Preparing for Fatherhood: 9 Helpful Tips

Aug 8, 2020
Preparing for Fatherhood: 9 Helpful Tips

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Becoming a new parent for the first time is a monumental milestone that redefines your life forever. It doesn't matter if parenthood is something you are expecting and embracing whole-heartedly, or if it’s something you aren't even sure you wanted, the reality is that with the baby's arrival, change is upon you and it can be both scary and exciting. It is important to know that although you are not the pregnant partner, you still play a vital role in the pregnancy and birth experience of your newborn baby.

YYou, like any other first-time dad, are probably feeling a melting pot of mixed emotions. This is natural and to be expected. You will probably continue to feel them for years after your kid is born, quite frankly. Parenting is a roller coaster ride for expectant dads and moms alike and no one is immune to the ups and downs that come with it.

There's also no way to fully prepare yourself (or prepare for the right amount of diapers you'll need). You just do the best you can to get ready, and then before you know it, you're knee deep in the thick of it, and going back and forth between “I've got this!” and “What was I thinking?!” For those of you that still want to know what to expect when becoming a new father, here are some of our best tips.

So, How Do You Prepare for Fatherhood?

1. Realize That Flexibility is Key for Both Expectant Parents

You and your partner may be idealistic and have this vision that you will both share the parenting load 50/50 upon the baby's arrival, but the reality is that probably won't happen. The division of duties will become skewed often, in both directions. When the baby first arrives, mom might be doing most of the work, especially for a breastfeeding baby. As the baby grows, you might find more of the duties falling to you. One of you (or both of you) may work full time jobs, which makes equitable distribution of duties even more challenging. Realize that rhythms ebb and flow, and who handles what responsibilities can change. Sometimes it may be equal, sometimes it may not.

2. Know What Kind of Dad You Want to Be

Unfortunately, not everyone has a great experience with their parents. Maybe you never had a real dad, or maybe your own father wasn't the kind of dad you really needed. You can change that cycle with your own child's life. Decide ahead of time the kind of dad you want to be and what that might look like. Sit down with your wife or partner and discuss your parenting styles or take a parenting class together. The parenting style you choose is crucial to child development. When preparing for fatherhood, it is important you and your co-parent are a united front with every parenting decision. This It doesn't guarantee you won't still make parenting mistakes, but it does guarantee you will always be trying to be better, so that your relationship with your child is different.

3. Get Your House in Order

This applies both literally and figuratively. If your money situation is unstable, start saving for the future of you and your newborn baby. Work extra hours if need be, or a second job, and try to get ahead on your financial stability. If you're already financially stable, that's wonderful. You can also start baby proofing, getting the things your new baby will need before coming home, and setting all baby furniture up in the baby's room in advance of your partner's due date. You definitely don't want to be putting a crib together in your first night home as a family!

4. DIY Home Projects

Speaking of getting your house in order, if you have any DIY home projects you've been meaning to get to, now is the best time! You won't have as much free time once the baby is born, so take advantage while you can. Maybe it's renovating the bathroom, repainting the garage, or even just making minor repairs around the home that have stacked up—the point is don't wait, get them done. Then you won't have to worry about them later.

5. Remember Your Sex Life Isn't Gone Forever

We get it, this can be a tough part of becoming new parents. You wonder if you'll ever get to have sex with your honey again. Yes, you will, but it may take some time. Whether the birth is vaginal or cesarean, both require time for the body to heal. And with a new baby in the mix, once she's healed it could still take more time for her to feel sexy and in the mood again. Don't give up and don't stop loving on her. Give her love and attention even without the sex, and soon enough, the sex will return.

7. Find Some Dad Friends

If you don't have any friends that are dads already, actively seek new ones out. There are fellowship groups, groups online, through churches, and else where to begin your search. Making friends with other dads is helpful because you find you aren't experiencing all these new changes in a vacuum. Other dads have and are going through it too. You can trade stories, vent, and otherwise support each other in this new life journey—in a dude kind of way, of course.

8. Keep Communication Open

Everyone knows that communication is key for every successful relationship. It's even more key when you welcome a new baby into the home and start to grow your family. You are both experiencing parenthood for the first time together, and it's important that you both are allowed to make mistakes, ask dumb questions, and share frustrations in a healthy way. Your pregnant partner may also be facing a double dose of sensitivity to things you say or don't say, simply because her body is still recovering from birthing a child and is still flooded with all the female pregnancy hormones that helped her do it. Don't forget to laugh too. Parenthood, although challenging, can be really fun. Find humor in those first time dad or mom moments and laugh it off, no one expects you to be the perfect father.

9. Spend Some Pre-Baby Quality Time Together

Remember we said a baby is life changing? We're not kidding! Use the time before the baby arrives wisely as you prepare to become a parent. And carve out time with your partner that's just for the two of you. Soon it will be three and everything changes. Go on a babymoon somewhere, make those travel plans you've been waffling on, and enjoy those date nights. Your entire life will revolve around the little human you bring into the world once she arrives. Until then, make sure your worlds are revolving around each other and strengthen your bond more than ever.

These are but a few tips to help first time dads prepare to be fathers, but really it's just scratching the surface. There is still so much more you need before you welcome your newborn into the world. We have covered all the “good dad” basics, but here are a few bonus tips to get you to great new dad status.

Preparing for Fatherhood Bonus Tips

1. Pack a New Dad Survival Kit

Oh, so many things you could give a first time dad as a survival kit! Beer anyone? We kid, we kid. Here are a few ideas to get you started and discover the best baby shower gifts for dad!

Hand Sanitizer

Though it seems to be in short supply these days, Hand Sanitizer is handy for new dads trying to become pro diaper changers who respond instantly to wet nappies! You might not always be near a sink so sanitizer is “handy” to keep the germs down while performing daddy duties.

Coffee (Or Energy Drink of Choice!)

Babies are wide eyed and bushy tailed at the most inopportune times. Usually just when your eyes have closed and you've begun to drift back to sleep. You will need the energy boost! If you're not a coffee fan, keep your other favorite energy drink on hand.

Some Baby Items for Making Memories

Ideas might be:

  • Baby wash for your baby's first bath
  • A cute “Dad” baby outfit for photo making
  • A baby book to read to your little

Ear Plugs

Babies are loud dad! If you and your partner are taking shifts, it's a great idea to wear ear plugs when it's your turn to sleep. Otherwise no one may sleep. Get an extra pair for your partner too, that way you both can enjoy uninterrupted snoozing when your turn is up.

A Bottle of Air Freshener

This is for the sake of you and any who might enter the room when your baby starts dropping bombs. Babies are stinky when they have a full diaper. Besides, you might even need it for yourself and the sake of your partner's delicate nose. Who are we to judge?

Headache Relief

This doesn't have to just be headache meds, although you can certainly include that too. New babies can be stressful. Combine all the excitement with an inevitable lack of sleep and you have a recipe for a migraine. Relief could also be some type of aromatherapy or meditation practice, or even just some relaxing tunes to help you decompress and bring pain relief.

2. Pack A Daddy Go Bag for the Hospital

This is more than just a diaper bag. Just like mom's pack a bag for themselves and the new baby, you should have an on-the-go bag full of baby gear for dads, too. You can pack overnight essentials like:

  • Electronics and chargers
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Something to read
  • Pillow and blanket
  • Change of clothes

And whatever you do, DON'T FORGET THE CAMERA.

Preparing for fatherhood is all about what you make it. Choose to be intentional about becoming a father and focus on mentally and emotionally preparing yourself to be a parent. Enjoy your solo time with your other half, and get ready for the ride of your lives.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.

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