Tips for Dads this Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, 19th June and we want to celebrate Dad’s everywhere! Read our tips for becoming a dad.

Until recently, the role of fathers in a baby’s early months and years was less hands-on.  Today, fathers are much more present, engaged and enjoy an equal part of these treasured first years. 

From attending ante-natal classes, to helping at home during the early weeks and months after baby’s arrival, Dads are sharing the experience more than ever before. A united family unit, with shared responsibilities, is to be treasured and is hugely impactful on a baby’s development. 

When their partners are pregnant, Dads very much play the supporting role and can sometimes feel a little lost. The attention from family and friends, let alone medical professionals, is largely lavished on the mother to be and anxieties and concerns about impending fatherhood sometimes brushed aside. This can be compounded particularly initially after the gorgeous bundle arrives – where baby and mum are the focus! 

But, after the birth of a newborn life changes dramatically, for everyone! As a new Dad, life will never be the same again. The inevitable roller coaster of parenting brings joy, worry, tiredness and laughter. A huge learning curve for both parents, it’s all about taking one step at a time, working together and not being too proud to ask for help. You won’t know everything and you can’t do everything – it’s a huge learning experience!

Do what you can, speak to friends and family and look for trusted resources if you get stuck. There isn’t a manual for becoming a parent but there are many willing people and fantastic organisations around to help if needed.

Tips for becoming a dad this Father’s Day:

  • Breathe! – Whether you’re anxious or excited about the new arrival, breathing and keeping calm helps navigate the inevitable bumps in the road! 
  • Be open – Learn how to care for your baby, your partner and yourself. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone, listen to advice and trust your instincts. 
  • Plan – for baby’s arrival, but accept it may not go as intended. Be willing to change direction and accept that there is no single “right” approach! Each newborn is unique!
  • Make time for you – it’s very easy to lose sight of what keeps us grounded and sane! When sleep is scarce, try and carve out a little time for the things that matter to you. If running, going to the gym or having quiet time out is a necessity for you, if possible keep it up. Work together with your partner to ensure you can both enjoy some “you time”. 
  • Sleep – managing exhaustion is hard and a challenge for all parents. Be patient – it’s a moment in time and inevitable with a young baby! Uninterrupted sleep will return, but manage your expectations. Help yourself but setting realistic expectations, and organise night shifts with your partner. Perhaps take naps when you can too! 
  • Bond – whilst the mother baby bond can be quicker to establish, taking time to cuddle and comfort your baby as much as you can will help build the bond. Skin to skin newborn time is often credited for developing a deep bond between father and baby. Join in with all aspects of baby’s needs; bathing, nappy changing and feeding if possible.
  • Relationship – Your relationship with your partner may change for a while. You’re both tired, potentially nervous and anxious – you’re both learning about your new baby and this can be challenging. This is a gear shift not a change – you are both new parents! Keep up communications and encourage understanding in both of you! Perhaps encourage friends or family to take care of baby, even for a few hours so you can enjoy some one to one time together. 
  • Work – Juggling a newborn and work is hard. If you’re able to get paternity leave – take it. See if your employer can be flexible with working hours if broken sleep at nights is proving too much – could you go in later some days? Could you reduce your hours for a short time if needed? While not always possible, communication is key whatever the specific need. 
  • Feeling left out? – Partners can sometimes feel a little left. Where possible, talk to your partner and explore ways to share the parenting. If it’s possible for your partner to express some milk then you could both feed the baby; share nappy duties; take your baby for a walk; don’t forget, if you don’t already, you can also share the cooking and household chores! The more you’re involved, the less distant you’ll feel. 

Dads are a critical part of the triangle of parenting. We salute you and all that you bring to this magical human journey. 

Happy Father’s Day!

If you want some more advice there are plenty of good resources available, try Dads Matter UK , Best Beginnings, The Dad Pad.

17 June 2022