Advice for First Time Fathers: The Important Role Your Play in Your Baby’s Life

Father holding newborn baby

Advice for First Time Fathers: The Important Role Your Play in Your Baby’s Life

Welcoming a new life into the world is always a little bit nerve-wracking, and that is especially true for first-time dads!

If you’re nervous about being a first-time dad, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more about the importance of bonding with your newborn and tips for how first-time dads can help with newborns and moms.

The Importance of Bonding With Baby

It can be difficult for first-time dads to find their footing. Juggling work, helping mom, and bonding with the baby can feel overwhelming at times. However, father-infant bonding during the newborn stage is especially important to the social and emotional well-being of your child.

According to the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, successful father-infant bonding during the immediate postpartum period has been shown to have several benefits for the infant, including:

  • Reducing cognitive delay
  • Promoting weight gain in preterm infants
  • Improving breastfeeding rates

When fathers have quality time with their newborns, it can establish a sense of trust and emotional connection that’s essential for your baby’s emotional and social development. And as your baby grows up, this bond continues to be important. 

Speaking to PsychCentral, Nicholas Hardy, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist explains that when a father is active in their child’s life, that child grows up with a more positive identity and great self-esteem. Fathers are often some of the most important role models in their child’s life as well. They can demonstrate qualities such as responsibility, kindness, and empathy to set the stage for healthy relationships in the future.

As you can see, father-infant bonding is incredibly important for your relationship with your newborn and your partner. 

How Can Dad Help With Newborn at Home

Dad having skin-to-skin contact time with newborn

So, how much should a working dad help with baby? There’s no magic number of hours a father should be spending with his baby. You should be spending as much quality time with your newborn as you can!

Bonding with your newborn can be a precious time, and it can give your partner some well-deserved alone time. Here are some ways first-time dads can bond with their newborns and help support their partners.

Tips for First-Time Fathers to Bond With Baby

Bonding with your baby can be as simple as providing gentle physical contact. Time and time again, skin-to-skin contact has proven to help regulate your baby’s heartbeat and breathing as well as help with bonding. Nursing moms experience this type of contact regularly when breastfeeding, but dads may not realize how important skin-to-skin bonding is for them. 

According to research compiled by The Conversation, fathers who participate in skin-to-skin contact with their newborns experience lower levels of stress and enhanced father-infant bonds. Make sure to bond with your newborn through physical contact, holding, and cuddling. This is beneficial for both you and your baby!

A Role in Cognitive Development

Here’s some more advice for new dads: you can play an important role in your baby’s cognitive development. Fathers can engage in activities such as reading, singing, and playing with their newborns, which can help to stimulate cognitive development and language skills.

Parents Magazine reports how one particular study found that 6-month-olds who shared regular playtime with their fathers had more advanced vocabularies by age 3 than those who played only with their mom. 

And you don’t need to be a teacher to help with your newborn’s cognitive development. Simply reading to them, playing with blocks, and singing are all great bonding activities that can help your child learn important verbal and motor skills.

How Can Dads Help New Moms

Spending quality time with your newborn can also help you deepen your bond with your partner. When baby arrives, you can also help support your partner in addition to spending time with your newborn one on one. 

Here are some ways you dads can help new moms at home:

Tell her she’s doing great: Telling your partner you’re proud of her and that she’s doing a great job can go a long way. New moms, just like new dads, may often doubt themselves and their capabilities. Giving her praise and reminding her how much you love her is an easy way to support your partner.

Cook nutritious meals: It’s important for new moms to eat nutritious foods that can help them recover from labor and delivery and support breastfeeding. While she may be busier feeding baby, you can help by cooking meals that may help increase her milk supply and give her the energy she needs. 

Give her alone time: Sometimes, moms just need a minute to themselves. While you have quality time with the baby, encourage her to do something for herself like take a shower or watch her favorite show uninterrupted. 

Help around the house: Don’t let all the responsibilities fall on her shoulders. Help tidy up when you can and make sure you know how to give baby a bath and change their diaper. Even during breastfeeding, you can make sure your partner is comfortable and hydrated.

How Can Dad Help With Newborn at Night

New moms need both emotional and practical support during the postpartum period as they adjust and recover from labor and delivery. New dads can truly step up to help with household chores, care for older siblings, and provide encouragement and reassurance. 

Another area where dads can help new moms is with nighttime duties. Helping with baby at night can help mom sleep through the night. Taking overnight feeds and diaper duty can help your partner get the restful night’s sleep that they need as they recover from delivery. 

Surprise Your Partner With a Meaningful Gift

Show the new mom in your life appreciation for her effort with a piece of unique breastmilk jewelry from KeepsakeMom. Our selection of one-of-a-kind gifts celebrates that emotional, everlasting connection that can never be replaced.

Share this post