Monthly Archives: November 2014

To Dads:

You watched her belly grow with anticipation and perhaps a twinge, or more than a twinge, of fear. You helped her eat well, and let her steal all the pillows so she could get some rest at night. You watched her eat silly things and struggle to tie her shoelaces, if she didn’t just give up on those all together. And here he is, your pink, squirmy, crying, wiggly little creature. Now what?

The majority of men in our culture did not grow up caring for babies, the first diaper they change will likely be on their own first child. Many men are at a loss on what to do to care for and bond with their babies and tend to let mom take the lead, and take the role of helper. While this can be a wonderful thing to do, remember that you are an equal parent and you are as capable as mom of soothing and caring for your newborn.

I, as a woman, had never cared for a baby before my own. My husband got 5 days off of work, then I was left alone. I had no idea what to do at all! I learned through trial and error. If, as is the case in many families, mom is home with the little one for the first few weeks, months or years she will learn faster. You will be holding your baby and he will be fussing and when you pass him off to mom he will calm right down. We all want our babies to be happy, so we tend to do that often. If it works for you, fantastic. But, remember that she learned by doing the wrong things too.

One of the best things I ever did as a mother was allow my baby to fuss with my husband. I told him, that his way would be different than mine and that was ok. Yes, it was easier to pass little Devon to me and I would nurse and he would be happy. But giving him that time to figure it out and make mistakes meant he found his own way. There were things he would do to soothe him that didn’t work with me and vice versa.

Many Dad’s also worry that if mom breastfeeds and they don’t get a chance to feed the baby they won’t be able to bond. While it’s true you won’t be able to bond in that way, you can still connect with your newborn in other ways. Some babies need suck training, which means that for one reason or another their latch isn’t ideal and they need some help learning to nurse without hurting mamas nipples. Dad’s I recommend you take over this task. Before she is about to nurse, you can insert a finger and make sure baby is ready to latch properly, then hand over to mama. This involves you in each feeding and you are doing a wonderful thing to support her breastfeeding success! If you feel like mama gets breastfeeding all to herself, take something and make it just yours such as bathing, dressing, or another task that you enjoy.

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Dad, please learn to babywear. Skin to skin contact is so important for babies. Their growth and bonding will improve by being close to your body. They will sleep better, know your voice and movement, and know you are a safe place to settle in. As they get a bit older they will learn by watching you, which really is one of the coolest parts of being a parent. Learn to wear them on your back in an ergonomic carrier and you can work in the garden, do household chores, work in the garage, and even play video games all while your baby is happy and close to you.

A note to Moms:

Give yourself the gift of backing off and letting your partner make mistakes. I know it’s hard to hear them cry when you know that you can fix it quickly. But they will get older and you will want a break. You’ll want to go to the store alone, take a bath, prepare a meal, or go out with friends. Giving him this time to learn means that he will have the confidence and the skills to take care of everything while you are away or doing something else. That is a priceless gift to all three of you!

Thanksgiving is coming up quick and it feels like the winter holidays are sneaking up fast. For many parents, the holiday season is a whirlwind of events, parties and family get-togethers. Along with the joy of baking cookies and pies and visiting relatives comes the stress, especially when you have a baby in tow! Here are some of my tips for enjoying your baby and taking care of your responsibilities and time with loved ones!

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Helping my big kids decorate a Yule Log

 

When visiting family you may not see very often they usually want to play pass the baby. Some mamas welcome this break and love to let every uncle, grandma, and cousin have a turn loving on their little one. For others it can be very stressful. Some parents worry about all those germs, and some babies get overwhelmed with all the new people. Enter babywearing! When baby is safely tucked inside a carrier, other adults are far less likely to touch and take her from you. Your child can also have a safe, comfortable place to nap if you’re away from home and will be comforted by having you close when in a new situation.

The holiday season is often very busy. With school, work and social functions, as well as all the shopping and preparing for the events it can be very challenging to keep baby on a schedule. Especially if he has older siblings, he doesn’t always get the luxury of being home every day for nap time. Being able to wear baby for naps and keep them content while we’re running around town is a complete lifesaver.

This is also a big time of year for travel. Keeping baby content on an airplane is rarely easy, and although you are not permitted to wear baby during take off and landing you can wear during the flight. This often makes breastfeeding discreetly easier as well. In an airport it’s much easier to get around without having to manage a stroller and you’ll only need to pop baby out of the carrier to walk through the scanners.

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Even simpler situations such as baking with the kids is so much easier with baby safely tucked in a carrier. Once you have learned back carries you can keep your little one safe and out of the way, but they can still interact and see what is going on. Stirring batter, taking things in and out of the oven, and decorating treats with older children or other family members is all possible while baby looks on from their safe vantage point.

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