Becoming a parent, for us fathers-to-be, feels like going up against a world of uncertainty with nothing more than a pat on the back by way of encouragement, it’s like taking onMount Everestarmed with a ball of string. Breastfeeding is back in force in the reality of young parents and it is most probably the biggest worry of any fathers-to-be who wonder how they will fit in this whole natural nutrition cycle. It’s easy to feel out of place, after all, what good can a man be if he doesn’t produce any food?
This may seem like a silly or dumb question, but this dreaded feeling of uselessness makes a father wonder how he will be able to provide for the needs of his breastfed-baby. If that is your case, rest assure, you are not alone. Behind the proud and confident stature of a father introducing his newly-born to his friends and family hides a trembling man struggling to find his place in his baby’s life. It’s fairly easy to envy the type of intimate relationship that a mother has while breastfeeding her baby. To avoid being tricked by this feeling of envy, a father has to take the time to build his own intimate relationship with his kid. Here are two simple tricks that work miracles (or almost).
First, don’t be scared to recreate the same kind of physical contact that a mother shares with her baby while breastfeeding. Fathers can also experience this kind of skin contact. In fact, it’s a wonderful way to feel close to your baby. So guys, drop your shirt and learn how to calm your baby down by letting him or her rest against your skin. It may seem strange at first, I agree, but this sense of proximity will grow naturally and rapidly and if you build this kind of relationship at an early stage, it will be remain a natural and soothing sensation when your kid grows up and becomes, more often than not, more agitated. The strong arms of a caring father bring a source of reassurance for a child.
Then, don’t be afraid to be part of your baby’s daily routine (without pushing it, of course). For instance, you could hold your baby in your arms before and after feedings and get him or her settled back in bed or in the playpen. Don’t worry, that doesn’t make a servant out of you, far from it. It’s an easy and effective way to be part of your baby’s life while helping the mother who is often physically limited during feedings. At the same time, it will help your child identify you as a reassuring constant at an early stage in life.
As your child grows, the more comfortable and tangible your role will feel. But to do so, you have to be able to manage the fact that for the first few weeks, your baby will not show any visual sign of recognition for your efforts. To add to that, chances are you will feel like all your efforts amount to nothing. But don’t forget that intimacy needs to be built and since a mother is always a few steps ahead of you, physiologically speaking, you need to be smart and patient to win the favours of your dear baby.
So don’t be scared to embrace your fears and doubts and be there for your child. It’s complex and full of subtleness, but in the end, no feeling in the world compares to the sight of your baby fast asleep against your skin.