- Help your wife/partner develop a postpartum plan.
- Make decisions together.
- Consider the assistance of a postpartum doula.
- Accompany mom and baby to all postpartum doctor visits.
- Get involved with the shopping, cooking and meal planning.
- Help the siblings at home adjust to the baby and their changing roles.
- Make sure mom and baby are taken care of.
- Support your wife/partner if she is breastfeeding.
- Encourage her while she and baby learn to breastfeed.
- Schedule an outpatient appointment with the breastfeeding support program.
- Talk to your dad or another older father about what it was like when he first became a father.
- Talk with your wife/partner about her expectations of you as a father.
- Identify a sitter that both you and mom trust then plan regular “date nights” together.
- Buy and read a book on child development.
- Play with your child every day.
- Regularly talk to your wife/partner about your child’s intellectual, physical and emotional development.
- Sign up for an infant CPR class; educate yourself on how to detect illness and how to handle medical emergencies.
- Remember you cannot do it all! Ask for help.
Help the family continue to communicate and work together.
- Schedule time to just “be together” as a family or to be with individual family members.
- Decide together what you are going to do during that time. Remember that the time together is more important than the activity.
- Save plenty of energy for family time.
- Take the time to notice the exciting things your baby is learning.
- Spend quality time with your older children.
- Teach your older children how to “gently” play with the new baby.
- Talk to your baby early and often; this is your newest family member.
Establish a support team of family members and friends.
- Your primary “teammate” is your wife/partner.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help.
- Feeling jealous and left out is normal.
- Share your feelings with her.
- Talk to other fathers who have been through similar experiences.
- Fathering an infant involves sacrifice and requires patience.
- Remember your wife/partner may be exhausted from giving birth and may be the least responsive she will ever be.
- Be prepared to put some things on “hold,” especially eight hours of sleep.
- Maintain a sense of humor.
Remember to nurture your needs.
- Rest as needed. Taking care of yourself is the best way to have the extra energy you need to be a new dad.
- If your job permits, take time off work after the baby is born.
- Accept help from friends and relatives.
- Continue to eat a healthy diet and resume your regular physical activities.
Bond with your baby often.
- Demonstrate affection with touch.
- Hold and kiss your baby often.
- Talk to your baby in a soft, steady voice while showing the baby your face.
- Pick up and hold your baby close to you.
- Sing or hum to your baby.
- Take your baby for a walk in a stroller.
- A healthy bond will give your baby great security now.