Learn how to support your husband when he becomes a dad
Becoming a new mom isn’t easy.
But you’ve also had 9 months to get used to the idea of being a mom and to bond with your baby. Now baby is here, your husband has to play catch up and step up to being a dad.
And you can help him become a great dad with these 8 easy and simple tips. Mama, supporting your husband in his new role as a father is going to make life happier for YOU and your new baby.
Sounds good, right??
1. Help Your Husband Bond With Baby
It must be hard for new dads not to feel like a spare part when baby is glued to your boob all day.
So, how can we encourage our husband and new baby to bond?
Here are some easy tips:
1. Skin to Skin
This one is not just for moms!
There are so many benefits to skin to skin time – it helps to calm baby, synchronizes heart rate, provides pain relief.
And skin to skin time with dad is also beneficial. So in those precious early days, let dad and baby snuggle up and let that feel-good hormone oxytocin flow!!
2. Read to Baby
Yes, it truly is never too early!
Holding baby close and letting baby hear dad’s voice is a great way for them to bond. Here’s a great guide to reading with your new baby.
And here are some adorable books to start with:
- Baby Einstein Explore and Discover Soft Book Toy
- Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest
- On the Night You Were Born
3. Play with Baby
Here’s where dads can shine! And yes, you can play with a newborn!
Babies respond well to music and gentle dancing. And don’t forget silly faces, tickling, cooing and hugs and kisses. And as baby grows and becomes more alert, they need more stimulation.
4. Carry Baby
Babies love to be held in close. But it doesn’t always have to be mom doing the carrying. So invest in a good baby sling and let dad ‘wear’ baby as he goes about his normal routine.
Here’s a great budget-friendly sling that can be used from birth.
Another way for dad to bond is to decide together that dad is in charge of a certain baby task, like bathtimes. That’s a fun one!!
2. Leave Dad Alone With Baby
OK, I’ll admit it – this might be a kinda scary one for you.
You’ve carried baby for 9 months. And now the thought of being out of baby’s sight for even a second is going to make you a little nervous. But letting dad have alone time with baby is important for so many reasons:
- Dad and baby get to bond without distraction
- Dad gets a glimpse of what you go through every day – why won’t baby stop crying??
- Dad has space to start to figure out his own way of doing things and his own parenting style
- Dad can get used to playing with baby without feeling silly that someone is watching.
Remember that dad will make mistakes – we ALL do. But showing that you trust him with baby is an important step in helping your husband to be a great dad. Just don’t let him call it ‘babysitting’!
And, by the way, trusting him also means listening to his suggestions.
You’ll both have different parenting styles, but that doesn’t mean that either one of you are ‘doing it wrong’.
If you’re breastfeeding, check out my helpful post on freezing and storing breast milk – so you don’t have to worry about baby going hungry.
3. Create Charts and Checklists
An easy way to help your husband to get more involved with baby is to set up routine charts and checklists.
Simple charts showing baby’s naptime, bathtime, playtime or feeding routines can give your husband a bit of help and boost his confidence. Especially when he’s alone with baby. Then your husband has the option of following the routine or going with the flow and figuring out something new.
You don’t need anything fancy – you can find lots of free printables on Pinterest. Or you can make your own and hang them up with some cute washi tape.
4. Be Honest
Becoming a new parent blindsides us all. No matter how many times you used to babysit – or read the Baby-Sitters Club books!
And no matter how many books or blog posts you read, nothing quite prepares you for the real thing.
Especially that intense first week at home with a new baby.
So if you’re struggling with baby, be honest with your husband. It might be a relief for him to hear that you don’t have some kind of magical mommy wisdom that knows all the answers!!
Knowing that you are both learning together helps to give your husband the space and confidence to grow into his new dad role.
Here are some life saving posts for new moms and dads:
- 23 clever baby hacks you’ll wish you’d known sooner
- What I wish I’d known before having twins
- How to get baby to sleep through the night
5. Help with Breastfeeding
Dads CAN help with feeding baby even if you decide to breastfeed. You could pump milk so that dad can take over one or two feeds a day. This gives dad a role, helps him bond with baby, and gives you a break. Double win!
And don’t forget to let dad help burp baby after the feed is done. Dad could also take over the breastfeeding and diaper tracking when he’s at home.
In the early days, it’s important to track how much baby eats, and how many wet and dirty diapers they produce. You can find out more about why – and how – to track here.
6. Postpartum Depression – Dads Suffer Too
Did you know that dads can get postnatal depression too?? It’s called Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) and it’s very real. In the US, one in four new dads are thought to suffer.
PPND is caused by changes in hormones and of course the huge life change of becoming a parent. Sadly it often goes unnoticed, but symptoms to look out for include:
- Withdrawal from family, social situations and previously enjoyed hobbies
- Anger and irritability
- Panic attacks
Read more about PPND and the symptoms to look out for here. Helping your husband get the support he needs is vital to him fulfilling his fatherhood potential.
7. Be Patient
This is a huge one – for both of you. You’re both adjusting to a huge life change – even if he isn’t recovering from the physical trauma of childbirth!
So try to be patient with each other, and give each other time and love to adjust to your new roles.
And yes, I know this is difficult when you’re both sleep deprived and hormonal. Make sure you accept all the help you are given from friends and family – especially in that first postpartum week.
8. Keep Communicating
Keep those lines of communication open. Firstly, don’t suddenly expect dad to be a mind reader. So, let dad know how he can help you.
And don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ when he does help you – it’s nice to be appreciated.
Secondly, do let him know when you’re struggling. And listen out for him letting you know that he’s struggling.
And lastly, let him have his bad days, too. If he wants to share about how he had a bad day at work, he’ll probably needs to get stuff off his chest.
Jumping straight in with ‘my day was worse’ isn’t helpful. It’s not a competition!
Good luck, mama!!
Simple Ways to Help Your Husband Be a Great Dad
These are some powerful tips, right? And, mama, I get it!
Helping your husband become a great dad when you’re only just figuring out how to be a mom can seem overwhelming.
But letting dad step up to the mark will give you space to become a great mom. And it could help baby-proof your marriage too!!
Now I want to hear from you – which tip you’re going to try first. And let me know if I missed anything – do you have a great tip to help your husband be a great dad? Let me know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to pin for later.