By Dr Ashok Mittal
The first Father’s Day is always the most memorable and cherished as it is about embarking on a new journey. Millennial fathers have become more involved in childcare than what was the scenario a few decades ago. However, if you are wondering about more ways to be involved your newborn’s life, here are a few pointers that can serve well for you:
Managing your schedule around their needs
The care of a newborn baby is an intensive task however, this time is something you may never get back. It is also a time when you need to support the mother of your child in every way possible. Hence, it is crucial to get in sync with their schedule and work around it. Helping both the mother and the newborn by taking on additional chores, when the mother is breastfeeding, requires basic management, and the result is a healthy and happy mother and child.
Creating a bond through touch and eye contact
A study by NCBI has shown that the touch can not only impact short-term development during infancy and throughout their childhood, but also has long-term effects. Through contact, newborns are enabled to learn about their world, bond with their parents, and communicate their needs and wants better. This contact also lets them know that they’re safe and protected, building trust between the child and parent. Also, the infants are attracted to faces, especially the eyes, so creating eye-contact with them and smiling often helps them feel positive.
Changing their diaper and washing them up
This is a pointer that many of you must already be practicing (we hope). If not, you should start doing so now. Create a system and ensure you and your partner are comfortable with it. Then, both of you can enjoy and remember the good and the slightly nasty parts, fondly. If this is not enough then you may want to know that researchers have found out that the fathers who helped diapering their baby had stronger, better, and more long-lasting marriages.
Take on other responsibilities to take the burden off your partner
As a new mother, women experience and go through a lot, so here is the chance to give them some self-pampering time and step into their shoes (as much as you can). This also gives the mother a chance to get back to her official duties.
Become a breastfeeding champion
According to a study by Medela, human milk is critical to the developmental and health outcomes of the preterm infant. Breastfeeding has a lot of advantages for both mothers and the baby, however it is not always easy for a mother. Hence, more and more fathers and other family members are choosing to become breastfeeding champions. A breastfeeding champion is someone who can make the mother realise the importance of breastfeeding.
Talk to them and create little baby projects for them
Be responsive. When the baby cries or is trying to communicate something, try to understand them. It also helps talking to them and repeating bilabials with them (Pa-pa, ma-ma, ba-ba). They will become fast-learners if you too, put in the work from your end.
There is no style-guide which can tell you how to be the best father one can be. However, if you have made it this far, and are willing to put in the work for them, you are already doing great!
(The writer is Head & Sr Consultant, Dept of Paediatrics & Neonatology, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Kolkata)
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