Advice For First-Time Dads From A First-Time Dad - Dad's Edition

Welcome back to another week of Dad's Edition

This week, Max will be writing about some advice that he would give to new dads. 

You're having a baby! 
That might strike you with fear, or be amazing news, but either way it is happening and its best to be prepared. You might be wondering what's to come and what you can expect to change, or what will stay the same. Things will change, but that shouldn't be a bad thing, so I'm going to write about my experience and what I think you can expect in the near future.

You’ll feel a little helpless at the start, especially if your partner is breastfeeding. During this first couple of weeks, and normally when you'd take your paternity leave if you have it, you'll be mostly fumbling around changing your baby, making sure they are still breathing when they're quiet and wondering what will make them sleep when they are crying. 

Catch up on Z's

You'll feel exhausted, truly broken, and it's important that you take turns catching up on these lost winks as your body adjusts to your new lifestyle. You might want to just sit and watch your baby or do something productive and that's okay to do, if it doesn't hinder your ability to function through lack of sleep. This period can last weeks and sometimes much longer, we were lucky that Edith slept through from six weeks (thank you magic pillow *SleepyHead*!) but it's important you ease yourself into this new routine.

Jump straight in

Be hands on and learn and don't worry about the things that you think you won't manage. I thought I wouldn't be able to deal with the constant messy hands (especially when we tried Baby Led Weaning) but it really didn't effect me at all. There is something that changes and you are now suddenly responsible for a dependant and you're kinda forced to do and accept that your worries don't matter in the long run. 

The first few nappies and outfit changes, I had no idea what I was doing. I was overly gentle and this ended up with me taking far too long getting things done and both me and baby getting flustered but you’ll get it in no time. I still struggle from time to time with a new popper/button configuration but you'll quickly learn what works for you!

Enjoy them whilst they are young

Don't worry that your baby is a boring potato for the first few weeks, I think there's this common perception that your baby will be babbling and cooing from birth but they mostly sleep, and when they are awake, it's more like they’re trying to work out why the world is so bright and why they got woken up from the best nap in the world. The fun stuff comes later but take advantage that they are only this small for a little while, remember when the newborn clothes didn't fit them and that they'd go to sleep in your arms because they very quickly grow up and you have a host of other things to do with them! Edith is amazing to watch as a toddler and it's hands down my favourite thing watching her explore the world and be so happy day to day, but I do think back to where I could just cuddle her and watch her look back at me and how much she's grown up in such a short amount of time.

Take time for yourself

Don't forget to have time for yourself. It's okay to want a small remainder of your old life, and that goes for both of you. Offer to watch the baby for an hour whilst your partner goes to the shops or has a long bath. Go and see your friends for a while. They want to see you even after you've had a child and it's okay to want to do things without having your baby but also remember that this is your life now and I believe your family has to come first and it's your responsibility to be a hands on parent and you should relish in the chance to be involved. A small break, however, will give your brain a chance to relax and unwind and you'll quickly want to be home to the baby and partner you (hopefully) miss.

Life isn't perfect

Life's not Instagram. It's not always easy or perfect and you shouldn't compare it to others. You might see how everyone else's baby is doing this, that and the other

'Why is their baby sleeping and why is mine the spawn of the devil today?' Having a baby is hard but so rewarding for the little things that happen. There will be times where you're both so exhausted that you just hate each other, but remember you're both feeling it and that's not how it is all the time. Try not to hold onto the fact that she slept through two feeds and didn't change a bum just as she will overlook how you left the dishwasher full for 3 days and forgot to get the milk. Having a child is happy/frightful/bumbling experience that you somehow get through each day until they are suddenly dependant. 

All of the bad things will get washed away and forgotten as soon as they sleep through/first laugh/talk/crawl or walk and hopefully your relationship is strong enough to take that strain and be stronger for it. There is some solace that at the end of the day you can say to one another “that was hard, do you want to watch a movie” and just spend some time together appreciating that you’re in this together with, hopefully your best friend and that you're finally getting to raise this child, after at least, 9 months of planning.

Do you have any top advice that you offer to all new dads?


No comments