Crikey your own baby

  Men often step back and let the women go for it when it comes to the baby. And your partner might appear to always know what to do and when and how to do it.

But because it all doesn't come to you in rush, don't be sidelined - or think that you should sideline yourself. Dads are just as capable of caring for their baby as  mums.

Men do things differently than women. That doesn't means that if we aren't doing it exactly like she does – we’re doing it wrong. Women somehow think that men are too rough and are going to break the baby. It's not true. There is a big difference between handling your baby like a man, and being too rough. Dads understand how to be with their baby. If you’re paying attention to what you’re doing - and that includes not having had too many beers, etc - you are probably doing it right.

Men have instincts about how to handle their baby that are just as good as women's. Stick up for yourself: your baby needs you!

 

Q: WHAT CAN DADS DO WITH A BABY?  A: EVERYTHING BUT BREASTFEED

Most men find having their baby respond to them is very rewarding.

Your baby will recognise you if you spend time with her. The dad who puts in the time will find their baby responds to him like she does to no one else, even to mum. But you have to be around and do the things with your baby - regularly. Babies learn by reptition.

What do you DO with your baby?

hold, cuddle and make eye contact play peek-a-boo and make faces
talk to him change his nappy
wind and settle her after feeding tell her stories
give him a gentle massage take him for walks
read to her put her to bed
give him his bath dress him
soothe her when she’s crying or unsettled be consistent
take him in the car take her to the doctor
sing to her simply be there!

There is not a lot more to it. Any dad can do these things.

Routines are good

Routines help a baby make sense of their world, so that everything isn't just random. Routines around the baby make life around the house less chaotic.

TALKING TO YOUR BABY IS SMART!

Talking to the baby develops the same parts of his brain that make him clever. Talking to the baby (well before he is capable of talking himself) teaches him how to listen and recognise that sounds coming from people’s mouths have meaning. He begins learning to speak by trying to mimic his father and mother when they talk to him. Talking to a child develops his cortex, and specifically the part of his brain that he will later use to learn to read and do maths. Talking to your baby in a friendly way, explaining things to him, telling him he’s clever - is what actually makes him clever.

Talk to your baby about what you are doing with him. Explain that you are going to change his nappy or that it's going to be time for his babth soon. Telling him what's coming up gives him time to adjust to what's coming next. This ist being respectful of your baby and and helps him work with you.

THE HOME INVADER …

                                      

Some men love their baby instantly … but for most of us it takes some getting used to. The baby brings big changes to our lives and relationship, and these changes are challenging.

Men are often surprised about how much of everyone's attention stays on the the baby…all the time! It's 'baby this' and 'baby that', as though nothing else matters. And for most mothers - nothing else is more important than their baby. That puts you, her partner, in 2nd place…and it might seem like a distant second! You may feel left out and even jealous of what feels like you have lost in your relationship with your partner. But there are gains as well. You now have a baby in common with your partner - and that is very special.

Hey, a baby is always a far bigger deal than you thought it would be. You thought it would be a bit of an adjustment when suddenly you find everything is different. And you're not sure if it's all for the better. Fair enough.

Settle. Don't worry. It's the same for everyone. What is certain is that both of you will be changing as the baby. Staying connected to your partner is an important part of having a baby. Babies put a lot of stress on relationships. You may not be able to control how you feel, but you can control how you respond.

If you don't 'get' your baby yet …

Some women fall in love with their baby before they are even born - but many women don't 'get' there baby at first, either. One study found that 40% first time mothers first reaction to their baby was indifference.

Guys may feel overwhelmed by a new sense of responsibility - and don't feel a close emotional connection with the baby. You might wonder how your partner can be so infatuated with that little wrinkly thing. For guys, the baby is more of a concept … until she is actually born.

                                                             

When you start doing  things with your baby and she smiles at you or is comforted when you hold her and talk to her or she listens when you sing to her - that's when the magic starts to happen. 

Sticking with it …

Being there for your partner and baby at this early stage will increase your partner's trust in you. You are building something that is greater than what you had before. Many men sense that as they create their family, they are creating new meaning in their own life.

The love of a baby does not diminish the love in our hearts for others - it increases our ability to love. It expands our hearts … if we let it.

NOT MISSING OUT …

The man who has the best relationship with his son or daughter is the one who gives them his time and attention. You don't develop a better relationship with your kids by buying them the most toys. And it's hard to 'be there' for you child if you spend their  childhood away from them  - whether it is your work or your play.

Even though your baby won’t have conscious memories of his earliest years, he knows if he felt secure (or not) and if he was loved (or not). Being loved builds character. Your baby needs your love.

The greatest thing you can do for your baby is to be right in there with her, as much as you can…paying attention to her, playing with her, talking to her. This makes her a stronger, more resilient human being.

On the other hand …

If you decide to spend more time at work because it's too chaotic at home or to cover the bills…or if you carry on spending nearly as much time as you always did with your mates or sport and don’t make time for your baby – you lessen the chance of developing a strong connection with your child. Just being under the same roof is not enough. It's your loving attention he needs.

Some men think they'll wait until the 'baby period' is over befoe they can have fun with their child. Men who do that miss out. Children change everyday. They are only tiny wee things once…when they are grown past it, it doesn't come back. 

 

contact@greatfathers.org.nz

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Breastfeeding
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