So you’re a father now and a little unsure what exactly you are required to do, perhaps? Not to worry. It’s only natural to feel a little strange around baby the first time. You might feel apprehensive about your parenting abilities, especially if you are a first-time daddy. But have no fears.
Playing daddy comes naturally to all fathers if they will only get over the feeling that they have nothing to do with baby, because baby has mummy. Nothing can be further from the truth. Both mummy and daddy play an equally important role in a baby’s life.
New research shows you can make a major positive impact right from the start. For instance did you know that babies first recognize their dads in the womb? That’s at about week 22! It appears that deeper male voices are easier to hear than female voices. So it’s so much better when you start the bonding even as baby is in the womb.
But sometimes you’re still not prepared for baby when she arrives. You may feel nervous around the newborn. Or you may be afraid to touch your baby because you have never done it before. The best way for you to get over the uneasiness is to hold your baby.
Here are some things you can do to get over the uneasiness:
- Hold and cuddle your baby
- Smile and laugh with your baby
- Play with your baby
- Talk to your baby. She’ll know your voice and know that you are her daddy. Change your baby’s diapers
- Cuddle with mom and your baby during breastfeeding
- When mom’s breast milk or formula has been put in a bottle, you can give your baby the bottle
- Cuddle with and talk and sing to your baby during bottle time
- Take your baby for a walk. Babies love the sights and sounds outdoors
When fathers are highly involved, their babies interact equally with both parents and more easily with strangers.
For example, one study showed that babies of 12 to 14 months who had fathers playing an active role in childcare were more sociable than babies with more distant fathers – both with their own parents and with outsiders.
A strong father-baby relationship makes for a better adapted, more confident, more sociable and brighter child.
Babies with strong attachments to their dads tend to have fewer behavioural problems later on. In fact, some studies suggest this relationship might have an even greater impact on the behaviour of pre-teen children than the mother-baby attachment.
Substantial father involvement from at least the first month after birth promotes better language development and better cognition skills among toddlers and young children.
Studies tell us that toddlers with involved dads fit in better at nursery and school, have higher IQs and fewer behaviour problems. They make friends more easily and are better able to understand how other people feel.
Later, they tend to have more contented love lives and better mental health, and to be less likely to get into trouble with the police. All this is true for girls as much as for boys.
You see, as a new dad, you have a significant role to play in taking care of your newborn right from day one. Your role is in no way minor. Not at all!
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.