5 Tips For New Dads
Your first child is on the way and you’re looking for tips for new dads. Maybe even freaking out a bit?
It’s normal to have a lot of emotions as a new dad. If you feel shocked, panicked, overwhelmed, scared, or like you’re just not ready, you’re not alone.
Like any big change, becoming a first-time dad will require a major adjustment. There are many available resources to help prepare you to become a dad and these preparations can make the transition into fatherhood smoother.
Here is a list of 5 Tips for new dads to help you prepare for the role of becoming a father.
1. Become Educated on Being a New Dad
No one is born knowing this stuff, not even your pregnant partner — that’s why there are childbirth classes. Depending on what’s available in your area, you can take classes during the pregnancy to focus on labor and preparing for the experience of childbirth. Some communities offer classes designed just for first-time dads.
Along with the classes, you’ll meet others who are going through the same experience who might be dealing with similar feelings. Additionally, the educators and nurses who lead the classes are able to provide valuable help that you need.
There are classes that teach how to change a diaper, hold the baby, feed and burp the baby, get the baby to sleep, install a car seat, and childproof your home. You’ll also learn how to get through labor and how to care for your baby and your partner when you get home from the hospital.
2. Tricks For New Dads on How To Help With Their Child
Give yourself time and patience to grow into the role of being a father and simply be present in your child’s life.
Having a child takes an adjustment period and while you should be as prepared as possible, it’s important to stay focused on being a supportive father and partner throughout the process. You may not feel comfortable with changing diapers, feeding, or baths but the only way to get more comfortable is to help out and do it!
As obvious as it may seem, holding your baby and making skin contact is crucial. These skin-to-skin sessions help you bond with your baby. The time fathers have to bond starts as soon as the child is born, whereas the mother has roughly 40 weeks of a headstart. The only way to build that bond is to be as present as possible for your child — both physically and mentally.
Dads can absolutely help their partners with feeding, whether bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. This is a bit easier when bottles come into play, but even for breastfeeding mothers, dads can help provide comfort while assisting with troubleshooting, research, and lactation snacks.
Have you ever heard of swaddling? Although your baby may resemble a burrito, swaddling is super comforting for a newborn. The pressure on their bodies is reminiscent of the womb and it keeps them from jerking themselves awake or scratching themselves with hands and fingers that have a mind of their own.
There are plenty of tricks to help soothe your child such as maintaining eye contact and using repetitive calming sounds. However, the most important thing you can do is simply spend time with your newborn. This has an immeasurable impact on your child and your relationship with your child. A reach, a look, a unique baby cry, anything your little one does to make a connection with you should be honored.
3. New Dads Should Expect To Change Diapers — A lot of Them!
Your partner has gone through extreme physical and emotional changes. She may still be recovering from childbirth, face challenges with breastfeeding, and be exhausted. If the baby doesn’t need to be fed, help your partner by changing the diapers in the middle of the night to allow her to rest.
Researchers early on found out that the fathers who helped to diaper their baby had stronger, better, and more long-lasting relationships. So if you want to score points with mom and with your baby — learn the art of diapering and treat it as a shared duty with mom. If you don’t want the feces to hit the oscillator in your relationship, learn to deal with it at the source.
4. New Parents Will Need To Be Efficient Teammates
Becoming a new family comes with many transitions. It’s important to recognize that the three of you function as a mobile hanging from the ceiling and are in balance with one another. As the infant’s needs change, the balance of mom and dad will need to change along with it.
Each parent has an essential role in raising the child and being flexible and able to openly communicate will make the process smoother.
Stay positive and work with your partner as a team. That’s a great way to nurture your relationship. Take every chance you get to reconnect. When grandma can watch your baby for an hour, take your partner out for a walk or a drive.
You both have experienced life changes and it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship during parenthood.
5. New Dads Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Recruit Help
Feeling overwhelmed? The first few months of parenthood can be difficult and disorienting. Try to find ways to shift responsibilities to alleviate some of the stress. If you need help, make sure you reach out to those around you.
- If you’re able to, consider hiring a temporary housekeeper to help with the chores.
- Grab take-out on your way home so you don’t have to cook.
- Ask friends or family to babysit for an hour or two so you and your partner are able to have some downtime to take care of yourselves.
There are many resources available and new parents can benefit from receiving help during the transition into parenthood. Don’t become burnt out by trying to juggle too many responsibilities at once.
Fatherhood Changes You
Few events change a man’s life as much as becoming a father. Being entrusted with the responsibility and care of another person is a monumental task but none is more rewarding than becoming a father and seeing your child grow. Hopefully, these parenting tips can provide some guidance to new dads trying to learn how to become engaged, supportive, and loving fathers. If you’re a teenage dad, make sure you check out our article about teenage fatherhood!