With all of the excitement surrounding the birth of a new baby, the focus often falls on the baby and the mother, which may cause dad can sometimes feel left out. If he doesn't know how to get involved, caring for a new baby can feel overwhelming, especially after a high-risk pregnancy and labor. For those men who are celebrating their first Father's Day today, here are a few tips for taking care of baby:
- Don't Undervalue Yourself
Many new dads make the mistake of thinking that they are less important to the health and happiness of their babies than mothers. Although newborns typically rely on mom for nourishment, fathers play an important role in development by engaging in different types of play.
- Get Smart
Dads who don't feel helpless or confused are much more likely to stay involved in the care of their children. Take a prenatal class. Talk to other new dads about their experiences. Just after, or even before, your baby is born, ask the nurses in the hospital to teach you how to properly change, swaddle, feed, and hold an infant. If you are learning these vital skills from medical professionals, you can be confident that you are doing everything right.
- Trust Your Instincts
Men can be just as intuitive as women when it comes to childcare. You will learn quickly what different cries sound like, how to comfort your baby, and when to let him cry for a minute. Every infant is different, and you will become an expert on your own baby in no time.
- Stay Healthy
It's no coincidence that Father's Day comes at the end of Men's Health Week! It can be stressful to navigate all of the major life changes happening at once. Do what you can to minimize the effects of stresses in your life and seek help if you feel depressed. Taking care of your own health, both physical and mental, benefits your entire family.
To find out more about maternity care, high-risk pregnancies, or neonatal care, contact Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in south Orange County at (949) 837-4500. We were named one of the top 100 hospitals in America in 2009, and our experienced team of OBGYNs, pediatricians, and neonatologists takes pride in providing exceptional care for your family.