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Becoming a new parent or DAD again

Being a parent for the first time is exciting but it comes with responsibilities and part of that responsibility is making sure your child grows up in a safe yet still stimulating environment so they can develop to their maximum potential. One of the best ways to ensure safety is to take time every few weeks, to view our home from your child’s perspective. To that end, you might like to get down on their level, literally! Start crawling around your home to see where potential dangers might be – it’s amazing what you come across on the floor, including dropped medication, sharp corners and unplugged electrical sockets- accidents waiting to happen! Below is a step by step guide on how to childproof your home depending on child’s age, development and needs.

The New Born Stage

When you bring your newborn home from hospital, it is a “getting to know each another phase” for you all. The baby’s room, or nursery is the first room to organise and have ready, when your baby arrives! First up, never, ever leave a baby alone without parental supervision. It’s as simple as that. Make sure your child is within earshot when they are sleeping. Another piece of invaluable advice is to not over fold baby blankets when they are sleeping and resting – they can overheat quickly that way.

The Baby Stage

blind-cord-wind-upsSeek out danger and take preventative measures to ensure your young children are safe at home, every day. An investment in blind cord wind-ups or wraps (pictured) from the beginning is very worthwhile, and are easily installed (a perfect “dad” job). On a serious note, they keep blind cords out of the reach of babies in their cots and from older siblings in general. Over-long cords can lead to strangulation. And remember to move cots and beds away from windows and window fittings whenever possible.

 


Night time

For night time action, a night light is good to have on, one that is not too bright, so you can keep an eye on your sleeping baby, it is also very handy for all those middle of the night feeds, changes and daddy cuddles too!

The Waddler and Toddler Stage

powerpoint-coversAs your baby grows and becomes more mobile (and curious), safety around the home is impetrative! Key rooms to keep safe are the kitchen and living areas. A good job for all new dads is to ensure your house is ready for your baby when he/she becomes mobile. Young babies and children are very inquisitive and learn through repeated observation. Invest in a few child safety locks. By using a variety of different locks and latches that work in different ways, it becomes harder for young children to work out how to open them. Also, make sure you have the right lock or latch for each cupboard depending on the type of handle. Dreambaby® have a huge range of locks and latches to suit your home and needs. Remember to cover all power points around you home too!

Bathroom Safety

In the bathroom ensure your bath tub is non-slippery, and there is a suitable baby bath to assist with bathing of your baby. Always keep medicines out of the way of babies by keeping them up high in secured cupboards. Other necessities to have on hand are medicine droppers, a rapid response digital thermometer and last but not least, make sure baby’s nails are kept short. Use baby scissors or clippers (don’t tear nails or bite them off even if they are very soft). Babies often put their hands up to their faces and can scratch their corneas and cut their faces if their nails are overly long.

Equipment and Baby Investments

Make sure all your baby equipment, furniture including your cot and pram, meet government and industry standards. Try not to buy second hand if you can, as it is never easy to gage the wear and tear on items. Also check to see if screws are tightly secured, both when you set up equipment, and afterwards as things loosen along the way. For instance, safety gates need adjusting on a regular basis.

There is so much information available for new parents, it can be a very fast learning curve!

Enjoy these early years as a new dad, as everting will tell you, they grow up fast and it will all too soon, be a distant memory!

For further advise and tips, a visit to your Early Childhood Centre is a good start. Your GP and Paediatrician are also invaluable when it comes to questions about baby’s safety, healthy wellbeing. Also check out the Kidsafe website for general safety information and of course visit the Dreambaby® website for safety product suggestions and solutions or call (02) 9386 4000. And be part of the safety conversation: Dreambaby Safety Facebook page. For useful safety tips & advice from Dreambaby®, check out DreambabyTV

How to secure your relationship during the parenting years

How to secure your relationship during the parenting yearsHave you thought about your transition from Partner to Parent? Everybody will win if you get it right – YOU, your partner and the children. Lets not forget it costs way less to live together as a family than to live separately.

It’s so important to secure your relationship during the parenting years and be aware that relationships can decline once the children arrive. Its not only the parents that suffer but the children can be effected emotionally and academically too. Don’t worry, it’s not inevitable for all couples but you must enter parenthood with your eyes open, understand and accept that your life will never again be how you knew it.

