Are you somewhat uncertain of what to expect about being a new father? Not too sure about changing diapers or bathing a baby? Dads, we're about to enter uncharted territory. For the first time in our lives, we'll be fathers - and let's face it, there's a lot of information out there on what to expect. But with so much advice flying around online, it can be challenging to know who to believe - or where to start getting your information! Rest assured, though: you're not alone. This little guide is here to help you through those first few Parenting 101 classes and beyond. So read on, take some notes (or better yet, bookmark this page), and get ready for one heck of a ride.
First things first, let’s look at some of the changes you can expect to happen – and when they’ll most likely occur. Pregnancy is a big deal, so it makes sense that your partner will need a bit, scratch that. A lot of time to adjust – physically and emotionally. This means that you have to be her emotional rock, take all the venting and emotional outbursts in stride, and be patient with her. Heck, go the extra mile and offer her a massage, a warm bath, be her errand boy or tend to whatever it takes to make her feel better. Remember, her body is changing at a surprising rate, and this is the time when she needs your support the most.
Instead, get the unfortunate news out of the way. Your intimate life will take a nosedive. There is a very good chance your partner will not want to be close with you during this time, and that is normal; it comes with the territory. You may feel like you’re being neglected or that your needs are unnecessary, but this is only temporary.
What to expect after your child is born?
It is essential to understand that your partner has undergone a tremendous amount of change during this time. Her body is not her own anymore. A baby is growing inside of her – and it’s a big deal! The hormones in their system can wreak havoc on their emotions and make them feel like they’re losing control over things. I am not saying this may end up when the incredible hulk first made his cinematic debut. Still, your partner is likely to be a bit more emotional and short-fused than average.
Now that we know what to expect regarding our partners, let’s move on to changes we can expect. Again, it’s important to remember that every dad is different. This timeline may not apply to you – but these are some general things you can anticipate happening in the first few months of fatherhood.
Most women are very self-conscious about their bodies during pregnancy. They may feel insecure as if they’re not attractive anymore. And this leads to some awkwardness in the bedroom. But don’t worry! With a bit of patience and understanding, you can help your partner’s body image return to normal after pregnancy so that things can go back to normal (almost).
Did you know:
Within the third trimester, your baby will be able to hear your voice. This is an excellent point to start to play calm music to your baby because they will begin to recognize it. If that isn’t surprising enough, playing classical music will help your little bundle of joy’s brain development.
By now, you are probably all prepped for the big day. There room or space is organized, and supplies are bought. But what about you? This is a big deal, and some can be very intimidating. It is recommended that you get as much rest as possible before the baby arrives. Especially if your partner is due on the weekend or during the week when most of us are supposed to work.
What makes this all so overwhelming for new dads is that there is no one-size-fits-all manual for parenting. Heck, even dads who have been through this before will give you different pieces of advice based on their own experiences – and that’s okay! That is coming from the experience of having two kids myself.
The most important thing that you can do as a father?
Show up. Be there physically, emotionally, and mentally for your partner and child(ren). This isn’t always easy, and there will be times when you feel like you’re falling short or about to lose your marbles – but that’s okay, your human. What counts is that you are trying your best and being open to learning and making the best out of every situation as you move along.
Let’s look at some things you should have checked off your list before the big day.
- You’ve got your diaper bag essentials.
- A plan for who will help you out once the baby arrives. Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles are a great support system.
- A plan on how you’ll get to the hospital when your partner goes into labor.
- You’ve got a car seat for the ride home from the hospital with the baby. We recommend installing it in your car before D day to avoid any panic or stressful moments.
- A place for the baby to sleep, whether in your room or a separate nursery.
- Enough clothes and diapers for at least 72 hours – you never know when a baby will arrive!
- A fully stocked fridge avoids any last-minute trips to the grocery store and a meal already prepared for when the baby comes.
- You’ve cleaned the house and are ready for your new family member to move in!
Now that you know what to anticipate, it’s time to get ready and remain calm and collected. After all, you’re a dynamic duo. What would Batman be without Alfred or Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, without Bucky Barnes? To have this parenting thing work out to its full potential and possibly raise the next Steve Jobs or Michelle Obama. You’ll need to collaborate and back each other up through thick and thin.
I’ll go through ways to keep your relationship with your partner strong throughout this period. This topic will be discussed in greater depth in my relationships article.
