to assist you!
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