5 Ways Dad Can Help in the Early Days
A big conversation right now has people asking, “How can Dad play a more equal role in parenting?”
We see it advocated for on the news. We read about it in shifting parental leave policies. We hear it loud and clear in discussions at mom’s group.
Moms want equal partnerships. Dads want the opportunity to bond and care for their newborns. Parents want to share in the experience of raising their child.
I know for us, when Daniel went back to work at the two-week mark, it automatically meant Max duty fell largely on me.
We have worked really hard to remain equal partners in caring for Max. Especially in the early days, particularly if Mom is breastfeeding, it can feel like there isn’t much Dad can do. Don’t get caught thinking this way! There is SO much your partner can take on to help lighten the load and share in the responsibilities of raising that new bundle.
Here are 5 ways Dad can get involved.
1. Head chef
Nourishing a breastfeeding mama ultimately helps nourish that hungry little babe. And yes, breastfeeding will make mama just as hungry! Let Dad become the breakfast champion or the dinner planner. Decide whatever works for you and your family. It doesn’t have to be gourmet. At our house, if Daniel is cooking, I will gobble up whatever I am served!
2. Shush and swaddle
At our first pediatrician appointment, our doc appointed me the head of baby feeding and Daniel the head of baby whispering (aka for those frequent night feeds, Daniel was on deck to swaddle, shush, and sway Max back to sleep once I’d done my part). Talk about teamwork! This made a huge difference in my ability to make it through those tough, long nights. It also allowed Daniel to find his own ways to comfort Max. I hear from so many moms that their partner just doesn’t know how to comfort their baby. Creating space for Dad to connect in this way will pay off big down the road.
3. B. infantis and vitamin D
So far, Max gets three things. Breastmilk, Evivo baby probiotic and vitamin D drops. Exclusively breastfed babies typically need a vitamin D supplement since they don’t get enough from mom. We also know now that 9 out of 10 babies are not colonized with the right bacteria, B. infantis, at birth. Without B. infantis, bad bacteria are able to flourish. With that in mind, most babies also need a probiotic containing this strain of bacteria. We chose Evivo for Max because it is the only baby probiotic clinically proven to repopulate baby's gut with the good bacteria they are missing and reduce bad bacteria by 80%.
Since I am the breastmilk provider in the family, Daniel does the Evivo and vitamin D. Once per day, it is Daniel’s opportunity to feed Max and allows him to be more intimately involved in the way we nourish our baby. Daniel pours 1 sachet of Evivo powder into the included mixing dish, mixes in 3-5 ml of my breastmilk and gives to Max using the enclosed feeding syringe. He follows this with one drop of vitamin D. An easy ritual for dad and one less thing to think about for mom.
4. Diaper duty
Sure, when Daniel is at work, I’m on diaper duty. But in those first two weeks, Daniel was heading up the diaper committee. I’d feed Max and Daniel would change him. This made each feed feel like a team effort where we both had a role.
The B. infantis Max gets each day from Evivo ensures that he utilizes all of the complex carbohydrates from breastmilk. This means he isn’t having countless watery poops per day. We typically see 1-3 soft stools which makes changing diapers way less of a pain.
5. Man’s best friend
Ok, this doesn’t directly impact your newborn, but someone has to do it. Any new mom who has put the baby in the stroller, leashed the dog and attempted a walk knows it can be a bit crazy. If you have a fur baby at home, consider this Dad’s responsibility. We have a very active Vizsla, Melvin (yes, Melvin), who needs a good bout of exercise each day or we have one hyper dog on our hands. Knowing Daniel will get Melvin out each day makes life with Max a little less hectic.
There are so many other ways Dad can help care for baby. These are just a few that have worked well for us. It takes a village to raise a baby, so don’t go it alone mama!
**This post was sponsored by Evivo. All opinions are my own.