baby

One in two dads are leaving newborn parenting up to the mum.

The life affirming moment of having a baby coincides with the brand new role of becoming a parent.

It’s a demanding job that many find themselves in with little or no experience and relentless on-the-job-training.

According to a new study, one in two dads are leaving it all up to the mother – but it’s not too late to turn it around.

Dads are being encouraged to get in for newborn cuddles - and why not?

A survey from parenting app, WOTBaby, found that 52.2 per cent of Australian dads had minimal to no involvement in early weeks of a newborn’s life.

WOTBaby founder and parenting expert, Jen Hamilton, says many fathers don't know how to get involved.

"Fathers can feel quite left out in the beginning and it’s really important to support mum, but with breastfeeding and the whole focus is on Mum, fathers can feel a bit unsure or uneasy," she said.

The mother-of-three, who developed an app to help "empower and guide" parents, says it's vital that fathers bond with the baby early on.

"A great way for dads to get involved from the beginning is just like mums with skin-to-skin contact and that bonding time with baby, right from the beginning.

"When mothers and babies are bonding in the beginning with that skin-to-skin contact there is a hormone released which is called oxytocin which we called the bonding hormone and it can happen between dad and baby just as much as mum," said Hamilton.

"So, it is really important that dads are aware of that and have that skin-to-skin contact so lots of cuddles from the beginning," she added.

The parenting expert says there are plenty of ways fathers can get involved in the early days.

She suggests getting in there for newborn cuddles (which could be the best kind on earth) as well as being involved in nappy changes, burping between feeds, and settling.

Over the past 28 years of working with parents, Hamilton says she has seen many fathers become absent in the newborn days because they haven't built any confidence as a parent.

"The longer you leave it and the longer you take a step back, I think the dads lose that confidence," she said.

The Sydneysider says mothers also need to allow fathers to spend alone time with their babies to help them find a rhythm.

"Mums can be very protective of the baby. It’s a nurturing instinct they kind of take over and aren't aware of getting dads more involved."

With a newborn's 24-hour schedule and the long-game that is parenting, there is always time to turn it all around.

"Even if dad has to go back to work or has to work long hours, then get involved in night feeds. Be really involved during the weekend.

"Let the father of the baby spend time with the baby alone instead of you hovering. Let them work out their own rhythm with the baby, and get to know the baby. It's just about practice and confidence and being part of it all."

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