Disclaimer: I try not to get too personal here but it’s hard to describe having a baby without all the details. So if you don’t like personal blogs or don’t feel the need to know too much information and want to lead a simpler life, you can click here!
For all you other people:
10 Tips for New Dads
Congratulations! Your wife had a baby and you both went through a crazy experience but I have news for you, the craziness is yet to come. You’re in awe of your wife and this new terrifying nugget that came out of her. However, you DON’T have to be completely dumbfounded. You’re not always going to know what you’re doing and I’m no expert so you don’t have to listen to me. I think I do have some pretty sound tips that I think will help a new dad though so hopefully you can get something from it.
10. You WILL lose sleep
The stories are true. Babies are on a reverse schedule and have no concept of time. You’ll start to embrace caffeine like an old friend, you might get cranky towards your partner and your baby, you’ll start to wonder what you got yourself into. These are all common reactions but it’s hard to be mad at the little face once he’s not screaming bloody murder. Think about how frustrating it is trying to tell someone you’re hungry when they can’t understand you. This will pass. Just don’t lose your mind over it!
9. The first night is the most terrifying!
As a new parent, you’ll be afraid to sleep like you’re in an Elm Street movie. It’s not only your baby that’s keeping you up, it’s your own neurosis that your baby might stop breathing the second you close your eyes. Sure he’s sleeping fine and they say to rest when the baby rests but as soon as you let yourself go, there could be a fire or a baby snatcher! I’m telling you, please get some sleep and try to let your worries subside. Once you sleep and realize nothing happened to your baby, you can rest a little easier as the days progress. Also, try to record your baby crying so when they’re older and it’s time for school, and they can’t get their lazy butt out of bed, play the recording and shout, “KARMA!” Just kidding, don’t really do that.
8. Communicate with your partner!
Once your parent friends find out you joined the bandwagon, you’ll have an onslaught of advice and tips. I’m not telling you to ignore these tips, just get on the same page with your partner about your schedule, how to discipline, see if you want to clean the toilet or take a cat nap while the baby’s dozing off. In the end, your friends are not going to be at home with you trying to console a screaming baby. If your wife is like, “I think we should do this” and you’re like, “That’s not what Judy told me on Facebook,” chances are your wife is not going to give a shit what Judy thinks. And then she’ll get mad at you for taking Judy’s side over hers. Trust me, there’s no specific way to raise a child so just take your friends’ advice and put it on the back burner but ultimately, converse with your partner and do your own thing making sure you’re both on board with each other’s decisions. And remember, just because you do it different than Judy does not mean it’s wrong. Sorry, Judy.
7. Add some chores to your list.
Regardless if it was vaginal delivery or a c-section, your wife went through something tremendous that is going to take a great deal of time to recover. She knows you’re sleep deprived too but step up to the plate and change the majority of the diapers, pick up the crying baby so she can get a few more Z’s, drive to the store if she sends you for some Motrin. It may seem a little demanding but it’ll be pretty easy for you if you A. love your wife B. want to keep everyone’s sanity, C. you were already supportive during her pregnancy, D. you do stuff like vacuuming/dishes/laundry anyways, E. you want to be a good father. Trust me, it will be a great turn on for your wife to see you helping out and taking care of the child you both created. She’ll appreciate you and start to see you in a different light, most likely sanctifying your marriage.
6. The sex comes to a halt, but not forever.
Sure, sex is important in a relationship and the end result is something magical but it somehow diminishes once there’s a tiny human in your midst. But people have needs and there’s a whole new sense of love between you and your spouse once you have a child. Chances are you’ll both be completely out of it and from what I remember you have to be conscious during the act. Your attention is now focused on the baby and your trips to the bedroom are going to be solely for its other purpose; sleep. And because of the intense situation that went on down there, it’s recommended to not have sex until 6 weeks later anyways. Plus, you might be a little wary about getting back in the sack when your loveable and sometimes frustrating nugget prompts another hiatus. Never fear though, it’s called birth control and self-restraint. It slows down but you probably won’t miss it as much when you’re taking care of a little one.
5. Don’t be afraid to be silly!
You’re gonna be sleep deprived and think random things are funny or hand your wife a candle instead of a bottle of milk (true story). More importantly, when you’re playing with your baby it’s okay to be silly, do weird voices, dance, sing, and make faces. You don’t have to use baby talk but I’m telling you it’s okay to show your kid some love. You will enjoy hearing your baby laugh for the first time and this is how you can bond with your baby. It doesn’t have to be serious all the time. When there’s a little levity, it’ll make everybody in your household a little less overwhelmed.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask.
If you’re unsure of something, it’s okay to ask questions. It might be something your wife has a question about too and you can learn the answer together. If you have any concerns, it’s best to lay them on the table so that you can receive help. Nothing’s too embarrassing unless you ask where babies come from or something. Then you probably shouldn’t be a parent.
3. Focus on the present (at least right now).
You have plenty of time to baby proof your home, hope your kid becomes a great athlete regardless of your inability to throw a football, or pray for that scholarship because you’re already predicting a lack of funds. Once you have a baby, his main concerns are sleeping, going to the bathroom, and eating. So once they cry, one of these things is probably the culprit. Focus your attention on your baby right now and definitely rest when he’s resting. If you feel you have the energy, you can do some stuff around the house but you don’t have to worry too much about the mess right now. When he starts developing a personality and he’s able to hold a conversation with you, you can start to think about what kind of person he’s going to be. But for now, just enjoy your baby and the only worry you should really have at this point is keeping him alive.
2. Don’t be bombarded.
A lot of people are going to want to come over to gush over your baby and make chit chat about your baby’s poop color, size, frequency, consistency, etc. My advice is to get settled first with your partner and your baby. This is your bonding time and your time to figure each other out. Make sure you and your wife are both up for visitors because a few is okay but make sure in the first few days/weeks, it can be someone who can take care of the baby while you nap or one who can make you dinner. If someone is desperate to come over but balks at feeding the baby, changing his diaper, or giving you a neck massage, then they can probably wait to visit a little longer. People will definitely understand if you tell them you’re not up for visitors.
1. Don’t be manipulated.
It’s easy to get lost in those chubby cheeks and give in to a one month old but remember who’s in control here. Your baby will definitely look peaceful when sleeping and waking him up to eat will sometimes cause a tinny shriek but it’ll help in the long run when you set the wheels in motion. Think of a baby as a block of clay. It’s your job to mold him into something great. And it’s not a good idea to leave him out in the sun.
Good luck, Dads!