Congratulations on becoming a parent! Now your new baby is here, you may have already welcomed a lot of changes and done everything you can to support your partner through pregnancy and the birth. Many Dads and partners feel a lot of pressure to be the family ‘rock’, putting themselves last. Being a supportive father and partner isn’t just about keeping everyone else happy, though. Carving out time to think about your own needs is important, too.
Whilst pacing the corridors at night with a fussy baby might be a great way to let your partner get some rest, make sure you’re prioritising your need for sleep too. A good diet, exercise and sleep are everyone’s three most basic needs, and it all gets disrupted when you welcome a new baby into your life. If you can, set aside time to spend with your partner to discuss ways that both of you can have time and space as well as enjoy quality time together.
If you smoke, now is a great time to try to quit. Tobacco smoke can irritate your baby’s sensitive airways which can cause problems with breathing as well as chest and ear infections. Quitting will also save you money and help you feel healthier and reduce stress levels. For free stop smoking support, including nicotine replacement treatment and weekly sessions where you can talk about your quit journey with someone who can help you get through any tough times, please contact one of the following:
Medway Stop Smoking Service - for Medway families
One You SmokeFree - for families living in Kent
One of the best things you can do for your family is ensure your own needs are met. Many Dads find that they don’t want to share their feelings with their partner but keeping a check on your emotional health is really important. If you have friends or family members with children, having a quick chat about the realities of fatherhood can be quite helpful. You might be worried about burdening others, but often our friends and family members can at least listen or even sometimes share helpful tips and advice.
Depression can affect around 1 in 10 dads in the period between finding out they are going to be a father and in the first year after their baby is born. Postnatal depression can affect Dads too, with one in five dads experiencing it after their baby arrives.
Distracting yourself or ignoring serious worries doesn’t work for long and can result in a big outburst of emotion when things get too much. If you’re finding your mood is low, you’re overly irritable or having concerning thoughts, do reach out to your GP.
Kent and Medway have partnered with DadPad, a great source of information whether this is your first baby or you’re already a father. Packed full of advice, tips and ideas for your new role, it’s one of the best ways to get prepared for the changes your new baby will bring.
The team at DadPad are also working with same-sex partners to develop a tailored app, and we look forward to launching this when it is ready.