For New Dads Like Prince Harry, Babies Are A Time Of Huge Change – Here's How To Help Your Partner And Yourself

Don’t underestimate the level of support your partner needs, practically, emotionally and physically – but it's important make time for yourself.

Prince Harry’s been in the news recently for changing nappies, like most dads do these days. But whatever your circumstances, becoming a new father, which can be a huge adjustment. So Harry, here’s a few tips.

Try to get involved from day one

Get used to holding your baby, changing their clothes and get stuck in with the nappy-changing duties. Newborn babies seem fragile, but this is an important part of the bonding experience and will soon become second nature.

Make the most of your time together

In the first weeks, family and friends will all want to meet your new baby. However, if you or your partner are feeling worn out, try to limit visits and enjoy this special time for your new family. Many dads only have a short time off work, so make the most of this time together.

Don’t feel you have to entertain your visitors

The early days of parenthood can be exhausting, so don’t be too proud to ask for help. If somebody offers to do your washing or cook for you, take them up on it. Nobody will expect the house to be spotless (unless it’s a palace), and visitors can easily make their own tea.

Support your partner

Don’t underestimate the level of support your partner needs at this time, both practically, emotionally and psychologically. She is at her most vulnerable and needs to know that you are with her all the way.

If your partner has had a caesarean or other major medical intervention, she will need extra time to recover

This means sleeping whenever the baby sleeps if possible. Staying in bed may be the best way to do this for some, whereas other women will want to be up but need to be encouraged not to do too much.

Welcome to the sleep deprivation club

As Prince William said to Prince Harry, nothing can really prepare you for the lack of sleep after becoming a new dad. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps, even if it means napping in the day. Whether your partner is breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, dads can help by soothing babies back to sleep (which can also be a good opportunity for bonding).

Have some one-to-one time

Try and spend time with the baby yourself, going for a walk or putting the baby in a sling. This will give you a chance to bond as well as letting mum have some time to relax and sleep.

There are lots of things you can do to bond with your baby

Holding him or her skin-to-skin on your chest; sharing a bath; going out walking together (using a sling or buggy); nappy changing, singing, rocking and taking turns ‘talking’, to name a few.

Neither of you may feel like having sex for a while

Between tiredness, mum’s physical recovery after birth and your shifting priorities, being a new dad can be a period of significant emotional adjustment and it may be a while before your libido returns.

Look after yourself

Don’t put the rest of your life on hold and make sure you have some ‘me time’. Keep on doing the things you enjoy whether that be a night out at the pub, a game of football or a trip to the cinema.

This video gives some more great tips from other new dads. It’s a good idea to try to spend time with others in the same boat as peer support can be a life-saver. NCT may run a Bumps and Babies group in your area. These are free drop-ins for new mums and dads to meet up for a cup of tea and a chat.