Good Advice for New Parents
A new baby coming home is a time significant change in the dynamics of the relationship between mom and dad. You can never truly be ready for how this will affect the two of you. Often in this circumstance dad can wind up feeling left out. Mother and baby are so intimately bonded that is easy to forget dad needs attention from mom and baby. Follow this advice for new parents and remember that everyone is happiest when baby, mom, and dad all get the attention and love they deserve.
You can read every baby book under the sun and get advice for new parents from friends and relatives but a new baby will still catch you off guard by how demanding they are. This constant need for attention leaves less energy and affection to give to each other. New mothers are very drained by baby constantly needing them which leaves dad feeling left out much of the time. New mothers are biologically programmed to nurture so their instincts naturally focus less on dad. If dad feels left out it is important for him not to take it personally. He needs to make an effort to join mom and baby in this newfound relationship.
Baby Comes First
One of the most important pieces of advice for new parents, especially dads feeling left out, is that baby always comes first. They should not try to compete with baby for mom’s attention. Mom only has so much energy and attention to give. New fathers will need to learn to mature when baby is brought home and take more of the household and parenting responsibilities from mom. This gives mom more energy to focus on dad. Dads need to remember that baby is not a baby for long and their constant neediness will start to decline as they grow older.
When a new member of the family is brought home it is important for mothers to communicate their new priorities to dad. Baby will be taking most of their time and energy and it can be hard for dads to get used to this sudden change. Moms need to avoid the “but my baby needs me” syndrome. It can be tempting to put on your supermom cape and try to do all of the comforting for baby. Dad will never learn how to comfort and get used to baby being a part of the family if mom never lets him. What baby needs most is a happy rested mother. So let dad take care of her while you sneak away for a quick nap or shower.
Great advice for new parents is that they need to make time for each other. Saying no to your kids is OK if it is for the sake of the two of you spending a few hours alone together. Try putting aside one “date night” every week. This can be a romantic way to send you back to when you two first met. Working hard at being a couple is as important as working hard at being a parent. Babies need two happy and loving parents and you owe it to your children to make sure they have that.
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.