Dad's guide to Newborn Care

Dear Dad,

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.

Moms 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.

Keep people who are sick away from your baby.
Help with cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
If she is feeling depressed or anxious, encourage and support her to seek help.
Depression affects up to 25% of dads during their partners 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 for free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also dial 988.

Delaware Hope Line 833-9-HOPEDE

Crisis Intervention Service:
800-652-2929 Northern DE
800-345-6785 Southern DE

Call 1-800-273-8255 Suicide Help Line. You can also dial 988.

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 Breastfeeding?

Breastfed babies get sick less often.

It’s free!

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

Breastfeeding moms are healthier.

3 out of 4 babies born in Delaware are breastfed

Spit Up – Burping – Dirty Diapers

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


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


Be a hero, change diapers!

For breastfed babies:
For formula and breastfed babies over a month:
Baby’s Age Wet Poops
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
*Day 4+

*This amount lasts up to the first month or longer.

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.

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 their first birthday.

Your child is depending on you to be healthy and stay healthy.

Fatherhood Resources

National Fatherhood Initiative
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
Delaware Fatherhood Program

Check for fatherhood initiative programs at your local Head Start program or school system.

Feeding a 6-7 Month Old

Feed solids with a spoon and from a bowl, never from a bottle.

Feeding a 10-12 Month Old

Breast milk is the most important source of nutrition for your baby, even after you start offering solid foods.

Feeding a 8-9 Month Old

Feed solids with a spoon. Never put cereal in a bottle.


Breast milk and formula feeding:

Around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months of age, babies may experience a growth spurt when they feed more often.

As they grow babies can hold more milk, so feedings may become further apart and take less time.

To prevent choking, always hold your baby when feeding. Never prop up a bottle to feed.

Start offering whole milk when your baby is one year old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months and beyond.


Feeding solid foods:

Wait to offer solid foods until your baby:

To prevent choking, always hold your baby when feeding. Never prop up a bottle to feed.

Try one new food at a time. Wait 5 days before trying another new food to watch for allergies. Food allergies may include wheezing, rash, or diarrhea.

Introduce peanut butter around 6 months. Spread a small, thin smear of peanut butter or nut butter thinly on a cracker.  Watch your baby for any reaction for the next 2 hours.

Babies under one year should NOT have honey or foods that can cause choking like nuts or whole grapes.

All babies are different. Talk with WIC or your baby’s healthcare provider about your baby’s needs.

Feeding Cues

Feeding a 4-5 Month Old

Before teeth come in, wipe gums with a soft, clean wash cloth after each feeding, especially before bed.

Feeding a 0-3 Month Old

Newborns have tiny tummies and need to be fed often. In the first few weeks, you may need to wake your baby to feed if they sleep longer than 4 hours.

Growth Spurts

Many babies are fussy during a growth spurt and will want to nurse longer and more often. This is called cluster feeding. This is your baby’s way of helping you increase your milk supply so that you can keep up with their needs. Remember, the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body makes.

Growth spurts can happen at any time, and every baby is different.

They often happen at these ages:

2 to 3 Weeks

6 Weeks

3 Months

6 Months

What foods can I get?