Congratulations, you have just become a father. You are looking down on your bundle of joy and can’t help being a ball of love.
You are still at the hospital and have help at your beck and call. Soon you will be home and it will be a different story. Worry not, bigbasket, once again, pulls out it well worn out ‘dummy’ list for first-time papas. Yes, papa, you are as important in this new normal as a mama. Life is joyful with a baby at home, but it is also very challenging.
When the calm and cuteness leads to a big storm, we show you your dummy’s guide to taking care of a baby:
First let’s talk about the pratcical things that you need to be aware of:
Holding the baby
We cannot begin to tell you how important it is to hold your baby correctly. Why the fuss? It is because her neck is still fragile and delicate and will not be able to hold the head. Till your little one is 4 months or more, learn to carry her perfectly. Learn it from the experts. Once you have mastered the technique, you will be able to give the mother a few precious moments of relaxation she so dearly needs.
Want to bottle-feed your baby? Nice, but ensure that you have the correct measure of formula milk and water (hot and room temperature). If unsure, get momma to watch you a few times when you make the feed. Now take the apple of your eye and cradle her in your arms with the head slightly elevated. Smile if she looks scared. Make soft cooing sounds as you begin to feed your baby. Sing if you can, talk if you must. Once she is full you will know. Never force-feed the baby. Learn to burp the infant to avoid colic.
Perhaps cheeky for us to say this but it is a fitting tribute of your love for your kid. There are two important rules to follow without fail.
First, ascertain that you have everything you need for the complete process of diaper changing.
Once you have all these items at arm’s length then begin diaper change. Don’t go looking for stuff halfway through the process. This will also ensure that the baby is not left unattended.
Once done, keep your little one safely in the cradle and thoroughly wash your hands with an antibacterial soap.
This is another tricky area; get a ‘sandwich course’ on giving your cuddles some bath time. Generally, babies love bath so you are fine there. If your little one is fidgety, wait till she is calmer to get her into the tub. It would be ideal if you both bathe the baby. If it is not possible then that is fine.
The emotional angle
Dear papa out there…we understand that it is your pehli baar and that it can get terrifying at times. We also understand that this new change in life can isolate you from your better half. You too can experience a ‘post-baby-panic’. This draws on your emotional strength draining you out.
What you can do
We sought the advice of Pediatrician, Dr.Rajesh Chokhani, who in his 27 years of practice has handled many first-time papas. “It helps when first-time couples read up a lot on parenting before starting a family,” says Dr.Chokhani. Taking care of a baby is a comprehensive process he adds. There is a medical side to it and the normal (upbringing)side.
He further remarks that there is a definite place for paternity leave as fathers are equally responsible for a child’s nurturing.
Unfortunately, there is no school which prepares the parents, especially fathers, for what is to come. Hence it is very natural to feel everything you are not supposed to feel.
Therefore, Dr.Chokhani says that it is extremely important to choose the right paediatrician as they double up as counsellors too. If you feel you are going through this tunnel then this is what you need to do.
Talk to your wife. You must keep the channel of communication open. Take your time out with her. Take her out of the house, yes, we repeat, out of the house, so that she is not distracted with the baby. Discuss your feeling openly; share your emotions with her. Allow her to share her bit too. Believe us, at this moment your love would have found a new level a more elevated mature sublime level.
It is a good idea to see a therapist. Don’t be in denial. It will help both you and your wife and have a wonderful impact on marriage as well. Seek and appointments have a good chat with the authority on the subject. The therapist will not only guide you well give you tips on surviving this phase of life. You will come away with a ‘feel-good’ feeling so important to maintain harmony within the family.
Now is the time to turn to your parents, in-laws, and anyone willing to pitch in. Having an experienced hand and seasoned voice will be of great use to new parents like you. Don’t hesitate. Don’t be a martyr.
A shout out to all the first time papas open yourself to all the happy surprise. This is the time of your life which comes with a ‘Do Not Miss the Beginning’ message.