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When you first find out that you are pregnant, both you and Dad are excitedly nervous. You navigate all the changes together while trying not to kill each other. Though sometimes you wonder if you really can get away with it!
As the time draws closer, you spend hours preparing the house for the new addition to the family. You are nesting, and he is working on putting all the furniture together. You laugh as he tries to convince you that they included spare parts in the package. Then you shake your head because you know better!
When the big day comes, he is trying not to be nervous and be the rock you need him to be, yet you know that he needs reassuring, too.
The new baby comes, and the family has gathered, starting a game of Twenty Questions. Your husband or partner, “the new Dad”, avoids questions about taking care of the baby, and you start to catch that. While you are working to keep a straight face, you are saying something like this, “If he thinks we are going to get home and I am going to do all the work. He’s got another thing coming.”
Yet, that is what happens, and you have had enough.
“So, how do I get him involved more to help with the baby without going insane?” Let’s get into it!
Do not be the first to get up when the baby cries
While this may hurt you to no end, sometimes the answer is waking him up to go and get the baby. If he does not move or turns over and asks why you are not getting up, tell him that you want to rest and that it is his turn! If you move first, then he never will. You deserve to get some rest, and he must understand that from the beginning.
Tell him what you need him to do and let him do it
There are times when we expect dads to be mind readers, and they aren’t. If you want him to help, you are going to have to tell him what to do and then step back out of the way. Watching him can be entertaining; however, you also must know that he is trying, and it will take a while for him to get the hang of things.
Make it a dare
One thing men do NOT like is to hear that they can’t do or handle something.
Challenge him and make a wager with him. Think of it as the water gun battle floating around social media where the wife leaves the husband a note that says, “Loser makes dinner.” Make the wager something that you know he won’t want to lose or something that you know he would never want to admit to but within reason, of course. Don’t embarrass, belittle, or demean him because that will go wrong and fast! Just find fun and creative ways to get Dad involved with caring for the new baby and to help give you a much needed breather once in a while.
Show him that he’s needed
Moms are used to being superwoman. I know I mentioned it above, but let’s take it a step further. If you always have everything done and don’t leave anything for him to do or help with, he’s going to feel like he doesn’t have to do anything. Then, when you go to him out of exhaustion, you’ll find yourself angry because he’s stumbling and fumbling while trying to figure out what to do. What happens then? You push him out of the way, pick up the baby, do things yourself, and have an attitude for the rest of the day.
Start, but make him finish
You get the baby, change the baby, and hand the baby off to him! Let him take it from there and make the bottle, feed, and burp the baby, and get the baby settled. Or get the baby and then hand them over right then. Go and do something else that needs doing and can’t be done right away if you have the little one. Don’t stop, either! He will get the message.
Don’t take the baby with you every time you go out
Dad needs to know how to take care of the baby when you aren’t around, and there’s no better way to do that than to go out on an errand or two or three. Prepare everything before you leave. Record a video. Leave instructions a five-year-old would understand, do it and then leave the house. If he calls for help, help over the phone!
Help him understand why Dad is just as important as Mom
Hearing Dad’s voice and being around Dad early is vital for a baby’s development. When a child grows up and is only used to Mom taking care of them, that can cause a rift in the family relationship. If Dad gets in early and stays in, it makes things easier for Mom and baby because they know that he’s all-in, too.
Every family works in different ways, but I hope that there is something here that will work for you. Remember that whatever you try will take trial and error to perfect, but the peace and sanity that finding your groove will create is worth a headache or two.
Doing so will also help the both of you to treat, respect, and appreciate each other more. After all, the first team that’s built-in any stage of life is the family. The solidity of your family depends on how you start and work through being new parents. You won’t always get it right, but there’s something about getting it wrong together that has a certain kind of magic that makes you want to change the narrative.
Building your family is an ongoing process, so enjoy it! You may wonder why you did it, but looking into those loving eyes every day will remind you of why. Then, all you’ll be able to do is smile, laugh, shake your head, and continue to make life happen. There’s nothing else better than doing that! May you grow stronger together every day, and may these 7 tips provide an idea spark or two on suggesting ways Dad can get involved with the new addition to the family!