Infant Care

A StayAtHome Dad’s Version

Your little one has been home for just over two, three or about six 6 months now. At this point comes the decision on who stays back and/or who goes to work. Even how do we both go back to work but take care of our little sunshine at the same time? Daycare, crèche and many options are available for working parents. There are a few who opt to take care of their bubs. After the lots have been drawn and the coin tossed or by a mutual agreement, ‘a decision’ is made. 

Maybe…Mommy could stay back. The other option is Daddy stays at home and will take care of the little one. Mama can go to work! Yay! For some this may sound as a joke. No, it’s a great decision too. As a father, and from personal experience, I will say, you will get more time to bond with your little one and it’s pure joy at times. Note my emphasis on at times… It’s not going to be a walk in the park. But it’s going to be fun and just fair. The key is preparation. I read somewhere luck is when hard work meets preparation. And believe me, it’s true!

To put it simple, what do YOU have to keep track of? And let’s explore each one in detail.

Important Note - Remember do not do anything without consulting with your child's paediatrician. 
These are just suggestions and illustrations to help and give an idea. 

1. Feeding time

For a six-month-old baby, you will need to feed the little one at least once every 2 hours. At this stage, it’s mostly formula, purees, and soft food. This is aside from mother’s milk when mama is at home with the baby. Remember breastfeeding is the best and do continue breastfeeding your little one until the doctor says so or the mother cannot express milk any longer. Once the baby has eaten then it’s burping time. Either seat baby comfortably on your knee with baby’s head held carefully but securely in your hands. Gentle tap baby’s back till he or she lets out a glorious burp! Once this has happened the next thing is to allow the baby some time to lettuce food settle in. Now is not the time to play with the baby! Allow the baby to lay on your shoulder and you can walk about or rock the baby gently while sitting.

2. Diaper change time

This one is not hard at all. Keep checking your little one’s diaper as often as possible. Usually, when the infant has answered nature’s call it won’t be too hard to tell especially if it is a big job! Also known as number 2, poo, etc etc. 

Choosing a diaper for your tiny tot is usually based on the child’s skin reaction or acceptance of certain types and even brands. Please be warned diaper rash is not pleasant for the child. Especially just as the little one starts to crawl and walk. The reason I won’t give outbound names here is that each baby is different. What worked for our little bundle of joy may or may not work for yours.

Another important thing is to know when to powder the baby’s bottom. If you have used wet wipes allow the bottom to air and dry a bit before you put the next diaper. We wouldn’t want a cake-like paste on the little one’s tender soft skin. This can cause rashes.

3. Bath time

Always good to bathe the baby when it is warm outside. Cold season and rains call for a sponge bath and when the sun does come out ensure the baby has a bath. Now you can choose to give the little one a nice oil massage before the bath. It has its benefits! However, do not yank at his/ her limbs or roughly rub your little one’s skin. Gently does the trick. Usually, this is an amazing time for fun play while getting the baby the needed limb movement and getting some blood circulating as well.

Bath amenities are something I will leave for you to decide. Trial and error can help. But easier still is to do some snooping (haha). Ask people, check google reviews, and ask your paediatrician. You will be surprised at what you learn. Some may be even better for your tot! Make bath time fun, add rubber duckies, bath books, and bubbles if you can. The baby will have a ball during the bath.

4. Playtime 

Your infant will need tummy time and the best time is when the little one has eaten about 45 minutes prior. And do not strain the baby’s back by leaving him or her to lie on their belly for too long until they can turn on their own. Check for appropriate times from your paediatrician. Why? It’s better to go with an expert’s opinion and working knowledge than to follow a fad or hearsay. Toys, a designated play area, and a stimulating environment can help. And finally the most important…

5. Sleep time

A baby of this age tends to need a lot of sleep. The reason is they are growing fast. Fast. They almost double in height and triple in weight by age 1. Newborns should get about 14–17 hours of sleep over 24 hours. Some newborns may sleep up to 18–19 hours a day. Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. 

It’s a challenge. A challenge worth every second. Relax a little, brace for impact, there are plenty. All you have to remember is, these moments are precious and they never last for ever. I will simply say, just enjoy, cherish and be kind to yourself, your partner and let love flow.

Follow Ignatius Deepak Stanley

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