View Full Version : Gearing up for baby - NewDadManual.ca

06-05-2011, 09:11 AM
Being a new dad is overwhelming, confusing, intimidating and tiring, but also amazing and just really cool. That's the message fathers are sharing with fathers on a new website designed as a "manual" for taking care of your newborn.

Launched on April 1, the Newdadmanual.ca (http://www.newdadmanual.ca/) site received 10,000 hits from 56 countries in the first month - a strong indicator that men want to know how to care for their new bundle of joy, believes Brian Russell, provincial coordinator for the Father Involvement Initiative - Ontario Network.

It's understandable that caring for a tiny newborn can be intimidating. "Most men have never held a baby until they hold their own," he says. Now imagine soothing a crying baby. "Guys are looking for information and want answers to their questions."
The fact that the site was written by guys for guys is a huge part of its appeal. Categories include safe operation, do-it-yourself, under the hood, dad's tool kit, fine tuning and fun, and troubleshooting.

"Dads look at the site and even if they're not a car guy, they get it," says Russell. "They're responding to the fact something's in their language and helps them connect with their babies. A lot of men default parenting to moms so a lot of resources for parents tend to be maternal in their focus."

Here's a sampling of tips in other categories:

"Performance: The only way to get to know your new family member is to spend time together. Don't be surprised if you feel like you don't know what you're doing at first.
"Fuel consumption: The site compares breast milk to a fuel that's so advanced it can change itself depending on the kind of driving you're doing. Even though men don't have 'the equipment,' supporting moms wanting to breastfeed is very important.
The website is just one of a growing number of resources targeted to the new generation of hands-on dads. Here's some tried-and-true advice to help them get the most out of their new role:

1. Spend as much time with your children as possible, especially when they're babies. "So much research shows the importance of making that connection in those first few months and how that pays off down the road for dads and kids," says Russell.

2. Pay attention to details. "Dads shouldn't have to go to mom to see if the bottle is too hot," says Russell. "Dads should know that kind of stuff."

3. Support and respect your children's mother. Watch for signs of the "baby blues" or postpartum depression.

4. Show love and affection toward your children.

5. Embrace your new role and talk to other dads about fathering. "A lot of times, being a new father is a very isolated feeling," says Russell. "Dads may not talk about fatherhood around the lunch table at work but are looking for opportunities to connect."
If possible and depending on your family's needs, take advantage of parental leave, advises Andrea Doucet, professor of sociology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ont. "Fathers who take that leave say how much they appreciate the time to bond with an infant and how much they appreciate what their partner does.

"They say that it's the hardest job in the world and they wouldn't have known this if they hadn't taken time off to be with their children. When women move over, men can take over the responsibilities in ways that improve their confidence," says Doucet. "If they never get that opportunity, they always rely on their partner and that sets up a long-term relationship where the woman is the expert."