So what’s a Dad to do?
The first few weeks of life is when milk matters most and all little sprog wants to do is suck and sleep, leaving Dad feeling as obsolete as his nipples. However, if you’re able to spend time at home in the weeks after the birth, then there are lots of little jobs you can do to feel useful again.
Some women have a strong nesting instinct when approaching the end of their pregnancy and so your freezer may be bulging with pre-cooked meals. If not, strap on that daft apron with the muscles and get your hands (and the stove) dirty making dinner. Like many modern folk, you may be unaware of where your food comes from. You may have wondered how your food gets on that ceramic disc. Wonder no more! It is the product of an ancient art form known simply as… ‘cooking’. Now, don’t worry if this is your first foray into the kitchen. Your partner will be so relieved about not having to lift a finger that she’ll inhale what ever ill-formed slop you’ve scraped onto her plate.
This can summed up as: Mum deals with the input, Dad looks after the output. You may think you don’t take shit from anyone, but you won’t mind your own kid’s poo. After all, it’s a part of a part of you. Well, not anymore. Still…later on it’s fun to guess what the solid bits are.
Getting up in the night
My wife and I operated a shuttle system when our first child woke in the night. I would spring from the sheets, fresh as a daisy, and bring the crying child to his mother with a doting smile. Then I would wake up, drag myself over to the cot, grumbling and bruising my shins on numerous obstacles, and carry the police-siren back to our bed with gritted teeth. Once the hand-over was complete, I would keel over and snore while my wife fed, wrapped and patiently put him back to sleep. This seemed to work well.
Aside from obvious personal hygiene benefits, this is an enjoyable activity for Dads. Most kids love floating in warm water and they’ll instantly quieten down and gaze up at you with their cross-eyed stare. Meanwhile, you are free to rattle off your warbling shower-renditions of Tom Jones in an environment where no-one can judge you.
Obeying all commands given by your partner
Business as usual.
Apart from these odd jobs, an easy way for Dad to bond is by making eye contact and holding it until baby looks away. You may know this as ‘staring out’…
…but it actually makes the little one feel secure and loved.
NOTE: This does not work with dogs, so no loving gazes in the direction of the neighbour’s mastiff.