Dad's guide to Newborn Care

An involved dad is important to a baby’s first months and years of life.

Even when the dad lives outside the home, babies with actively involved fathers grow into healthier, happier, more successful children and adults. Babies need to form a strong bond with their parents, and that means dad, too.

Bringing home a new baby is a big change for everyone. There are many ways dads can help support mom and baby once they arrive home from the hospital.

Mom’s body goes through a lot of changes during the pregnancy. It may take a little while for her to feel like herself. Be gracious, patient, and supportive.

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Limit visitors

Keep people who are sick away from your baby.

Daily chores

Help with cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

Check up on mom

If she is feeling depressed or anxious, encourage her to seek help and support her.
Depression affects up to 25% of dads during their partner’s pregnancy or in the first year after baby is born.

If you or your baby’s mom have anxiety, are feeling depressed, or have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, get help right away. Talk with your healthcare provider. Untreated depression is hard on your baby, your family, and you.

Call 1-800-273-8255 or call/text 988 for free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Spend quality time with your older kids by having them help with getting a diaper, smiling at, or reading to baby.

Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide nourishment to your new baby. It might not be easy at first so give mom plenty of encouragement and support.

Why Breastfeed?


Breastfed babies get sick less often.


It’s free!


It’s convenient (no bottles, no mess, and always on hand).

Two Heart

Breastfeeding moms are healthier.

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Four out of five babies born in Indiana are breastfed.

Spit Up – Burping – Dirty Diapers

Having human milk or formula in your baby’s tummy is new to them. Babies spit up less and require less burping as they get older.
Spit Up

Speak to your WIC Nutritionist or healthcare provider if you are concerned with the amount your baby is spitting up at each feeding.

Dirty Diapers

Be a hero, change diapers!

For breastfed babies:
For formula and breastfed babies over a month:
Baby’s Age Wet Poops
Day 1 (Birthday)
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

Baby’s Time with Dad

Tummy time!

Laying on their tummy helps strengthen your baby’s neck and shoulder muscles. Think of it as their daily workout as they prepare for big moves like rolling over, sitting, and crawling.

Play peekaboo.

Talk to your baby and make funny faces while changing their diaper.

Go for walks.

Keeping active—getting out of the house is good for everyone!

Spend time reading and talking to your baby.

Their brain is learning new words every day, even from the day they are born.

Dad's guide to Newborn Care

Keeping Your Baby Safe



Sleeping Safe

Always put your baby to sleep on their back on a firm mattress with no blankets or pillows. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents on a separate sleep surface until at least 6 months old.
Your child is depending on you to be healthy and stay healthy.
Dad's guide to Newborn Care

Fatherhood Resources

National Fatherhood Initiative
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

The ‘I’m a WIC Client’ button now directs to Nutrition and Breastfeeding, the content offered on the site has not changed.

Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: