Babies a New Life : Will We Ever Get Better at this? New parents’ highs and lows (part 2) - Keepsakes: creating memories & Involving dads Creating a partnership

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Keepsakes: creating memories

When you are wrapped up in the day-to-day demands of caring for your baby and every new experience seems special and important, you think that you will never forget these times. However, children grow and develop so fast that, unless you take the time to record things in some way, you are unlikely to remember every detail. A little effort now will bring you and your family endless pleasure for years to come.

Precious reminders

When things are not going as well as you hoped, looking at your keepsakes and reminders will help you appreciate how far you’ve come as a family and how much you have achieved as parents. Keepsakes can help you realize that some of the worst times are really just very short phases. They may also be fascinating to your children when they are older.

  • Buy a quality newspaper to show what was happening in the world when your child was born.

  • Write down your birth story.

  • Buy the number one single/album in the charts.

  • Keep small mementos, for example, your baby’s first outfit, a lock of hair, a selection of greeting cards, but be sensible—you cannot keep everything!

  • Keep a baby book or simply take a few minutes to write down what your baby is doing, how you feel, and how you are spending your days—it’s these little things that you will forget.

  • Take plenty of photos and videos. Digital photos have a number of advantages: They save you time and money in processing, you can email them to friends and family, and you can date-stamp them so you know exactly how old your baby was at the time.

Involving dads Creating a partnership

Ideas about a father’s role in the family have changed a lot over recent years: Many men now feel that it is important for them to be equally involved in day-to-day childcare tasks. Becoming a father is one of the most exciting and life-changing events in any man’s life.

Q: What are the benefits?
A: Research suggests that, over time, children with involved fathers tend to have better emotional health, perform better at school, engage in less anti-social behavior, and have more successful relationships. With your support, your partner will benefit from being able to take a well-earned break; she is also less likely to suffer from postpartum depression, and may be more successful at breastfeeding. You will build a stronger, closer relationship with your baby, improve your childcare skills, gain confidence, and experience a greater sense of satisfaction with your parenting role. Successful parenting is a partnership, and sharing the workload—in whichever way you choose—will help to maintain a strong relationship and keep stress levels down.
Q: What can I do?
A: As a new dad, you can engage in any of the childcare tasks except breastfeeding, and even then you could get your partner to express her milk so you can feed your baby with a bottle. Examples of things you could do include: feeding, bathing, changing diapers, putting your baby to bed, helping out with the night shift, and entertaining and playing with your baby. A father can be just as sensitive to his baby’s cries and needs as its mother. In fact, dads may find it easier to soothe a breastfed baby, since they won’t have the distracting smell of breast milk around them.

Read a babycare book, so you’re up to speed with all the latest guidance. If your partner won’t let you help out at first, talk to her and negotiate to find ways in which you can support her.

Feeding your baby with expressed breast milk or formula is great for bonding and can give your partner a break when she needs to rest.

Bathtime can be fun for you and your baby. The more time you spend handling and interacting with your child, the more confident you will become, and your child will feel secure, too.

Learning to change a diaper takes a little practice, but it’s an essential childcare skill.

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