Is there anything sweeter than seeing a dad with his new baby? Even before my daughter was born, I was almost more excited to see my husband with her than I was to see her.
Fathers play such an important role in children's development, even from a young age. Dads interact differently with babies than their mothers do. They play differently, and talk differently. This difference is great for baby. A study done at the University of Maryland found that when fathers are involved in their children's lives, the children "learn better, have higher self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression than children without fathers." They also found that when fathers are closely involved in caring for their baby, the baby was "more cognitively developed" and "fathers' positive and sensitive attitudes toward their infants were related to their children's problem solving competence later in their children's lives".
Basically, what that all means is that when dad is involved with the baby, it helps to improve the outcome of the child. Here are some ideas of how dads can help with their newborn babies:
Feeding – if mom is breastfeeding, she can pump and give dad a chance to help feed the baby. Tip – this is an excellent way for mom to get more sleep, since dad can take one of the night feedings.
Burping – if mom is breastfeeding, dads can burp the baby and be involved in feedings this way.
Playing – My baby loves it when her dad plays with her. He gets down on the floor with her and talks to her and interacts with her. He also does her "exercises" with her – helping her to stand, to sit up from lying down on her back by helping her pull herself up, and other activities to support her gross motor skills.
Talking – Just talking to your baby is helpful for their development, as it helps improve her communication skills.
Change the baby – whether it's diapers or outfits, this gives you one on one time with your baby. You can take this opportunity to talk to your baby, since you will have her full attention.
Holding the baby – It's great for dads to be able to have time snuggling and cuddling their baby. Take time to just hold your baby, whether you're rocking her to sleep, watching TV, or trying to calm her down.
My husband says "Parenting is stressful, but as long as you keep the right perspective, then it is a good kind of stress."
Fathers are parents too, and as such they can, and should, be equal partners in the parenting process. They are capable of taking care of their baby, and short of actually breastfeeding, they can help with every aspect of parenting that moms can.