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Most Dads want to be ‘hands-on’ – right from the beginning, and they report a degree of confidence and enjoyment as parents which their own fathers never imagined.
Becoming ‘hands-on’ means challenging the ‘only mums matter’ culture by persisting if:
In fact, the whole idea of Top Parent (or ‘primary carer’) is a nonsense: babies gain from having more than one close carer; so as one of their two parents, you’ve a crucial role. In fact, a full-time working father who devotes the rest of his time to his child (getting her up in the morning, bathing her in the evening and putting her to bed) can become as much a ‘top parent’ as a full-time at-home mother.
If your partner wants to breastfeed, support her. Difficulties often crop up early when confidence is low and, if you’re supportive and knowledgeable, you can make all the difference. So make sure the professionals explain things to you too and read up about possible problems. It might take you (and your partner) time to get used to the idea – but don’t worry, this is natural. But many fathers find the sight of their baby feeding from its mother an intensely moving experience. Some mothers and fathers are a bit uneasy about breastfeeding in public, but don’t let that stop your partner breastfeeding. It’s so good for babies. Breastfed babies develop stronger defences against infection and research suggests they have better learning abilities too.
Almost all fathers say they want to ‘be there’ for their children, and often think this means waiting to be approached. In fact, ‘being there’ means deciding to do all kinds of little things for, and with, a child, so he feels you are ‘there’, and is willing to approach you. So start as you mean to go on – be there for baby.