The Postpartum Stay at Home Dad (SAHD)

 

As a new father, you may find that becoming a parent for the first time can be overwhelming. You may find yourself wondering what exactly your role is. Nowadays, fathers are much more involved than they used to be. Dads spend more time with their children, and they are involved with their children’s sports and other activities. Caring for your newborn will help you feel closer to your child. The relationship you formulate now will set the stage for when your child is older. There is, however, a learning curve, and bonding with your child does take time. Reading up on newborn care, and talking to other new fathers, including your own can make you feel more prepared.

Adjusting to a newborn can be challenging. You need to adjust to many new responsibilities, and may feel overwhelmed. Not only will you be caring for your newborn, but you may also be caring for your partner, especially if she has had a cesarean birth. Your routine, sleep, and daily activities will all be disrupted. A typical day with a newborn includes:

▶ Feeding 8 to 12 times a day

▶ Burping in between and and after feedings

▶ Changing diapers 8 to 12 times per day

▶ A bath or sponge bath at least once per day

▶ Soothing when fussy

▶ Preparing and sterilizing bottles of formula if your partner is bottle-feeding

▶ Helping your partner pump and store milk for future use, if breastfeeding

Your newborn will create his/her own schedule.

More and more fathers are becoming primary caregivers for a variety of reasons It’s not a bad choice for you—a relaxed dress code, flexible work schedule, and spending time outdoors. You may be working from home and caring for your baby at the same time, or you may be in between jobs, allowing your partner the opportunity to develop her career without worrying about childcare. Being a SAHD is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your baby while giving yourself time to do something different. Connecting with other SAHDs, or even stay-at-home mothers, will offer you and your baby some socialization, and help make you feel less isolated. Try to break up the day by going on outings, joining a class as your baby gets older, and planning for activities. Most of all, cherish this time with your baby and feel lucky that you have this wonderful opportunity to take part in her day-to-day care and watch her grow.

Resources

Focus on the Family National Fatherhood www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting

National Center for Fathering www.fathers.com

National Father Initiative www.fatherhood.org

PostpartumDads: Helping Families Overcome Post- partum Depression (PPD) www.postpartumdads.org/