Month: July 2019

Becoming a dad is a life changing experience, but one of the hardest parts of this change is to know how to best support your partner. There is no doubt that for new mothers out there, it is a dramatic change for them to go through. Physically they have had to carry a baby and endure those body changes, they have had to give birth and endure the recovery post birth (whether it be a C-section or natural birth), and then for many they now become the primary carer looking after baby more days than not. And for the dad’s (or the non-primary caregiver), it’s trying to navigate your own experience and making sense of it all, trying to take care of this little human and then supporting your partner with the changes that they themselves are going through. This can be an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and lots of dad’s (myself included) find themselves asking how to be a supportive husband or spouse in the best way possible.

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Someone you know is becoming a new dad, and you want to mourn for their old life and their old selves, because you know that having a baby really does change a person. But (depending on your circle of friends), that might be considered inappropriate, so you decide to find them a gift instead. Or, they’ve just recently had a baby and their birthday is coming up,  but you know any cash or gift cards you throw their way will probably end up on the house or towards the child (and it’s the father’s birthday, not the baby’s!) So how do you pick something that’s more appropriate than the grave and tombstone you originally picked out, and will bring back a glimmer of life in this person you know?

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Play time is crucial for a baby’s development as it allows them to explore the world around them in a fun way that encourages them to keep trying new things. It also allows them to make sense of the world, and begin to connect that their actions have an impact on people and objects in their environment. If you have read my article ‘How To Play With A Newborn, you will have read of some nice simple strategies that I had tried to help develop my bond with my daughter. But as they continue to grow, we inevitably get to a point where we want some toys to help us play with baby, and hopefully where baby is able to play on their own for a bit.

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When my wife was pregnant, we attended some pregnancy classes together to learn about life after birth, and everything that is involved in looking after a baby. One of the things they talked about was playtime and bonding with your child and how important this was. It all made sense, and we could see how important it was, and they took us through some ideas on how to play, and how this helped with baby’s development. But you see, as I mentioned in my post Expectations Vs Reality – What To Expect As A New Dad’ I had no experience playing with newborns, or even babies really. My experience was toddlers and above, so I really had no idea what play time was actually like for a newborn.

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How to find time to relax with a newborn, a question I also found myself asking regularly, often coming up with the same answer – you don’t find time! Relaxation becomes a thing of the past when you are caring for a little human, and you may often question when you will be able to find the time. And in my experience, what I found was not that I ‘found time’ to relax with a newborn, but rather I had to change my mindset towards what I was already doing. Finding ‘relaxation’ within my duties as a father, enjoying the moment and practicing this idea you may have heard about called ‘mindfulness’.

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There are many questions that I began asking once my daughter had come along. How often does a newborn need to feed? How many wet nappies is normal? Is my baby’s poo colour normal? But no question was more pressing than finding out how to get sleep with a newborn. As I mentioned in my previous post ‘Expectations VS Reality – What to Expect as A New Dad‘, there are quite a few changes that occur when you become a father, but the most challenging change I found was adjusting to the new sleep pattern that a newborn entails. This was such a challenge that I found myself Googling for answers a few times a day in the first few weeks. I don’t know if I ever found a single answer that worked, but I tried a lot of strategies that were recommended and my wife and I were lucky enough to find some semblance of normal sleep after the first 7 – 8 months. Hopefully through reading my journey, it will help you with yours.

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