23 Tips on Becoming a Father for the First Time
Having a baby is both an exciting and potentially terrifying experience for any first-time dad. If you’re about to become a father for the first time, we’ve compiled a list of the top 23 things you need to know to calm your new dad fears. Once you’re armed with the right information, you may still be apprehensive, but knowing what to expect when the baby comes will help you to properly care for your new baby and support your wife or partner during the process.
1. It’s okay if you don’t know what to do
You don’t have to be perfect to take care of your baby. Everyone with kids was a new dad once. Be willing to learn how to care for your baby, and you’ll be just fine.
2. Make a plan for your finances
You are not the first dad to wonder if he will be able to provide for his family. Take some time to really sit down and figure out how the baby will affect your budget. If finances are tight, you may be able to cut back in certain areas and create a budget to make room for the costs of a new baby.
3. Life won’t be taken over by your baby
Yes, you will spend time with your new baby, but it’s all about priorities. If you want to spend time with friends, bring the baby along. Friends aren’t going to abandon you just because you have a baby.
4. You’ll need to plan for alone time
Becoming a father may cause you to worry that you’ll lose some of your “alone time.” The easy solution is to tag-team with your wife or partner. If you need some time to yourself or want to enjoy time with friends, simply trade off watching the baby. If you both have a little time to rejuvenate, moments with your baby will be that much sweeter.
5. You will get uninterrupted sleep eventually, just not right away
Sleep is a major concern for many first-time dads. New babies don’t have an established sleeping schedule, and this means that you won’t be getting as much sleep in the beginning. However, you and your spouse can trade off the responsibility of night-shift baby care. This trick can help you both feel totally refreshed!
6. Bonding with your baby is just as important for dads as for mothers
Babies have a close bond with their mothers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t also bond with their dads. Don’t be afraid to put in the work to bond with your new baby. If she cries, don’t just hand her off to mom. The more you comfort her, the more she will get used to you.
7. Your spouse will not forget about you
Your wife will love your new baby, and once you see him, you will too. You and the baby are two different people in your wife’s life and she loves each of you.
8. Complications for the baby are possible but unlikely
Many new dads worry that something will be wrong with their baby. This is really just a fear of the unknown. Knowing the probability of birth defects and complications may help you realistically face what could happen and also quell your new dad fears.
9. Baby things will be everywhere
Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean your home needs to be suddenly taken over by baby toys. Make a plan with your spouse or partner and set aside some spaces specifically for baby gear.
10. You will make new friends
You won’t lose all your single friends, but you will almost certainly make new friends in the same stage of life as you. Embrace the dad zone!
11. Focusing on a baby and a career is possible
This is tough on a lot of dads. You want to have a good career and take care of your family, but in doing so, feel like you will miss out on actually spending time with them. If your employer is flexible, you might consider working earlier or later in the day to spend more time with your child.
12. Think about taking paternity leave
This is a time in your child’s life that you will never get back. Make sure you establish your paternity leave with your employer early on, so you both know what to expect once your new bundle arrives.
13. You will have a heightened awareness of your own mortality
Becoming a father can make you reconsider doing risky things. When you’re young you don’t often consider the danger of your actions. As a dad, you begin to realize you can’t die because your child needs you. It’s not uncommon for new dads to give up activities they consider risky.
14. If you grew up without a father figure, you’ll get to be the father you never had
Some first-time dads face their own personal challenges, like coming from a home without a father, or father figure. Don’t be afraid to be your own person; here are some great tips on becoming a father if you don’t have a father figure of your own.
15. You won’t drop the baby
Don’t stress, learn how to hold the baby properly, and remember, you’ll be fine!
16. You’ll be worried about safety
You may worry about your child eating something bad for them or taking a tumble and getting hurt. If you’re looking for safety tips, Owlet has some great advice for new parents that can help to keep your little one stay safe.
17. It helps to get the baby used to a bottle
Trust us, this will help a ton when you and your wife or partner need to trade off feeding the baby in the middle of the night. Your wife will feel more rested, and that will make the whole family happier.
18. Feeding your baby can be a challenge
Some babies eat like champs while others struggle with food. If your baby is unhappy with his or her food, there could be an underlying issue like acid reflux or an upset tummy. Finding out what is making your baby grumpy will save you and baby from being unhappy.
19. Learning how to co-parent will be important
Babies like consistency and you and your spouse or partner will want to work together to establish routines and other parenting decisions on a constant basis. Most likely, the two of you were raised differently and will need to reach a consensus on how to raise your child together.
20. Don’t worry, you can help your spouse through labor
Surprisingly, 80% of men are worried about being present while their wife is in labor due to the abundance of bodily fluids. The best thing we can tell you is “don’t worry.” It’s okay to look away or step out if you need. If you’re mostly worried about how to be supportive during labor, there are some great resources available on the best ways to help your wife or partner through labor.
21. You’ll need to provide support for postpartum depression
For nearly 1 out of 7 women, postpartum depression is a very real issue after giving birth. As a supportive husband, you will want to help fix things but that’s probably not the answer. First and foremost, make sure mom gets the medical help she needs. Psychology Today has some excellent tips on how to best support your wife or partner if she’s struggling with postpartum depression.
22. You’ll likely worry about the health of your wife and child
Childbirth has a well-known history for being the leading cause of death for women. Thankfully, those days are in the past and modern medicine has come a long way. Most women and children are perfectly healthy and it can be comforting to know that there are excellent medical professionals to assist if any complications arise.
23. The unexpected will happen
Despite all the preparations you’re making as a first-time dad, you will still encounter things that nothing can prepare you for. Just knowing that the unexpected can, and will, happen may just help you to face those challenges when they come.
Meeting your new baby for the first time is exciting! Owlet is here to empower parents with the information and tools needed to keep new babies safe and happy. Whether you’re a first-time dad or looking to add another new baby to your family, we have the resources to help calm your new dad fears.
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