Once your baby is born, look for ways to connect with your newly expanded family. As a new dad, you can:
1. Room with your family at the hospital. If the hospital allows, stay with your partner and newborn until it’s time to take the baby home.
2. Take turns caring for the baby. Take turns feeding and changing the baby. If your partner is breast-feeding, offer to bottle-feed pumped breast milk — or burp the baby and put him or her to sleep after breast-feeding sessions.
3. Play with the baby. Women tend to provide low-key, soothing stimulation for their babies, and men often engage their babies in noisier, more vigorous activities. Both styles of play are important, and seeing your newborn smile can be its own reward.
4. Be affectionate with your partner. Intimacy isn’t limited to sex. Hugs, kisses, shoulder rubs and other types of physical contact can help you stay connected while your partner recovers from childbirth and both of you adjust to the new routine. It’s also important to continue talking to your partner about the changes you’re experiencing and what you can do to support each other as your baby gets older.
5. Seek help. If you’re having trouble dealing with changes in your relationship or you think you might be depressed, talk to a counselor or other mental health provider. Untreated depression affects the entire family.
6. Becoming a new dad is a life-changing experience. By recognizing and planning for the challenges ahead, you can ease your stress and spend more time enjoying your new family.