Oh, daddy. We know that look; that look of exhaustion and sheer deliriousness at this thing called fatherhood. You know the one. You’re probably not sure how to assume your role of daddy at this point. No matter what your wife seems like she was biologically programmed to take on motherhood from the moment your baby arrived. But you see, it takes dads a little while longer to slip into their new roles, and that’s perfectly okay. For the moment though, why don’t you let us jump over and tell you what we know? We promise to make it better with this new dad survival guide.
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Holding Your Baby
If you’re a first-time dad, you can be consumed with paranoia at the thought of holding your baby the wrong way. As a new dad, you may tend to hold your baby in the same position all day, every day, despite feeling like the blood circulation in your hand has been cut off. But hey, remember this. Babies are delicate but they aren’t fragile. As long as you support your baby’s neck, you can rotate her around in various holds. Rest her on your shoulder, rock her in your arms or lay her down along your stretched out legs. Your baby has a mind of her own and if she doesn’t like what you’re doing, she’ll make sure to let you know. Like mommy, like baby, eh?
Changing Your Baby’s Diaper
When you’re at home, try to be actively involved in caring for your baby. Start with changing her diaper. Ah, but how do you know when to change it? Well, a squishy, inflated diaper is a telltale sign that your baby has left you a little gift. It’s wise to erect a changing station stocked with diaper supplies near your baby’s crib. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Even a high table can serve well; high, because this will save you from bending over every time you need to extract a diaper or essential from the unit. When you do begin your cleaning routine, make sure you have all your essentials by your side: wipes, lotion, a clean diaper and possibly a change of clothes.
Bathing Your Baby
Your newborn doesn’t need to be bathed daily; just once or twice a week should suffice. When your baby is about two weeks old, the stub leftover from her umbilical cord will naturally fall off. Until this happens, the safest way to clean your baby is by using a sponge. Little babies have sensitive skin, so you won’t be using any soap just yet. A wet sponge and lukewarm water are all you need.
Burping Your Baby
Babies inadvertently swallow air when they feed, causing discomfort in their little bodies. There are various ways you could burp your baby. If you prefer to be seated while you burp her, sit her down sideways on your lap, your right hand on her chest with her chin clasped between your thumb and index finger. Then, rub her back repeatedly until the gas makes its way out. It’s one of the sweetest sounds you’ll ever hear, and well worth a mention in your book of daddy accomplishments.
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Pacifying Your Baby
When it comes to pacifying your baby, you’ll likely develop your own methods in time. However, a newborn cry is usually tethered to an unfulfilled need. It’s your baby’s way of telling you that she’s hungry or sleepy or tired or uncomfortable. Something, anything. If you do find the cause, you’ll know how to address it, but if you’re still in the dark even after reviewing the usual touchpoints, there’s nothing better than skin-to-skin contact. Pick your baby up and rock her gently from side to side. Sing her a song or talk to her in soft murmurs. Babies love warm touch and familiar voices.
Baby care is an essential art that ought to be learned by every new daddy. After all, it’s as much a daddy’s job to care for his baby as it is a mommy’s. Soon enough, you won’t even need a manual of baby care tips to ease you through your daily daddy routine. Your instincts will take over and changing a diaper, for instance, will become second nature to you. Until then, keep this manual handy. It’ll point you the right way on days that you feel like you need to activate navigation.