First time dads New fathers: the importance of helping out December 27 2015
Sarah Megginson Sarah Megginson Author, journalist & editor

Helping out with your newborn not only gives your partner a break, it also helps strengthen the bond between you and your baby. Check out what you can do below.

Importance of bonding with your baby

When a new baby is born, there’s often a focus on the mother – so much so that new dads might feel like they don’t have much of a role to play during this part of their baby’s life. 

But studies show this is not the case at all. According to a paper published by Save The Children Australia, The State of Australia’s Fathers, dads who form closer attachments with their baby in the early months appear to be more involved parents down the track. 

Active involvement and interest in the baby from the father prior to birth can also have a positive impact on the mother’s mental health too, and it also helps their child’s mental health in later life. 

Research also suggests that dads interact with babies differently to mums and so help develop different skills in their children, such as more physicality, and a broader vocabulary.

Helping mum out

It’s not just the big things that make an impact, like taking leave from work to spend time with your family in those precious first weeks. It’s also the little things that add up as well. Things like running your wife or partner a warm bath, making her lunch, helping out with household chores and making her cups of tea without asking will help you look after her while she’s busy focusing on the baby.
A man vacuuming under the couch
It can also set the precedent for your newborn’s daily routine, as the earlier you get involved in their care, the more you’ll want to help out once bub is born.

Tips for helping out when baby arrives

Many men and women fall into traditional male–female roles after the birth of a child: fathers become the primary breadwinners while mothers are mainly caregivers. 

Here are some tips on how dads can get more involved when baby arrives.

1. Get involved in the baby's routine

Changing nappies, handling bath-time, playing with your little one or soothing your baby to sleep are great ways to bond with your child, while also giving your partner some much-needed downtime.

Before your baby is born, it can be helpful to speak with your partner about what roles each of you will take. Perhaps, after she’s fed the baby, you will put them to bed; consistent routines such as this can benefit you and your partner just as much as your baby.

2. Help out around the house

When a new baby comes onto the scene, things can tend to get quite chaotic, quite quickly. When the household chores start to stack up, it can become a source of tension between you and your partner. 

Taking on a greater share of the chores can make a big difference, or you could even look at outsourcing some of it to a cleaner if your budget allows.

3. Being positive and supportive

Supporting your partner emotionally can be the biggest help of all for a new mum. Staying positive and supportive during difficult periods is tough. Nothing puts stress on a relationship quite like the unique surge of hormones, and sleep deprivation that a newborn brings.

Complimenting your partner
 on what a wonderful mother she is can help boost her confidence, so take every opportunity to tell her how great she’s doing. 

Encouraging her when she’s upset or overwhelmed can also give her some comfort. When both parents are supporting each other, it makes for a much happier household. 
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Sarah Megginson Sarah Megginson Author, journalist & editor Sarah Megginson is an experienced author, journalist and editor, who specialises in writing about business, property, travel and parenting. She also loves tackling long-form projects, having edited or ghost-written 20-plus non-fiction books on topics as diverse as health and fitness, parenting, property and small business.