Becoming a Dad


The father and breastfeeding

What to do? How?
Support your partner in her new role.

Remember that breastfeeding is a partnership between the mother and the baby. Give them time to adjust as the mother learns how to breastfeed. Be positive! Tell her that what she is doing for the baby is marvelous.

Encourage your partner with nice words and gestures. Help your partner find a comfortable position to breastfeed. Bring her a snack or drink while she is breastfeeding. Play her favorite music to help her relax.
Be there. If possible, take a few days off from work. You will need help and mutual support during the first days while getting acquainted with your baby.
Participate in the baby's care. Bring the baby to the mother at feeding time and return it to its bed after feeding. Burp the baby. Babies enjoy being carried, rocked, and being spoken to.
Take over the housework. Prepare the meals, clean the house, do the laundry, and grocery shopping. If you are not able to do so, find someone who can for a few days.
Remain near your partner when she nurses. Sit near her. Lie next to her and stay with her during the night while she breastfeeds the baby. She will appreciate your presence.
Help your partner with the nursing techniques learned. Remind her of the breastfeeding techniques you both learned in Module 4 entitled ''Choosing to Breastfeed'' or during the prenatal classes.
Comfort your baby during difficult times. Place the baby on your bare chest his/her little ear against your heart. Your heartbeats and the up and down movements of your chest when you breathe usually put the baby to sleep. Remember that both the mother and the baby benefit from your comforting efforts.
Help your partner rest. Limit the number of visitors during the first few days. The baby, mother, and family will benefit from these quiet moments together.
Discuss together. Discuss sharing the parental leave. Speak about your concerns and find solutions together.

Life with a newborn

What to do? How?
Read and inquire about how to care for a newborn.

The module entitled ''Healthy Family'' has information on this topic and advice for the new father on how to take care of himself. While your partner is in the hospital, learn togeher how to bathe, dress, and change the diapers. Practice picking up and holding the baby before coming home. The more you know about what is normal for a newborn, the less you will worry.

Try to balance work and family. Try to take a few days off, if possible, to greet the new baby. Learning to take care of a newborn is not an easy task. You and your partner will have to support and help each other while you get acquainted with your baby and also share the housework. Your partner will need more help while she is recuperating from the delivery.
Be positive. Even though babies are a lot of responsibility, they are also a source of grace and joy. Being a father can make you feel proud and give you specific goal in life. Your life is really going to change. If you have love and affection, this change is good.
Listen. Take the time to listen to your partner. Good communication is more important now than ever.
Talk with other fathers. Discuss what you are going through with other fathers. You may be surprised to see how your reactions and feelings are similar. It will make you feel good to share with people that are going through the same thing you are.
Learn massage techniques for babies.

A massage allows a soft and warm contact between the parent and the baby. The technique is easy to learn and it can diminish the parent's stress while it teaches the baby to relax.

Rub your hands with warm vegetable oil. As you rub the baby gently, watch its reactions to find out what the baby prefers and what is most satisfying. A massage usually lasts between 10 to 15 minutes, but the most important thing is that you relax so you both can enjoy the experience.

Remember that you are the father. Don't forget that the baby needs both of you. In good or bad times, you are both members of the newborn's team.

Different types of violence

Types of violence Examples
Psychological violence
  • You humiliate her by using words such as ''silly'', ''stupid'', ''good for nothing'', etc.
  • Your swear at her.
  • You show jealousy.
  • You prevent her from seeing her friend and/or family.
  • You prevent her from working outside the home or participating in activities.
  • You have a violent behaviour (ex.:. break things, bang on the walls or on objects) or you threaten her in order to scare her.
Physical violence
  • You push her, pinch her, squeeze her arms, throw her to the floor, hit her, or inflict bodily harm.
Sexual violence
  • You insult her about her sexuality ''not good in bed'', ''not sexually attractive'', etc.
  • You say hurtful comments about her body ''fat'', ''skinny'', ''ugly'', etc.
  • You force her to perform sexual acts she does not want.


Similarly to the mother, becoming a father also implies being comfortable caring for the baby. As your relationship with your child develops, you will have more confidence and satisfaction assuming your role in the family.

Offer your child love and affection which are more important than material gifts. You will both profit from the bond between you and your child. An attentive and committed father plays an important role in the emotional, social, and mental well-being of his child not only when he or she is small but for the rest of his or her life.



3. Shaken Baby Syndrome

This is what happens when a baby is shaken.

  • Your infant will feel pain and will be afraid, which will make it cry even more.
  • When you shake your baby, its head will be tossed frontward and backward. The baby is not strong enough to stop the movement.
  • Because the baby's head is large compared to the rest if its body, you must support its head when lifting or laying the baby down.
  • Your baby's brain is delicate. When a baby is shaken, its brain strikes against the interior of its head which can result in bleeding. Shaking can cause brain damage leading to convulsions, learning disabilities, behavior problems, or even death.
  • Babies of less than eleven months are easily injured if shaken. Even older children may be injured. Throwing a baby up in the air or swinging them without supporting the head can also injure the baby.

Talk with everyone involved in the care of your baby such as older children, babysitters, friends, family, or any intervener responsible for taking care of the baby. Tell them to be careful and never to shake your baby. Never leave your baby with someone that has a violent temper or someone you don't know.

If a baby seems to have stopped breathing, call 911. Shaking a baby will not cause it to start breathing but could injure him or her.


ATTENTION !  Never shake your baby. It only takes a few seconds to cause permanent injury.


2. The Baby that Cries Continuously

Certain babies are inconsolable. To hear an infant crying continuously is difficult to handle. Don't hesitate to take a break. If you have the impression that you are going to lose patience, here is what you can do.

If you have the impression that your baby has been crying for hours and that nothing seems to help, you are probably exhausted and angry. No matter how you feel, never shake your baby.

1. Tricks to Comfort Your Baby

Here are a few tips to comfort your crying baby.


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