There has been studies conducted on this topic to find out what couples are doing right and what couples are they doing wrong?

Couples were monitored from prepregnacy to when the children were in preschool, the findings were very interesting…

92% of the couples in the study described a gradual increase in conflict after having their baby. By the time their babies were 18 months old, almost one in four couples indicated that their marriage was in distress. This does not include the 13% who already had announced separations and divorces.

One stage is not harder on relationships than another. There is a cumulative erosion of satisfaction over time. Parents of school-age children experience less depression and personal stress than they did when their kids were babies, marital satisfaction continues its steady decline for most couples.

So how does a couple remain happy?

The key to marital satisfaction lies in how couples manage the decision-making process. It’s not whether the couples have problems, because every couple does. When babies come along, there are a lot more issues and differences of opinion to negotiate, and a couple’s ability to do so with cooperation and respect can make or break the marriage.

It’s also important for partners to hear each others outbursts without immediately firing back or engaging in blame. The person who said or did something thoughtless needs to make amends later. Saying, “I made that comment out of anger. I really didn’t mean it,” goes a long way toward repairing a relationship.

They also put some expectant couples in groups with trained leaders and found years later that their satisfaction did not decline.

Many people take prenatal classes, learning how to breathe during childbirth, but few give much thought to what the next 20 years are going to be like. Couples in our study joined the groups when the wives were seven months pregnant and met weekly until the babies were 3 months old.

The group helped them start thinking concretely about what life with the baby would be like and enabled them to talk about their ideas, worries, and confusion before and after the birth. Six years later, the couples who remained married and had been in these groups were far more satisfied with their relationships.

So what do couples fight about?

New parents say it’s the division of labor, the who-does-what in the family.

When children become school-age, the issues of money and spending time together then become the things they fight about.

And what about sex?

Sex is a good temperature check of how the rest of the relationship is going. If you feel hurt or misunderstood, or you and your wife are struggling over but not resolving issues, that affects how attracted, nurturing, and ready to have sex you’ll be.

The frequency of lovemaking declines during the early months of parenthood when mothers especially are exhausted, but we find that most couples’ sex lives rebound within two years. During that time, though, some partners may not initiate even snuggling or touching for fear that it will give the message that they’re ready to have sex when they aren’t. We advise couples to be perfectly clear: “I’m not sure how much energy I have tonight, but I’d love to hold you for a few minutes.” That enables them to have more intimate time together and show caring for each other.

Many new mothers talk about feeling unattractive after the birth. But while a few men find it hard to see their wives as sexual after having children, most husbands are supportive about their wives’ appearance.

What can couples do on their own to help their relationship?

Work on issues with your partner when you’re calm — not at 2 a.m., when the baby won’t sleep. Often after couples have had a fight, they’re reluctant to bring up the issue again. But if you don’t, it can linger and resentment can build.

If you argue in front of your kids, tell them later that you worked out your disagreement or show them that you did by calming yourselves down in front of them.

Make time for the relationship. You may not be able to afford a sitter or be ready to leave your baby, but you can check in with each other for at least 10 minutes every day. That can be done after you put the kids to bed or even on the phone while you’re both at work, as long as you’re sharing what happened to you that day and how it’s affecting you emotionally. The pace of life today is so frenetic that few couples do this. But marriages are capable of change, and small changes can make big differences.

Being aware of what can go wrong when changing from partner to parent and how it can be a mine field for new dads will hopefully make you acknowledge that the first few years will take patience, understanding and commitment from both partners to make it successful – don’t go in blind!

I heard when we get it right it can create happiness equate to the feeling of quadrupling your salary…says Harvard psychologist Robert Putnam. He goes on to explain…

Making a good friend is equal to tripling a salary. Belonging to a club can cause an increase in happiness equivalent to doubling a salary. And going on picnics three times a year is the same as receiving a 10 per cent raise. Lets quadruple our happiness!

Please share this post with anyone you know going into parenthood  🙂

Credit for this research study goes to Philip Cowan, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of California and his wife Carolyn Pape Cowan, Ph.D. Professor of psychology.