Much of the newborn care in the first few weeks often relies on you, Mom, but at some point, Dad will have to get involved as well. The opportunity for dad to take care of baby means some much needed break for you and bonding time for them. It’s not always easy to think of how Dad can start being more involved in baby care, but here are 5 creative ideas on how you could do that to benefit everyone involved.
1. Start the Involvement Early
Don’t make the pregnancy announcement all about you. After all, Dad did contribute in making it happen! That being said, make sure that Dad is just as involved as you in the announcement. If you’re planning to do a gender reveal party, take suggestions on how you’re going to do it from him as well.
Moms get baby showers, but it’s good to get Dads involved in all the excitement early, too. Think of it as a bachelor party, but instead of pre-wedding it’s a pre-birth thing. So it’s more of a Dad-chelor party. 😉 Have some of his closest guy friends throw him a party, and have them plan what they want to do. It can be a cookout, a simple hang out at the man cave, etc. You can also suggest to his friends to have a baby-related event, especially if they are dads as well, but ultimately the decision lies on them. This way, you’re not the only one who gets a party that has to do with the baby’s pending arrival.
You can also get Dad involved in the planning by asking him to come with you to pick the decorations for baby’s room, as well as when you’re shopping for the necessary items that you need to prepare before the baby arrives. The point being, his Dad status also begins long before the birth. That means, getting him involved this early means that you’re also setting him up for more responsibilities and dad duties once the baby is born.
2. Let Dad Take Charge
Once Dad is comfortable with his parenting duties, it will do the both of you some good to allot time to leave baby in daddy’s care. It may go against your instincts as a mom to leave dad alone with your baby for extended periods of time without having to constantly tell him what to do, but if you believe in your mom instincts, it would be good to believe that Dad’s paternal ones will kick in too. So let Dad figure out some things on his own, and take this time to get a little down time of your own!
3. Give Him Some Fun Tasks
Of course, both Mom and Dad have to figure out the daily nuances of taking care of the baby like diaper changing, burping, and so on. But every once in a while, it would be good to allow dad to experience some of the more fun tasks like giving baby a bath, reading or singing to, or playing with the baby. It would be a great way for them to bond, and it helps take some of the tasks off your hands. You can still be present for these activities, just not the one helming the ship.
4. Give Regular Assignments
Since both of you are learning the ropes together, it’s a good idea to set some clear tasks that’s assigned specially to Dad. This way, he will be more involved with taking care of your baby, instead of just asking him to do things when you can’t. These tasks can include burping, putting baby to sleep at nap time, diaper changing at certain points in the day, and more. This will allow dad to learn things on his own and have more bonding time with the baby.
5. Don’t Give Him A Hard Time
It’s normal that the hormones will make you irritable after the birth, but don’t make it an excuse to constantly take out your bad moods on dad. Remember that the situation is as foreign to him as it is to you, and that you are both learning from the experience together. Treat him as your teammate and don’t criticize his parenting skills, because that can reduce his motivation and desire to be involved in taking care of your baby. If anything’s wrong, your baby will let the both of you know.
There you have it, involving Dad doesn’t start after childbirth, you can also do something to involve him at the earliest points of the pregnancy from the announcement to when the birth is coming up. And once your baby is born, it will make it easier for the both of you: for you to allow him to take charge more, and for him to be more confident in his parenting skills.