Spending time with the baby

 
 
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Giving your baby your time and attention. Doing the caring for your baby is where the real gold is. Your baby needs you to hold them and talk to them. A dad needs to learn how to soothe a baby, change the nappy, bathe and put his baby to bed. Regular activities like these are what makes a great father.

Try to imagine the world from your baby's perspective. Imagine being that little and how you would like your dad to be with you.

Being a great father is also about being a good partner

What this means is:

  • Trying to imagine the world from her perspective

  • Accompanying her when you can to appointments and classes

  • Asking questions when you are there

  • Seeking out resources and information and discussing these with your partner

  • Get involved with the tricky stuff like trying to calm the baby when they cry, changing nappies, putting on some washing or making the dinner

  • Being ready to learn

  • Asking her how she's doing

  • Acknowledging the effort she makes

Being a great dad is good for you

Caring for your baby is good for you. According to Canadian research, an involved dad is more likely to:

  • Have more confidence as a parent

  • Enjoy his interaction with his child

  • Have lower stress

  • Have higher self-esteem

  • Drop some bad habits

  • Stop engaging in risky behaviours

  • Feel happier in his relationship with his partner

 

Also, when dad does a lot of caring for the baby, the mum is more likely to describe the family as being solid. And mums tend to feel warmer towards a partner who cares for and be responsible for the baby. Too much time with the baby can be exhausting. Even short breaks can make a mum feel renewed.

Being nice to your partner
 
 
 

It's good for your baby when their parents get on well. Even very young children feel it when their mum and dad get on well and are in this together. Showing that you appreciate your partner not only strengthens your relationship, but helps the baby feel secure and safe. And that's important for their developing brain.

If you have disagreements (everyone does), or even if you are not together with your partner, it's important that both of you talk to and treat each other with respect.

 

One way of showing your affection for your partner are random acts of kindness. Being kind to your partner can make you feel good, too. Being kind might mean:

  • Telling your partner that they are doing a good job

  • Telling your partner what you appreciate and admire about them

  • Noticing and congratulating them on what they are doing well

  • Arranging little ways that you can have fun together

  • Inexpensive gifts or treats fir her can make your partner feel appreciated

 

Being kind to your partner is important for the whole family. Having a positive relationship with your partner is not just about the two of you, it’s good for your baby, no matter how young they are. Your relationship is a very big part of your baby’s environment. A New Zealand study found that if the parents felt warmth for each other, their children were unlikely to suffer the developmental effects of serious trauma during their childhood. Maintaining as positive as possible atmosphere at home is one way of giving your baby what they need to thrive.

Talking things through

Things that weren’t important in the past might become points of conflict. The way you get through all of this is by talking things through - and compromising when you need to. Keeping silent can lead to one or both of you feeling resentful. Talk to each other.

 

"Women can’t hear what men don’t say" – Warren Farrell

Communicating is as much about listening as it is about talking. Hearing what is going on for her is important. Explaining what’s going on for you is important. This is not arguing or about scoring points. It’s about understanding how things are for each of you. If you are communicating well, it helps you be on the same page. It can help close any gap that may open up if either or both of you has too much to do and you are overworked.  

 

Couples strengthen their relationship by listening to each other. New parents’ lives are constantly changing and talking things through as you go will help you make the adjustments you need to make.