Congratulations, you’ve just joined the ranks of being a dad. Your partner and new baby are finally home from the hospital, so now what? Here are five invaluable tips that will help you survive the first few weeks of fatherhood.
1. What to Expect
In short, the first few weeks with your newborn is full of uncertainty. What you can expect, however, is exhaustion. The baby doesn’t know the days from the nights, so he or she may be awake when you and your partner want to sleep. Team up and allow one another to rest. Give each other lots of grace, it’s a stressful time.
2. Say Yes
When you receive offers of help, accept them. Enjoy this time in your life; it’s one of the few times when your friends and family will want to cook for you and make your life easier. If someone asks what they can do for you, tell them. Let them walk the dog, fold the laundry, or cook that hot meal for you. This is your time to bond with your new baby and ease into fatherhood.
3. Be Forgiving
Exhaustion leads to shortened tempers. So this is an excellent time to forgive quickly. Your partner is going through this with you. Plus, she also went through childbirth. In addition to the exhaustion, her body is healing. If she is breastfeeding, her stress is multiplied. So, apologize just as quickly as you are forgiving right now.
4. Bonding Time
Newborns thrive on physical touch because it makes them feel safe and secure. Skin to skin contact with your baby will help calm them, while also stimulating brain development. Hearing your heartbeat brings your baby some comfort.
Be sure to take care during the night, though. While it’s tempting to sleep with your baby on your chest, your exhaustion could create a safety issue for your newborn. So, reserve this particular time for when you are awake.
5. Baby Care
Learn how to change that diaper. You can also wash bottles, refill supplies, or bring the hungry baby to mom when it’s time to feed him or her. Become comfortable with bathing and dressing your newborn. Showing your partner that you are her teammate during these first few weeks will set the stage for partnering throughout your parenting journey.
Your life will never be the same once your newborn comes home. You can look forward to many years of unconditional love, lots of laughter, and some challenges along the way. For now, focus on these next few weeks with your new baby. This time will pass quickly, so enjoy fatherhood as much as you can.