Updated: Aug 15, 2019
Having a baby is a life changing, unforgettable and beautiful experience. Often people focus on the mother, their birth, their recovery and how they are coping with a baby. Dads can often be overlooked, forgotten and bossed around.
Working together effectively as a couple is an excellent foundation for a long and happy marriage and content children with their own hopes and dreams. It is statistically proven that couples argue more in the first year of having baby, which makes sense with all the sleep loss, changes and challenges of this time.
However it also makes sense to reduce and prevent arguing just to save energy and to provide baby with a comfortable and happy environment. No one would set out to argue but often couples get stuck in a loop, with no way out.
It is important to understand the expectations of dads and know some strategies for parenting together in order to reduce arguing and enjoy that first year.
Dad's can be expected to do everything in exactly the same way as the mum without as much practice.
There is often no right or wrong way to do things but the mother might have learnt that one way seems to reduce the fussing or crying of baby.
Mother's can become extremely worried that dad won't look after baby in the safest way and hover next to the father, advising and bossing as they do anything.
Babies can learn from things being done in different ways.
Babies are thought to benefit from the more rough and tumble play with dads as they learn to show when they have had enough.
The first year can be exhausting and mother's often find it difficult to learn to relax and take a break from baby.
Strategies for Effective Parenting
Choose a time for dad to look after baby on his own regularly, then he can choose the 'right' way to do his job.
Mum's to watch and let dad learn when something goes wrong, and try not to say anything (as long as baby is safe).
Both parents understanding that they are not perfect parents but are learning together and making decisions together.
Talking together regularly when baby is asleep, about baby, work and the world.
Problem solve together - consider all the solutions, choose one and try it out.
Share responsibilities fairly (not equally) as each person has different commitments.
Understand expectations of each other.
Tell each other your emotions, thoughts and worries.
Respond with 'I understand that must be ...'.
Try not to think of one person as right and the other as wrong in an argument, everyone just has different perspectives.
Try not to change the other person but change how you relate to them.
Avoid saying "you always...you never... you're an idiot... etc."
Start arguments calmly with "I feel... when you... Is there any way that we could find a solution to this problem?"
Don't expect never to argue again, it is healthy and normal to feel annoyed, frustrated, angry or emotional. The more sleep you get the easier it will be to share these emotions calmly and solve any problems which are causing them.
Read my blog on helping baby sleep through the night to help with this.
Bristol Antenatal Classes
Book a Bristol antenatal course to find out more about parenting together successfully and to practise key skills with realistic baby dolls. Book online today.