Did you know that when your partner is given 15 minutes of alone time with the new baby in the first few hours after birth, they will spend significantly more time with your child in the first three months of life? Sometimes, your partner gets left out of the conversation about transitioning into parenting. Let’s explore a few ways to make a great start to parenting for both of you.
Skin-to-skin helps promote baby’s love hormone (oxytocin), regulates their temperature, and helps them feel comfortable and safe. So, tuck that little one in on your chest, cover both you and your baby with a blanket, and get cuddling! This can be a special time to connect with your brand new little one.
Supporting feeding efforts
If you are not the one doing the feeding, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a support. Learn the techniques to properly hold your baby for feeding so you can help your partner with proper positioning. Learn what a good deep latch looks like so you can offer your partner feedback from your perspective. Learn where community supports are so you can utilize these invaluable resources. Being educated on these things can help you and your partner find successes in breastfeeding.
Feeding is bonding
Having the opportunity to feed your newborn is an amazing bonding experience. Being a part of bottle feeding can create a special time for both you and your new little one; it also provides your partner with a much-needed break. It is important to learn proper technique for successful bottle feeding, such as ‘pace’ bottle feeding. If your partner is breastfeeding, it is recommended to wait at least two to three weeks before you introduce your baby to the bottle. Once breastfeeding is going well, incorporate bottle feeding. As a partner, it is important to be a part of the breast-feeding schedule and to help feed your little one.
Settling a fussy baby
Do you know how to settle a fussy baby? A crying baby can be stressful but having a team that supports each other through the fussing makes the experience a little easier. Most partners will find a signature move they find successful at settling their little one. Having a handful of ideas on how to settle your crying baby can help build your confidence in your parenting journey and make a big difference in how you feel. Typical settling techniques include swaddling, rocking, walking, swinging, using white noise, using a pacifier, bum patting, bouncing, reverse breastfeeding hold, or shushing. Try any of these techniques and see if it works for your baby.
Reading your baby’s cues
Babies have a lot to ‘say,’ but sometimes it is hard as a new parent to know what your baby is trying to tell you. Learning your baby’s cues can help you become an expert navigator and determine when your baby is hungry, needs a diaper change, is uncomfortable, or is tired and needs you to help them fall asleep. Knowing your baby’s cues can also reduce your stress and build your confidence. Over the course of the first few weeks with your newborn, you will start to be able to tell what they are saying to you and know what method to use to help your little one out.
Having a baby care routine
Your baby requires a lot of care - from bathing to diaper changing to clipping nails. Once again, all these things will be more manageable when a team is involved. Practicing these skills make you a part of something essential. You can either be helping your partner or tackling some of these tasks by yourself. Being able to tackle these tasks are essential in raising your little one. And the more you do it, the better you will get at it. It is beneficial to take a class or watch a YouTube video on these skills to help prepare you to be more confident and tackle these tasks head-on. With knowledge and skill, you are helping your partner in all the right ways.
One of the things you will notice the most as a new parent is how tired you are. Therefore, it is imperative to find a way to support each other’s sleep needs during this time. As the partner, you have the chance to use all your new parenting skills of reading cues, settling, feeding, and having a care routine to be fully capable of taking care of your baby while your partner takes a break and catches up on sleep. This can help balance the times when your partner is the one taking care of your infant. Exchanging times to care for your baby helps each partner have time to recharge.
Parenting is a transformative journey. Having some ideas on how to be the most involved, supportive, and helpful can make that transition easier and more successful. As you participate in these things and choose to be hands-on right from the beginning you will have the opportunity to be a crucial part of your child’s growing experience. You may not have given birth, but you became a parent too. You will have your own unique journey as you build a new relationship with your little one, a bond that will last a lifetime.
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