So you’ve recently become a new father — or, perhaps, you are about to begin the journey to fatherhood. Becoming a new dad for the first time can often be a daunting prospect, especially if you were devoid of a good role model growing up.
Research tells us that approximately 47 percent of fathers today still believe that their role in the first three years of their child’s life is that of a helper rather than a primary caregiver. I would suggest to fathers everywhere that you begin to embrace the idea of being a hands-on dad and realize that you were never meant to be simply a helper. Your intimate involvement from the first day of your child’s life is just as vital as that of your child’s mother.
With this in mind, I’m going to give you ten of the best tips I can that will greatly support your journey.
1. Connect with your child during the pregnancy. Those first nine months of your child’s life that begins inside your partner are wonderful opportunities to begin connecting with your new baby. Softly stroking the stomach and speaking gently to your soon-to-be-born bub will let him know that the environment he is about to come into is warm and welcoming.
2. Participate in the birth. Gone are the days when the dad would wait outside while his baby was born. Your role is to be right by your partner’s side, holding her hand and giving any support you can. The arrival of your beautiful child is a moment that no father should ever miss.
3. Welcome your baby. Helping to prepare the nursery for the arrival of your new baby is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your partner and shows your commitment to making sure your baby feels loved and welcomes into the family home.
4. Change your baby’s diapers. Being a hands-on dad means plenty of kinaesthetic involvement. It’s vital that you feel comfortable and confident holding and cuddling your new baby. A baby wants to feel the strong hand of her dad coupled with his gentle voice and soft heart. Changing diapers and giving warm baths are all vitally important to begin to connect deeply with your new arrival.
5. Reassure your child with a smile. In those early months your new arrival will begin to focus in on your face and will recognize vital facial expressions that tell him whether his world is safe or not. A loving, calm reassuring smile will mean the world to a distressed, crying baby and will go a long way to soothing the moment.
6. Start heart entertainment. Try and hug your little one as often as you can — your chest against your baby’s. A good time is in the shower when your baby can feel your skin on his. Hold your child close to your beating heart, and this will begin a heart entertainment between you that is sure to last a lifetime.
7. Create a peaceful environment. Try not to argue in front of your baby. Keep her world as peaceful as you can. Soft music rather than a loud TV will help enormously.
8. Embrace bedtime. As children begin to grow, make bedtime one of the most important times to connect with them. Bedtime stories are a great way to send your kids off to sleep — begin reading to them as early as possible. There is so much more being communicated than just the words.
9. Remember that love is everything. Surround your children in a sea of love. Not only with you kids, but with your partner as well. Remember, your children are watching you all the time.
10. Fatherhood is the greatest gift! Nothing compares to being a dad. It allows you to feel the deepest love imaginable, and gives you the greatest opportunity to invest your life in someone else’s. Enjoy every moment you can, before your very eyes. Your most wonderful memories will be of holding your children for the first time, looking into their eyes and feeling the unconditional love that only a baby can bring.
I wish you nothing by joy and happiness in your journey ahead
Darrell Brown is the author of the highly acclaimed, Amazon #1 bestselling book Raised By Our Childhood Voices (darrellbrown.com.au).
Share your thought and experiences as an expectant or new dad! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.