You’re a Dad! Now what?!? Becoming a father brings up a range of emotions and feelings: excitement, love, anxiety, fear, protectiveness, hope, pride, joy, grief…it can be quite the rollercoaster ride!
When a new baby is on the way (or has arrived) the focus is often on the Mother and the baby. A lot of Dad’s feel uncertain of their role in the early days and are unsure of how to help or what to do. How does one overcome this? By cultivating a loving and open heart and mind, harnessing your powers of observation, and by not being afraid to mess up! Babies do not come with a user manual; it is up to each parent to learn how to best care for each child they are blessed to parent.
Oxytocin, best known as the ‘love hormone’, plays a big role in a mother’s initial bonding with their child after birth. Recently, researchers have observed that the same spike in oxytocin occurs when fathers hold and play with their newborns! Here are a few lovely ways to facilitate an oxytocin boost.
There’s no better feeling than cuddling with your sweet babe on your chest. Remove your shirt, have baby in only a diaper, sit semi-reclined and place a blanket over you both. Baby should have their head turned to one side and their shoulders resting on or above Dad’s breastbone. This provides many benefits for the baby including accelerated brain development, calms, soothes and reduces stress, improves quality of sleep, enhances immune system, stimulates digestion and weight gain, synchronizes heart rate and breathing, and promotes psychological well-being. So get snuggling!
Bathe and change baby
Giving baby a bath is a great way for Dad to build a connection and bond with their baby, as well as changing their diapers! Making eye contact, chatting, smiling, and kissing the top of their head are all great ways for baby to get used to your touch, your voice, your energy, and your love.
Sing, talk, read, play
Babies love to hear the sound of your voice. Singing, talking, reading and playing right from day one help to establish connection and are the foundation for language development. Pick your favourite song and sing it to baby every day! Get some board books to read everyday. A few of our favourites are “Guess how much I love you” by Sam McBratney, “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, “Sometimes I like to curl up in a ball” by Vicki Churchill, and “The very hungry caterpillar” by Eric Carle.
Other ways Dad’s can offer support:
Keep the lines of communication open and remember that both you and your partner are learning how to be parents. Above all, enjoy this precious time! The newborn stage passes quickly, and while the days (and nights) can be long, there are so many sweet moments to cherish and memories to be created as a family.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dad’s out there!
Hi! I'm a Mama of 3, an Ayurveda Spa Specialist, Pre and Post Natal Yoga Teacher, Postpartum Facilitator, and Postpartum Doula. I am passionate about caring for birthers during the Sacred Window of postpartum, and educating others on how to care for the new families in their lives.