A Dad’s Guide to Baby Sleep with The Daddy Sleep Consultant
When you first bring your new bundle home, Dads can sometimes feel like a bit of a spare part. As a new Dad, this was something I wasn’t prepared for. I kind of accepted that during pregnancy and birth I was going to take a bit of a passenger seat as my wife did the amazing job of growing and birthing our son. When he arrived, I thought it was automatically going to be my time to shine. But, as my wife was the primary feeder, and I was back at work full time after a few weeks , it wasn’t so obvious to see what my role was.
Dads can play a huge role in the sleep process. For any single Dads or families with two Dads, you will or have already become the primary feeder, but here are some tips that I would recommend so us Dads can help around the sleep process (in addition to the hugely role important we already play as a Dad).
Step up the Set Up
Getting the room set up for baby’s arrival is a great one for Dad. Do some research on the optimal sleep environment (keeping the room dark, baby in with you for 6 months, different bedding options for safe sleep ).
Laying the Foundations of Sleep
Often the primary feeder is so focused on nursing the baby that they don’t have time to find out more about what helps lay good sleep foundations. This is where, if circumstances permit, Dad can really help by learning about how babies sleep, and what steps the whole family can take to try and get the baby as much sleep as possible, especially during the night.
Following on from this point, Dads can use this knowledge to help create bedtime and daytime routines at the appropriate time. The daytime routine will not be something you can implement for at least the first 6-8 weeks, but a gentle bedtime routine can be started from very early on. Consistent bedtime routines help babies feel more secure as they begin to understand what is coming next and babies like to know this! It also helps separate daytime and night time which is essential for leading the baby towards sleeping longer stretches at night when they are ready.
Bonding With Your Baby
If your baby will take milk from a bottle (breast or formula), then bedtime is a great opportunity to have some one-on-one time with your little one. Introducing this early sets out this time for the both of you for the future. It also gives Mum a bit of time to herself. Mums don’t think about their own self-care enough and it’s so important.
Responding to Your Baby
I find that Dads can often play a vital role in determining the right response to babies during the night. Our natural inclination is to respond to our child immediately if they make a noise, but unless they are in distress, it’s important to give them the opportunity to try and settle themselves back to sleep. If you tend to them too quickly, they get used to that level of “service” and won’t learn how to settle themselves, which then can become a longer-term pattern and problem. I absolutely do not believe in letting a baby cry it out. But, if your baby is making snuffling noises, sometimes this is them creating a little white noise for themselves to help them transition to their next sleep cycle. Picking them up when they don’t need to can break this transition and prevent self-learning.
These are, of course, just a few tips for new dads. The most important thing to remember is that every family and every baby is different. This is why The Daddy Sleep Consultant offers courses, as well as one-to-one sessions and tailored advice for new parents as they navigate night times with their little one. For more tips and baby sleep advice, explore the Snuz Sleep Centre today!