We often talk about all the amazing mamas out there doing such an incredible job. Now it’s time to give a shout out to all the great dads too! I find there are several different types of dads. There’s the dad that is super involved and helping in every aspect of the routine of daily life. Then there are the fathers who are more laid back, go with the flow, will help when they are told or asked to. And then there are the dads who are always willing and wanting to help but unsure of how or what to do to be the most helpful.
They don’t want to get in the way of the routine, but they are ready and willing to jump in at any moment. The key here is communication. Communicate with your partners and be a team. This is a huge factor when raising your babies. We can’t expect partners to know how to help with things that may be new to them. Something that might be unfamiliar to dads is that often we have to teach our babes to sleep well. The earlier we can teach great sleep habits the better. How do we do this?
Here are 5 tips on how dads can help teach baby great sleep habits.
1. Help create a solid bedtime routine and get involved
Let mom have time to clean up after supper or put her feet up while you begin the bedtime routine. Bedtime is the golden ticket to sleep. Creating a solid bedtime routine helps baby differentiate between naps and nighttime sleep. A bedtime routine is important for children of all ages. The routine should take no longer than 30minutes or babe may become overtired. Read more here on the significance of bedtime routines.
Feeding- If bottle feeding, give mama a break and help with feedings. If breastfeeding, support your partner by burping and changing baby afterwards. Keep babe awake throughout the whole feed.
Bath- Bath time serves as a que that bedtime is coming. As much fun as it would be for everyone, don’t make bath time a party/splash zone for your child. Create a calming atmosphere and give your little one time to “wind down”. Fun, but not overstimulating.
Massage- massage has so many benefits for baby and aids in melatonin production. Use it as a time to be close to the baby, and help him relax before his jammies.
Story time/Nursery Rhyme- again, as much fun as it would be to break out into full on song and dance, keep this short and sweet. Reading to your little ones, even at an early age, is shown to aid in brain development, literacy, social skills, and communication.
2. Lay baby down awake
Get all those cuddles in during the awake times. If baby becomes used to being held while sleeping, he will continue to want to be held to sleep and will feel helpless on his own in his bassinet. I know this is hard for working fathers, but it benefits both you and your child. Play lots during the day and get babe used to sleeping in bassinet or crib.
3. Help with Night wakeups
Because of babes’ sleep cycles they may grunt, move or even fuss and actually still be asleep. If your baby wakes in the night wait a few minutes before picking him up. Make mornings a big deal. Take babe out of their room and play in another space with lots of natural sunlight.
4. Know the importance of consistency
This is an absolute must when it comes to sleep. Follow through with a solid bedtime routine and remain consistent with how you respond during night wakings. This will equate to developing better sleep habits quicker as it does not give baby mixed signals.
5. Support your partner and check in with them often
Be a team. It is very important to check in with your partner about how she is feeling. Believe it or not but teaching baby to sleep can be quite stressful on the parents. Your partner may not talk about the anxiety or guilt she may feel. Reassure her that establishing great sleep habits is healthy for everyone.
Every dad, if he takes time out of his busy life to reflect upon his fatherhood, can learn ways to become an even better dad. —Jack Baker
Science tells us that sleep plays a key role in brain development, memory consolidation, and learning abilities. Sleep is so important for everyone. Knowing how to create great sleep habits for your babe will directly benefit you and your partner! If you feel like you need some support getting your child’s sleep on track, we are always here to help. Reach out here and set up a call with a Mama Coach- we are so much more than sleep. You got this DAD!
Being a father means you have to think fast on your feet. You must be judicious, wise, brave, tender, and willing to put on a frilly hat and sit down to a pretend tea party. -Matthew Buckley