In Honour of Babas

By Aseel Salhab,
Infant & Child Sleep Consultant,

The role of a father in the family is so important that it affects the wellbeing of the family. Many people, including mothers, stereotypically limit a father’s role to providing financial support. Yet, studies show that an involved and loving father profoundly influences the health and development of your child and family.

Studies have found that infants with highly involved fathers, measured by the amount of interaction, are more cognitively competent at six months and score higher on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, a standard series of measurements used to assess children aged 0 to 3 years. Researchers also found that such infants had a higher IQ by age three.
The involved father is also an accessible, available and understanding partner. He provides physical and emotional support to the woman carrying and parenting his child.

The marital relationship
A couple’s relationship goes through ups and downs like a roller coaster, especially when they become parents. One of the most significant factors leading to tension and issues in relationships after childbirth is tiredness; a baby keeps waking up at night due to nappy changing and feeding.

I recommend sleep training not only for the baby’s sake but also for your marital relationship. Sleep deprivation often leads to depression, anxiety, weight gain, lack of sex drive and so so on. Thus, sleep training will help all of you feel better and also need alone time together to strengthen your marriage while your baby sleeps.

Supporting spouse
Fathers can play a significant role by caring for their spouses after giving birth. Remember, postpartum blues can affect up to 80 per cent of new mothers. Here’s how you, as a husband, can be supportive:
Being understanding and flexible to these new changes as mothers undergo hormonal changes during pregnancy and after they give birth
Discussing and agreeing on shared roles toward parenting and household responsibilities
Accepting meals from family members and friends and ordering in
Seeking support and encouragement from others
Being kind and supportive in your words: Letting her know she’s doing a great job as a new mama, telling her how proud you are of her handling the added responsibility and how much you appreciate her as a wife
Showing her emotional and practical support while breastfeeding, such as keeping her company during feedings and ensuring she has plenty of water to drink. If you are bottle feeding, then you can take turns
Looking after yourself and your spouse by booking self-care appointments
Looking after your marriage by making time for each other as a couple

As you both welcome your angel from heaven, I encourage all parents to lower their expectations about parenthood. Expectations often involve impractical goals and feeling overwhelmed, negatively affecting your child’s emotional health and yours.

You can contact Aseel Salhab at
aseel.babymoon@gmail.com