The first response a man has upon learning he’s going to be a dad is elation and excitement. The second is ‘uh-oh, where do I begin?’
Psychologist Chireal Shallow shares her top tips on entering fatherhood with confidence:
Face Time: Children love faces and they love your face above anyone else. Be an active part of your child’s life even whilst at work, by using facetime and technology to stay connected to your growing family and ensure that you are present even when you’re not at home.
Holding on: You can create a positive bond by holding your baby close to you so they can smell you and learn that you’re their dad. The more you hold them in between feeds, the more they become familiar with you, and the easier it will be for you to settle, soothe and put them to sleep.
Family values: Before your baby is born begin to think of the values that are important to you. Your baby is seeking to learn from you and be led by you. Showing them how you provide for your family and what your role is within the family home is a valuable lesson. Never forget how powerful your position as a father is.
Take turns: I advise both parents to take alternative nights to settle your baby to sleep at night. This will help you both sleep, bond and also support each other. It will also get you through the tough early part of your newborn’s life.
Helping hand: Ask your partner what they require from you and what they need you to help them with. Don’t hold back! Sometimes people are afraid to ask or say what they need, but the best words your partner can hear are ‘how can I help?’ This will boost your confidence and the response will make you feel included.