10 ways dads can help their wives care for a new baby

Caring for baby is tiring. Learn how to pull your weight at home and score brownie points with your wife!

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Now that baby’s at home, don’t let your wife do the lion’s share of the housework and child-rearing. Caring for a newborn can be a difficult time for new mums.

Your wife may feel like all she ever does is feed the baby, change the diapers, do the chores, and so on. New mothers lose as much as a month’s sleep in the first year of their baby’s birth.

So dads, this is your time to shine! Why don’t you shower your spouse with some much-needed support while navigating the unique challenges surrounding your infant’s care? Here are several ways new dads can leap into action — and reduce conflict at home.

1. Take on diaper duties

Changing diapers is unpleasant but dads should tackle diaper duty whenever they can to help out. So, get hands-on from the start. Here’s how you can make the task of cleaning baby much easier: Place everything you need within arm’s reach and learn where to apply the diaper cream.

2. Bond with your little one

Baby is happiest when connecting skin-to-skin — so, allow them to get familiar with your scent — your heartbeat also becomes a soothing sound for your little one. For example, you can let baby rest on your chest as you watch TV.

Whether you’re changing diapers or feeding baby, grab the opportunity to talk to, cuddle and shower baby with love and warmth. “Make silly faces, put on a funny dance, play peekaboo or sing songs — the sounds of a baby’s chortling will be music to your ears,” says Naresh Kharbanda, 38, dad to Arvind, 2 months, and Keisha, 3.

Baby is happiest when connecting skin-to-skin — so, allow them to get familiar with your scent — your heartbeat also becomes a soothing sound for your little one.

3. Give your munchkin their bath

Bathtime is a great way for dad to bond with baby — and it gives mum a bit of a break, too! It’s only natural to be nervous about giving your tiny, squirmy baby a wash. So, watch how mum does it. Get everything ready: Dry towels, fresh diapers, sponge or flannel and clean clothes. Make sure you’ve got plenty of time and go slow — it’s no fun for you and baby if you have to rush. Start with a baby bathtub filled with about 6cm of water. Never leave baby unattended in the tub — even for a split second.

4. Plan regular face time with bubba

Encourage your cutie pie to stare at your face, so he’ll recognise your features when you chat or sing to him. Enhance the bonding experience by cuddling or carrying your baby, so that he becomes familiar with your body contours, and also your arms and scent.

5. Bring baby for walks

Try setting aside a specific time to bring baby out for evening walks or simply read to him. This gives mum a chance to have a cuppa, watch catch-up TV or phone a friend.


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6. Be your older kids’ playmate

Take the big kids off mum’s hands. Bring them to the movies, the park or to por por’s house for a few hours when you can. This allows your wife to enjoy some quiet time and focus on baby.

7. Make sure your wife gets “me time”

Your wife may not be her usual self after childbirth. Plus, caring for a needy newborn all day can be exhausting. Don’t get drawn into petty arguments caused by tiredness. Offer support instead.

“I’d encourage my wife to go for a spa/massage or simply hang out with her friends while I mind baby at home,” says Edward Tan, 33, dad to Richie, 3 months. “It’s important that she gets a break, as a relaxed mum contributes to a happier household,” he chuckles.

You can also send her for massages to ease her aches and pains, a haircut, manicure/pedicure, or on a shopping spree to buy new outfits, as her maternity or pre-pregnancy clothes may not fit well.

Take the big kids off mum’s hands. Bring them to the movies, the park or to por por’s house for a few hours when you can.

8. Do the night shift

Help with the night feeds or early-morning feeds (plus burping!), so mum can get sufficient rest. Studies show insufficient sleep causes memory lapses and can have a negative impact on the way mothers perform their daily activities, and may even put your baby at risk. Your wife will appreciate it when you learn how to:
* Warm expressed breastmilk.
* Prepare formula milk.
* Wash used milk bottles.
* Place milk bottles in the steriliser.

9. Bone up on baby know-how

Your newborn doesn’t come with instruction manuals, so arm yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge. Work at being a loving father and husband and be a positive role model to your kids — and you’ll do just fine!

10. Get support from your dad pals

Newborns add a whole new set of responsibilities and demands on your time and finances. Your wife may also be too distracted with baby matters to focus on you. Get through this emotional roller coaster by hanging out with friends — or with other dads as they are likely to empathise and offer support. Schedule some time to unwind and recharge and remember to monitor your stress level.

How you can show support for your wife

Remember, the grand gestures aren’t as important as the little everyday acts of consideration, which your wife will truly appreciate!

Cook for her Preparing nutritious meals is often an overlooked task, especially since mum has to concentrate on her newborn while regaining her health. So, cook her simple yet delicious dishes to give her the energy she needs to be the best mum she can be. When she’s breastfeeding, do bring her a drink of water as nursing baby can leave her tired, dehydrated, and even constipated.

Run a bath for her Let her enjoy an Epsom salt bath, which promotes healing and eases muscle aches, while you feed (and bond with) baby.

Let her go at her pace You may feel sidelined as your wife concentrates on baby. Don’t pressure her into having sex before she is ready as it could lead to misunderstanding, conflicts and break-ups. Encourage her to connect with others

Encourage her to expand her social circle Your wife may be having a difficult time making new friends. Encourage her to break her routine by joining new-mum support groups where she can connect with others through social gatherings, talks, walks and much more.

Most of all, tell your wife that she’s doing a great job, even though the house is dirty and laundry is scattered all over!

Photos: iStock

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