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New Dads: What to Expect After Baby Arrives

Learn what's ahead once your baby is born.

Making Time for Mom and Baby continued...

Pitch in with baby care. New babies seem so tiny and fragile that you may feel more comfortable hanging back and letting your partner handle things. But you need to dive in. The only way to become confident at giving baths, changing diapers, or rocking your baby to sleep is to do it. If you don't get involved right at the start, you'll lose an important chance to connect with your baby. Your partner is bound to start grumbling, too.

Connect with your partner. Take every chance you get to reconnect. When grandma can watch your baby for an hour, take your partner out for a walk or a drive

Remember that your work is important. If you're the chief breadwinner, you may feel guilty about going off to work while your partner is at home with the baby. Remember that you're fulfilling a key role by providing for your family.

Limit hours at work, if possible. While work may be necessary, now is not the time to add extra hours or go after a promotion. Delegate tasks and focus on efficiency to keep your work steady and predictable for the next few months. You and your partner need time to adjust.

Recruit help. Are you and your partner both feeling overwhelmed? Look for ways to shift some household responsibilities for awhile. If you can afford it, arrange for a temporary house cleaner. Ask friends or family to babysit for an hour or two or even grab take-out on your way home so you don't have to cook.

Take some time for yourself. Your partner isn't the only one who needs breaks. Don't get completely burned out juggling your responsibilities. Every once in a while, see friends to catch the game or get a drink. A few hours away can recharge you. That's good for you -- and it's good for your partner and baby, too.

Tired of Being Tired All the Time

You may have pulled all-nighters before, but did you do it night after night? Of all the changes that come with new parenthood, lack of sleep may be one of the hardest.

Before your baby, you took it for granted that you could go to bed at night and sleep till morning. But newborns don't respect their parents' normal schedule: 

  • Newborn babies sleep practically around the clock, but only for about 1 to 2 hours at a time.
  • Babies usually don't start sleeping through the night until they are at least 3 months old.
  • At 3 months, many babies will sleep for stretches of five hours at a time.
  • Normal, healthy babies cry about two hours a day until they are 6 weeks old.

This adds up to a lot of sleep loss for mom and dad.

If your partner breastfeeds solely, you may get to sleep for longer stretches during your baby's first weeks. But you'll also be making middle-of-the-night diaper changes and soothing your baby when he or she is crying but isn't hungry. How to get through it? Remember that this is temporary. Before you know it, your baby will start sleeping more than 2 hours at a time, and you'll all settle into a comfortable routine.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

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