Moms have traditionally occupied the spotlight when it comes to caring for their babies. It’s understandable that new dads might feel intimidated by the task. Whether they’re putting diapers on them, burping them, or simply holding them while they fall asleep, new fathers are often tentative. They fear they’ll do something wrong.
If you’re a new (and nervous) father, rest assured that you’ll be a pro in no time. Here are three baby care tips that will give you a head start:
Tip 1 – Follow Your Instincts. They’re Usually Right.
First-time dads have a common fear when their babies are born: they don’t trust themselves. They’re accustomed to working on cars, firmly holding rusty tools, and neglecting the subtleties of a soft touch. Add to that the stereotype of the novice father giving his kids healthy slices of birthday cake for breakfast and the anxiety seems reasonable.
Trust your instincts. Parenting is largely about trial and error – for both you and your partner. You’ll make mistakes; expect them and learn from them. The worst thing you can do is surrender to your worries and allow your partner to compensate by handling the entire job. Get involved. You’ll be thankful you did when your child grows older.
Tip 2 – Learn Proper Handling Techniques
First, retire the anxiety that you’ll drop your baby. It rarely ever happens. Quite the opposite, you’ll find that holding him is instinctive. The key is to learn how to use your hands in order to properly support him. During his first month, his neck muscles will not be developed, which means he won’t be able to support his head. You’ll need to do it for him.
When you pick him up, slip one hand beneath his shoulder blades. Position your hand so that it’s holding his head while you slip your other hand behind his bottom. Then, lift him slowly.
Tip 3 – Learning To Swaddle
Swaddling is a relatively new parenting technique for soothing and comforting a fussy or frightened baby. Here’s how to do it: lay a small blanket on the floor and fold it so that it looks like a 3-pointed diamond. Position it so that one of the points is at the top. Fold that point down a fourth of the way. Next, lay your little one on his back and position him so his head is above the fold.
Loosely wrap the right end of the blanket over his right arm and place that arm on his chest. Then, bring up the point at the bottom so that it covers his feet. Lastly, wrap the remaining portion of the blanket (on your infant’s left side) around his right arm. A few tucks here and there, and your baby will feel as if he’s back in his mother’s womb.
Remember, parenting is a challenge as much as it is a joy. As a new father, look forward to the adventure of raising your baby. With a little attention and a lot of love, you’ll soon leave your first-time parenting fears behind you.