Is infant formula safe? Do I really need to sterilize everything? What if my baby doesn’t like me? Is green mushy poop normal? These are among the myriad questions that run through the minds of new dads. If you’re feeling a bit embarrassed about asking what might seem like a basic question, we’re here to help with answers to the five most common new dad conundrums:
1. How do I bond with my baby since I can’t nurse?
Though you can’t breastfeed, you can be part of the process by helping your partner out. Carry the baby to her, grab pillows, and ensure she has everything she needs. You can also take over for burping, and diaper changes offer a chance for you to bond with the little one. If you’re worried about being grossed out, keep in mind that the poop of babies that are exclusively breastfeeding is far less offensive than the joy that emanates from bottle-fed bundles.
The key thing to remember is skin-on-skin contact. Not only does this boost bonding, but it also fosters a calmer temperament in your bub while helping regulate their temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
2. Is that acne on my baby’s face?
Yep, it sure is! Baby acne is surprisingly common and usually strikes at around the 2-3 week mark. There’s no need to stress – it is perfectly normal and affects around 40% of newborns.
If you’re curious about the cause, it’s mostly down to hormonal changes, breastfeeding, and underdeveloped pores.
3. How are we meant to sleep?
This is a tricky one and every parent’s experience will be different. However, there are a few rules to live by that will help. Avoid using caffeine to pep you up for middle of the night feeds – this will only mess with your sleeping patterns more. Instead, try to adjust your sleep to match what your baby is doing. Natural supplements (such as chamomile for sleep and theacrine for alertness) can be helpful in regulating this pattern.
4. Is it the end of the world if we have to use infant formula?
One thing new parents hear a lot of is that “breast is best.” This can lead to a whole lot of anxiety for those who have trouble latching or for adopted parents and solo dads with newborns. While there really is no comparison to a mother’s milk, you do not need to stress or panic if that’s not possible in your circumstances. As long as you choose a high-quality infant formula and pay close attention to nourishing your baby, you can raise a perfectly healthy child without access to breastmilk.
5. How hardcore do I have to be about sterilizing bottles and binkies?
Ideally, you would sterilize bottles and binkies after every use. If a binkie drops onto the ground, it should be properly sterilized too. However, this level of perfection just isn’t possible for many new parents. And that’s okay. If you can at least manage a good wash with soap and water between every feeding, and then full sterilization overnight, you’re doing well. This will still kill off any bacteria or viruses that might otherwise be passed on to your baby. Whatever you do, be sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly as your general hygiene is just as important as the sterilization of bottles.
The biggest thing for new dads to remember is that you should never feel embarrassed about asking questions. Whether online or in real life, there’s always someone with the answers you need.
Featured image courtesy of Ricardo Moura – Pexels.