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Feeling involved as a new dad

Maya Griffiths

Maya Griffiths

When you’re not the one giving birth and being fussed over, it can be easy to feel somewhat left out of the exciting process of becoming a parent.

Here’s how to feel fully included as your baby’s dad- because you are vital to their well-being and happiness and have a critical role to play for the rest of their life.

Mum= number 1?

Mums are often seen as the most important parent, but you as a dad have an equal role. Your baby needs you just as much as their mother.

You might assume that your partner has it sussed when it comes to parenting, but chances are she is in the same boat as you are, learning as you go along. This, therefore, means you both can find your feet as parents together, supporting each other with everything from feeding to trips to the health visitor.

If you are not together any more with your baby’s mum, there are still a variety of ways to bond with your child. It doesn’t matter if you’re separated, your child loves and needs their dad.

Ways to feel included as a new dad

  • Holding and helping look after your baby is a vital part of the bonding experience. You might feel fearful holding a tiny baby for the first time. However, as long as you are gentle and support their head you’ll be ok!
  • Trying ways of soothing your baby can be a really rewarding for both of you. Remember that your baby will know the sound of your voice already from being in the womb. Therefore, they’re already familiar with you. Chatting to your baby even if they don’t know what you’re saying can be a great way to build closeness. Don’t be afraid to also be the one to cuddle them when they’re upset.
  • After the birth, try some skin-on-skin time. Let your baby rest on you so they can hear your heartbeat and get to know your smell. It also helps them relax.
  • Try baby massage. It can be a really good way to help soothe your baby and build the bond between you.
  • Be playful! After 6 months of age babies will love the physical things that dads are so good at. So, lift them up like an aeroplane, bounce them up and down, or make them laugh. Blow raspberries on their chests, pull funny faces- anything that will give them a giggle.
  • Spend time with them on their level. Even at the baby stage you can read children’s books to your little one, and they will enjoy looking at the pictures and listening to your voice. You can also sit with them while they explore and play; maybe build up stacking cups for them to knock over, or hold things for them to look at and explore.
  • Help feed your baby. If their mum is breastfeeding, you can feed them expressed milk, or do bottle feeds. By taking an even share of those responsibilities, you are fully involved in parenting and bonding.
  • Don’t forget to help with the nappies! It’s a gross but necessary part of parenting made all the more fun if you can do some baby tickling after cleaning them up!

Helpful links

To speak to other dads, have a look at our forum.

For more Dad.Info help on becoming a new dad, click here.

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