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Dads, Siblings and Supportive Others

Having a baby is a life-changing event for the entire family.

Now the baby is here, and your family is taking exciting steps forward on this journey together. We have assembled helpful information for dads, grandparents and siblings to adapt to having a new baby in the family.

Dads

Stay involved: Dads can do (almost) everything moms can do.

Dads can't breastfeed, but they most definitely can love, cuddle, dress, diaper, burp, bathe, carry, comfort, talk to, sing to, read to and play with their children.

Take time to really get to know your baby. Be involved, be supportive, be a good dad.

Emotions: New dads can be just as emotional as new moms.

Dads can experience temporary baby blues that may include feelings of sadness or jealousy.

Depression is also possible, and dads are encouraged to talk with their health care providers about any persistent feelings of depression or anger.

Fatigue Factor: This is a passing phase.

Exhaustion can quickly become the new normal for new parents. Try to take turns with some of the nightly duties and catch up with naps when possible. You will have fewer sleep-deprived nights as your baby grows, and children grow up faster than you expect.

Help help: Don't try to do it all alone.

Don't be afraid to plug into your network of family and friends for help and support.

Big Picture: Enjoy your new family.

It's "Daddy time", here are some ideas from our online library.

 

Siblings

Welcomes vary: Big brotherhood / sisterhood may or may not seem appealing.

Siblings' responses to the new baby can vary greatly. Natural reactions may include excitement, affection, protectiveness, curiosity, confusion, fear, anger, or resentment.

Sibling bonds develop gradually, so be patient. Remember that with time the baby will grow to be a more appealing playmate.

Age matters: Adjust preparations and expectations to the age of the children.

  • Toddlers can't really understand why their world has changed, and they may misbehave in frustration or act babyish to regain lost attention.
  • While school-age children can be better prepared to welcome the new arrival and help with care, they can still feel jealous of the focus on the baby.

What you can do: Give love, reassurance, appreciation and one-on-one time.

  • Smooth the way by frequently reassuring the baby's siblings of your love.
  • Encourage siblings to help with age-appropriate tasks, and praise them for their assistance.
  • Fit fun activities in to the day and be sure to make time for each sibling.

 

Grandparents

Grandparents matter: They can make a positive difference in their grandchildren's lives.

Strong bonds built by loving grandparents can help guide children along the path to adulthood.

Geography doesn't matter: Families can stay close even when miles apart.

The digital age offers many ways for grandparents and grandchildren to stay connected, including telephone, e-email, photography, Web cams and video.

Different roles: Remember that grandparenting is not parenting.

Grandparenting is a supporting role, and grandparents should take their lead from the parents.

 

Additional information from our online health library:

Read and learn more about support and the family from our online health library topics.  Be sure to discuss any specific questions and concerns with your health care provider.

DadsSiblings
Grandparents