Most fathers express interest, curiosity and delight in their new offspring. Just as mothers, fathers too appreciate the miracle of birth and the arrival of a new life. Some men are cautious and sometimes fearful that they may harm their infant by doing something wrong. But most fathers, with the help and support of their partners, quickly learn how to hold babies safely, especially supporting their head and neck. They learn to feel more confident and comfortable and become active participants along with their partners in parenting their new baby. Starting the process of being involved early is a good way to pave the way for later involvement.
Changes in hospital practices have made fathers more welcome than before. Many fathers choose to be present during labor and delivery. By being present and by being able to share the moments with their partner and their baby afterwards, the father is set to be involved in the joy of parenting with their partner.
Just as mothers cannot always fix an infant’s problem, fathers should remember that they too may not be able to do that. So, for example if the father fails to calm his baby or get the baby to eat or sleep, he should try not to get angry and frustrated but remain calm and take a break or simply ask for help.
Even in today’s society which offers more equal opportunities for men and women, boys and girls have very different childhood experiences. But this does not mean that they are incompetent, they simply have more to learn in a shorter time than women.
Fathers can learn other care giving tasks such as changing diapers; even if the first few tries may result in crooked diapers, no child ever suffered long term damage from a crooked or ill fitting diaper!
Fathers, at least, initially are less knowledgeable about normal infant development as mothers. Gaining realistic expectations about the infant’s developmental milestones is important for both the parents. Fathers can quickly acquire and master the basics of early infant care giving.
Early investment and interest in the baby during pregnancy is likely to activate the hormonal system of the father too. This makes them more likely to be responsive to his infant.