Some dads wonder how they can support their partners with baby care in the first few months, particularly if the mother’s breast is the primary food source. Others worry that they can’t do things as well as their partner can (like soothe the baby or change nappies).

However, there is no evidence that mothers are better at baby care than fathers and there are lots of ways that dads can get involved, right from the start.

Here’s some tips you might find helpful.

Talk to your partner about dividing the baby care tasks

Your baby is completely dependent on an adult at birth – for food, comfort, warmth, love, keeping clean, and so on. Chat to your partner about what tasks you’d like to do or feel comfortable doing. For example, some dads choose to be in charge of baths, and so bathe their baby every night at 6pm. Other ideas include: daily walks in the pram, reading stories or singing songs every night, changing every second nappy, and putting the baby down to sleep every night.

Give yourself lots of time and practice

Just like learning to drive a car, it can take a while to get the knack of carrying out baby care tasks like a pro. However, no one is born a parent so take your time learning the ropes.

Assure others that you can do it

If you’re the one returning to work, you might get less practice during the day at the baby care tasks. But reassure your partner and others that you don’t need them to take over when it’s your turn. Also, it’s okay to do things differently to your partner.

Ask for help if you need it

It’s also normal to need to ask for help because nobody is born a dad! So if you’re not sure how to do something (like sterilising the bottles) or something doesn’t seem to be working (like soothing your baby), feel comfortable asking a mate or your partner what works well for them.

Prepare to be “hands on”

Generally the first six months of a baby’s life are the hardest for parents because during this time babies wake often for feeds, require frequent nappy changes, cry more and need to be held much of the time. As babies get older, they generally sleep for longer stretches of time and are more self-sufficient so don’t need to be held as much.

For more tips like these, why not check out Baby Steps, a free online program that aims to enhance the wellbeing of new mums and dads.