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Parenting
Vetted by Dr Jasmin Rajesh, MBBS, MD (Ped.) on 27 May, 2022
Father and his little girl

Dad on Duty: Questionnaire answered for a keen DAD, Raising a Girl

Dads are every daughter’s, first love! The bond they share is unique. Little girls who share a close relationship with their dads grow up to be self-assured, confident women. 

How are girls different?

Raising a girl can be one of the scariest things for fathers. They do not want to go wrong or hurt their little princess. During pregnancy, it’s true that mothers experience many physical and emotional changes, but dads-to-be grapple with their feelings and concerns too. An expecting father may feel overwhelmed, panicked, and scared before his baby is born. He too may have many questions pressing on his mind: Will I be able to care for and provide for my baby? Will I be a good dad? Will I lose my independence? Will this change my relationships? 

Being a father to a daughter is a different rollercoaster ride altogether. Dads are often confused about how to parent daughters. They are afraid that they might not be able to connect with their daughters like the mothers do. 

So, what should dads keep in mind and avoid while raising a daughter?

Expecting fathers should understand their role as a dad and participate actively during pregnancy and childbirth. This helps to lessen the stress that mothers go through and also provides a healthy environment for the baby to grow. Here's how you can bond with your little one:
  • Babies recognise voices in the third trimester. So, sing, read, and talk to your baby while she is still inside the womb.
  • Take parenting classes with your partner or get yourself some books or YouTube education. These will prepare you for raising a baby, like doing things like feeding and changing diapers, and even keeping her safe.
  • Be available when your partner has appointments. During check-ups, you can see your baby and hear her heartbeat, making you feel more connected to her.
  • Support your partner during childbirth. Getting to see your newborn for the first time is a life-changing experience that you should never miss.
  • Once your baby is born, continue talking and singing to her. Seeing her responses will make your efforts worthwhile.
  • Help your partner with burping the baby after feeding, changing diapers, giving baths, settling her into sleep, or walking and soothing her when she is upset. Raising a baby is hard work, and actively sharing responsibilities from the beginning will give you an opportunity to bond with your baby and build a strong relationship.
  • Pay close attention to your baby’s cues. Over time, your baby will develop ways to tell you how she’s feeling and what she needs. By caring for and playing with her, you will be able to recognise and respond to these cues.
  • Never miss a chance to carry your baby and cuddle her. Skin-to-skin cuddles can calm your baby and help you bond.
  • As she grows older, plan a daily activity that your baby enjoys. For example, make a bedtime ritual of reading books together. Always let your little girl know how much you love her. 

Avoid the following things that can affect your bonding time with your baby

  • Texting, answering calls, scrolling through social media, or watching television when you are with your baby. 
  • Not praising your baby enough. Make sure to appreciate your baby and be generous with your compliments, love, and hugs.
  • Not spending enough time with your kid. Always make it a point to enjoy quality time with your baby to improve your bonding with her.
  • Sticking to the same parenting style. Update your parenting style as your baby grows because things that seem to work now may not work in a year or two.
  • Being disrespectful and using foul language. Before you lose your cool, remember that your baby is watching you. While raising a baby, always show in your behaviour the traits that you wish to see in her. 

Unlike mothers, who have a natural instinct when it comes to babies, fathers may have to put in an extra effort to bond with their little ones. So, don’t shy away—be there, hold, hug, and cuddle your little princess while you can, because she won’t be little for long.

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