You are not simply bringing a child into this world. This is your legacy, your gift to the world.
But, what the hell do you do with a newborn? What do they need?
Here, I look at 10 100% essential newborn baby tips for dads.
Being a dad to a newborn can be overwhelming. The stress levels are high, the focus on you is intense, the relationship between dad and newborn is fresh, and money seems to fall out of your wallet for new baby equipment you didn’t even know existed!
Take a deep breath, because I have you covered here with tips that I wish I knew before I started this journey.
10 Newborn Baby Tips For Dad
Here are the top 10 things dads need to know about newborns.
Learn What Do Do When The Baby Is Crying
One of the biggest concerns for any new father is knowing what to do when your baby cries.
Some guys will hand the kid back over, but that isn’t how you should play it. Especially if you want a close bond with your newborn.
Babies cry for lots of different reasons:
- Uncomfortable (Full diaper, for instance)
- In Pain
- Lots more reasons no one will ever know about!
Your job is to figure out how you need to act in every one of those situations. Then, when your newborn cries, you can cycle through each response until you get it right. Babies can test the patience of a dad!
If your baby is crying, the first question should be, ‘when did they last eat.’ Most of the time, you will have the reasons straight after.
They are hungry, go feed them!
Next up, check their diaper is not full up. Babies get cranky if they are uncomfortable.
One of the biggest tips I can give any new dad is to put together several routines. Dad’s role with a newborn is to be the king of routines!
It would help if you had a routine for:
- Leaving The House
Creating a routine will give your newborn a sense of what to expect. They have eyes and will begin noticing patterns in your behavior. We, humans, love a pattern.
People look for patterns! Even babies!
If your newborn is hungry or tired and sees you kicking off the ‘feeding routine,’ it may placate them for a few minutes. Good luck with that!
Know Where Everything Is
To know how to be a dad to a newborn, you need to know where the newborn stuff is kept. Know where all of the following items are:
- Baby clothes
- Baby wipes
- Diaper bags
- Feeding equipment
When your baby is crying because they are hungry or dirty, the last thing you want to do is add extra stress into your home by shouting requests to mom because you can’t find what you are looking for!
Being organized is a key life skill and one that should be practiced until it becomes second nature. Trust me, I am still practicing…
Hold Your Newborn Close
If you are like me, you will want to build a strong, early bond with your newborn. You can do this by holding your newborn close to you. Building a bond is high on the list of newborn advice for dads! This is where the bond begins.
That may be some father and baby skin-to-skin time, feeding, sleeping, or simply taking a walk.
Hold your newborn close, so they become used to you.
Check out some awesome (and affordable) baby carriers; the two options are carriers or slings. Both options will help to create a good bond.
Learn Cleanliness (For The Newborn Equipment)
Whether your baby is breastfed or is fed with formula, you are certain to use feeding equipment. This is especially true if mom plays to express milk so you can feed your newborn at night too!
Learn what equipment needs to be sterilized and how to do it. Babies are fresh out of the womb and are prone to illness. Sterilizing their feeding equipment will limit the chances of picking up a nasty bug.
I recommend the Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer because it is cheap, effective, and simple!
Three things in life are certain. Death, taxes, and your kid making you angry!
If you have a short fuse then now is the time to put some steps in place to rectify that.
Do whatever it takes, take yoga classes, go and speak to someone, or learn to walk away for a few minutes to calm down (huge tip)!
Kids will get on your nerves, and they will push your buttons. You are the grown-up, and they will learn from you.
Don’t teach them to be angry! It only makes them angry.
Learn Warning Signs For Sickness
I mentioned above that newborns are prone to picking up an illness. It is because they are no longer protected in the womb, and their immune system has not had a chance to build immunity from outside viruses/bacteria.
I suggest you learn some warning signs of the real significant illnesses your newborn could pick up.
Sure, they will get the sick bug and pick up a cold, but it is the big hitters you need to be aware of.
I am talking about life-threatening health issues here. I won’t pretend to know how to fix them, but I recommend you read this article on the symptoms to watch out for during the baby and toddler years.
Learn Some Newborn First Aid
Get yourself along to a newborn first aid course. I attended one before the birth of my son. It gave me confidence that I know what to do in an emergency.
Without some basic newborn first aid knowledge, you are riding your luck!
What would you do if your child was choking? How about if they stopped breathing?
You can read as many articles as you want, but they will not teach you as much as you would learn by attending an infant first aid course.
Practice – Car Seat/Stroller
Practice makes perfect. When you pick up mom and newborn from the hospital, you want to slip the car seat into the car like a boss.
Now is the time to practice this, and now is also the time to practice putting the car seat on top of the stroller, folding it, and fitting it into your car.
Know Feeding Process
How often do you need to feed your baby? When was the last time you fed them?
How do you even feed a baby?
Mom is born with some natural help with this problem, but we guys are not. We have to learn. One of the best and most essential baby tips for new fathers is learning their feeding patterns and processes!
If you are breastfeeding, then mom will do most of the work. Breastfeeding does open up the possibility of expressing milk which will allow you to be involved in the feeding process.
Newborn babies can feed up to 12 times every day. After each feed, they will need to be burped (check here for burping instructions)
Newborn Baby Tips For Dads FAQs
Can Dads Do Skin-To-Skin?
100% yes! It is something that every new dad should do as soon as possible. Remove your top and lay your newborn on your chest.
Do Babies Know Who Their Dad Is?
This is a difficult one to answer! We can only guess that a baby will know their dad by the sounds of their voice. Once their hearing has developed in the womb, they will listen to what is happening in the outside world. They hear one of the most common noises and mom and dad’s voices. It is likely to be very soothing to them during the early weeks!
How Can I Be A Good Father To My Newborn?
Care for your child, and show them much love and affection. Be a leader and a rock. Make decisions. Do not take yourself too seriously. Do not be a dictator. Treat everyone with respect. Your child must love you and respect you, not fear you. These are all examples of being a good father.
If you have memorized these 10 newborn baby tips for dads, you are on the path to fathering greatness!
I must warn you, it is just the start.
If you still have time, you should put together your new dad survival kit now! It will help you to prepare for fatherhood. Then I suggest reading my rookie dad’s guide to newborns.
Most of what you learn now will not be needed in a few years when replaced with stuff you need to know for a toddler, pre-teenager, then teenager!
Time moves very quickly when you are a parent, so my last advice is this:
Cherish the moments you share with your newborn. They are only this little once. Enjoy the moments when they cannot crawl, or walk. You know where they are, and you know they are not doing something dangerous! This moment does not last long.