New fathers: 5 tips to accompany you along paternity

Fathers are gaining confidence and want to be present for their children! We see them more and more doing their groceries with baby on their back. Some even choose to become stay-at-home dads and let mom go to work!

People talk a lot about the development of the emotional bond between mothers and their children, but what can we say about the bond between a father and his baby?

We now know that the father’s presence in answering children’s needs from early infancy and onward encourages a balanced emotional development. With parental leave now available for fathers to enjoy, it’s possible for them to stay with their newborn and care for the tiny treasure that constitutes a huge step in their couple’s life.

The benefits of a paternal presence are numerous: bonding, psychological balance, identity development… being an involved father means consolidating the family nucleus for the good of the whole family! Here are a few tips to accompany you in the wonderful world of fatherhood.

1. Get involved from the start

Porte-bébé PopNGo

Get involved as early as pregnancy! Accompany your spouse to medical appointments and prenatal classes and share viewpoints on each other’s implications and the values you want to transmit.

Later on, in your baby’s first weeks, spend time with it. There’s more than one way to go about it: caring for it, baths, changing diapers, bottle feeding, taking a walk with the stroller or the baby carrier, singing, talking, massages or skin-to-skin. By spending time with your baby, you’ll build a solid emotional bond that will last a lifetime!

If your spouse is breastfeeding, understand that this is not an obstacle to your implication. To take part in breastfeeding yourself, you can help your spouse to set up for breastfeeding and find a good position, ensure her comfort and reassure her. You can also use the time she is breastfeeding to do chores around the house or, after she is done feeding the baby, give her the opportunity to rest by putting your baby to sleep, calm him down or keep him entertained.

Image: A father with the PöpNgo baby carrier

2. Use your parental leave

In Québec, fathers can benefit from parental leave up to five weeks. They can also share their parental leave with their spouse. It’s awesome! You’ll have to determine together when will be the ideal moment for you to take the time off or how to share it. This will be highly dependent on your financial, professional and family situation. For example, if your parents or siblings are available to help you, this will have leverage on your decision. One thing is certain though, you should take advantage of your parental leave! Although it’s rare for fathers to truly take advantage of their child care leave, studies show that parents benefit from sharing their parental leave. When mothers are the only ones making use of it, the chances of inequalities in childcare responsibilities are greater.

By taking your parental leave, you’ll also contribute to breaking prejudices! Sadly, there’s still a lot to be done on this front. We’ve all heard people talk about parental leave as if it’s like going on vacation! You are entitled to your parental leave. Sit down with your spouse and take the decision you really want!

3. Talk about your worries and doubts

Porte-bébé Chimparoo Multi 2.0

The arrival of a baby is a great upheaval that brings its lot of happiness but also anxiety. Obviously, there’s the worries relative to the baby’s wellness and dangers to its safety, but also things related to the couple’s relationship, each partner’s lifestyle, habits and roles. These fears are felt by both parents.

Oftentimes, our attention revolves around the mother, while we tend to forget to also take care of the father. We hear a lot about postpartum depression in mothers, but fathers can also be seen experiencing depression after their baby’s birth. According to an article from Naître et grandir (only in French) a study conducted a few years ago reports that 4% of fathers presented symptoms of depression in the first two months after their baby was born.

It’s true that pregnancy and giving birth are extremely tiresome on the mother’s body, but the stress the father is going through is also important. Parenthood is a great shock to a father and he will sympathize with the mother. If the first few weeks with their baby are difficult for the mother, they will also be hard on the father.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, and don’t hesitate to voice your worries and feelings, and if you feel you need it, talk to a healthcare professional.

Image: A father with the Multi 2.0 baby carrier

4.Be proud of your fatherhood!

Mom might be essential, but even if your role as a father is different, you’re just as important. Several studies have shown that fathers’ engagement is beneficial in many ways :

  • Promotes the child’s physical health
  • Encourages breastfeeding
  • Fosters emotional bonding
  • Has a positive effect on the child’s cognitive development
  • Helps the development of child’s language skills
  • Develops the child’s autonomy and resilience
  • Readies the child to be more adventurous
  • Improves mental health
  • Promotes good social skills
  • Preserves the mother’s psychological wellbeing
  • Improves the sharing of chores at home
  • Improves the personal and professional lives of the father

The bond fathers have with their child is often considered activated attachment behaviour. Fathers have a tendency to prefer physical activities: having their child jump on their knees or carry them on their shoulders, etc. This type of exercise activates the child’s cognitive development and exploratory behavior. It’s an excellent way to encourage a child to discover his environment and become more adventurous. Studies reveal that fathers tend to create this sort of link with their child more often than mothers.

5. Can mom help you out?

Porte-bébé Trek Air-O

For the child’s well-being, the engagement of both parents is crucial. Some mothers have a tendency to impose their outlook and ways of doing things. They’re not doing this out of malice. They simply believe that they know what’s best for their child better than anyone else. It should be recognized that there’s more than one way to care for a baby and that as long as your baby’s safety is not compromised, you can care for him your own way. If you feel judged, you’re at risk of giving up.

If your spouse is encouraging and positive, you’ll naturally be more involved and it will be for the good of the whole family! Your spouse should give you the place that is yours. If it’s not the case, you should talk about it. Tell her of your desire for commitment as a father and agree together on the best way for you to fill your role.

Dear fathers, be confident! You’re different but complementary to mothers. Keep in mind that raising a child is not an exact science. You have room for mistakes. What really matters is to team up with the mother of your child and put his needs at the center of your decisions. Thank you for your desire to be involved and present. All of society benefits from it!

Image: A family with the father carrying his child with the EvoAir baby carrier


For further reading, take a look at our article on the advantages of babywearing for fathers here (in French).

On our YouTube page and our Frequently Asked Questions page, you’ll find interesting resources to develop your babywearing skills. You can also contact us here.