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Dad holding excited baby.
Jayme M

Helping Your Partner Be Dad

My husband and I started out on almost equal footing when our son was born. I had more experience with babies than he had, but not by leaps and bounds. We both became first time parents at the same time.  I've already shared at how great my husband was in the hospital and in the early days. He truly was amazing.

But soon, my husband went back to work. He was still just as eager to help me and care for his son, but it was different somehow. He wasn't there all the time like I was. He knew how our day went only because I told him, not because he was right there experiencing it with us like he had before.

I started to know our son better than he did. As my son grew (and even just a few days can make a world of a difference when you're a newborn!), techniques that used to calm him no longer worked. He changed the way and the amount that he liked to eat. He changed his preferences in how he slept. Babies just do that. The problem was that my husband was limited in his time with our son and he had few hours each day when I had all day.

My husband would get frustrated when he was unable to comfort Finn. Something that he used to be good at no longer came easy to him. So what'd I do? I showed him what usually works for me and then left the house. It was just for an hour or so as I went to lunch. By myself!  Each person has to find their way of comforting each baby. What works for one parent might not work for another. What works with one baby might not work with the next. My husband and son just needed to find their way.

Sometimes, the best way that a mom can help is to teach, then get out of the way. I could have just continued to do it all myself, but that wasn't best for my husband. It wasn't best for my son either. I had to let Dad be dad. Even if it meant a few more tears and frustrations. If there had been a safety issue or if my husband became too frustrated, he could always call or tell me that he was uncomfortable with me leaving, but that wasn't the case. He was just a little nervous, that's all.

My husband was willing to put forth the effort and spend the time to be a great dad. The rewards are huge for all of us!

Did your partner have to "get the hang of" being a dad? Or was he a natural?

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