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Bringing up Children - start as you mean to go on

Tags: dad, baby, paternity, domestic, work, sharing responsibility of children, bringing up children, bringing up children together, start as you mean to go on

Do you want to be the sort of old-fashioned dinosaur dad who leaves all the messy baby stuff to your partner, and only gets involved when your child is old enough to take to the park and play football with? Hopefully not!

There’s lots of research that shows besides lightening the load for her, doing the mundane day-to-day tasks of looking after a baby helps reinforce the bond with your baby which is hugely important.

How much you can do depends on your work situation so don’t feel guilty. Try and take all the paternity leave you can get and/or afford – your partner will take several weeks to recover from the birth, so she’ll appreciate it, and you might never get another chance to take this kind of time off. You are entitled to at least two weeks. If work aren’t happy about it, don’t worry - it is your legal right. However important your work is, this is important too. They’ll cope (and understand even if they don’t say so) and when you return with all your new baby photos they will love it.

During paternity leave, take on more of the physical domestic tasks like food shopping, cooking, and tidying and so on. Also take a share of nappy-changing and, if you’re bottle-feeding your baby, that too (although breast milk is of course medically recommended, bottle feeding at least lets you split the workload).

When (and if – as being a homedad is some couples choice too!) you go back to work, it’s up to you to find the balance. You’ll want to get some time with the baby anyway. But remember that just because you’ve had a tiring day at work, it doesn’t mean your partner hasn’t had just as tiring a day at home.

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