- Make time for each other, even if it’s just a quick walk around the block or watching your favorite show together. It’s the consistency that matters.
- Give each other a break. You’ll both need it and will appreciate the time to get some things done or even just to recharge.
So you’ve graduated through the pregnancy, congratulations! You a father now! This can be an exciting time, but it’s also important to remember that much hard work is ahead. Babies need constant attention and care – they don’t come with an instruction manual (yet).
So what do you do? You take a deep breath, put your trust in the parenting gods, and dive right in. As a new father, there are some things that you should be on the lookout for during those first few weeks and months.
For example, babies can develop preferences for one parent over another at around six months old. No matter how close you and your partner have become, it’s essential to make sure that you both spend time with your little one. This will help them develop a sense of trust and security and strengthen the bond between you and your child.
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics let’s look at what else you can expect in those early weeks and months besides changing the endless amounts of diapers. It still amazes me how much my daughter shat, and believe you me, she isn’t the only one. Babies go through a stage where they will seemingly produce explosive diarrhea at least once a day, so always have some wipes and diaper rash cream on hand.
And speaking of cream, your little one is going to get their share of rashes and other skin irritations – it comes with the territory, like a moth to a flame. Be prepared to apply lotion or cream multiple times a day to keep the bum rash free so they can do it all over again in other creative ways the following day.
One thing that wasn’t mentioned in any of the baby books I read was newborn projectile vomiting. This lovely phenomenon can occur at any time (including during those all-important first few weeks), so be sure to have plenty of towels and fresh clothes nearby as well as your spidey sense ready to go at all times.
The last thing I want to mention is how important it is for you as a father to spend time with your child, even if it’s only an hour or two every day. Personally, this was one of the hardest things about being a new dad because I worked full-time and had long commutes both ways. But when my daughter looked up at me with those big brown eyes while she giggled and farted in her crib, there was nothing else in the world that could have taken me away from that moment etched in time.
Sleepless nights and sleep training
I will do an entire article on this topic alone, but not to leave you hanging until then. I can not stress the importance of this one for several reasons. But the best recipe for success is to adopt a sleep schedule for you and your partner to avoid the both of you running on low battery mode. It’s also essential to establish a routine for your child. My wife and I would spend some time before bed, playing with our daughter, feeding her, changing her diaper, and then reading a story or singing songs together. It was our thing, that bedtime routine we look forward to doing each and every night.
- Babies cry at night. It’s just a fact of life.
- The sooner you start sleep training, the better off everyone will be in the long. Your sanity will thank you for it.
- There is no right way to sleep train your child, so find what works best for you and stick to it like crazy glue.
So there you have it – just a few of the things that you can expect as a new father. It’s important to remember that every child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. But by being prepared, learning to adjust as you go, and knowing what to look out for, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a parenting expert in no time flat. And who knows, maybe one day your little one will even write about it for a film. Possibl, win an academy award for the most emotionally driven film of the year!
I hope this list of things to expect has helped prepare you a little bit better for those first few weeks and months and made you a bit wiser with your new bundle of joy, so go forth and conquer!
Keep this in mind: babies are not as fragile as you might believe, and it’s up to you to look after them with love and care. Ensuring your kid have all of their basic needs met is one of the most essential parts of being a parent.
To Sum It Up
- You’ve got your diaper bag essentials.
- A plan for who will help you out once the baby arrives.
- A plan on how you’ll get to the hospital when your partner goes into labor.
- You’ve got a car seat for the ride home from the hospital
- A place for the baby to sleep
- Enough clothes and diapers for at least 72 hours
- A fully stocked fridge
- Expect to change a lot of diapers.
- There will be a lot of explosive diarrhea.
- Establish a routine for you and your child.
You and your baby are in the best time of your lives. Take it all in, for the time will pass quickly. Congratulations on your new Papa, and all the best to you and your family. You got this gig, don’t forget to enjoy every moment of it.
Be sure to check out our next article on newborn sleep training. It’s an important topic and one that will help you be able to get some much-needed rest as a new parent!
We’re going to change the world! I know it may sound lofty, but this effort toward empowerment, education, and inspiration is something that needs your help. It might even give you a little inspiration on what we can achieve when working together as one team towards these goals.
So please share our article with friends/family members who could benefit from reading it. The first step usually isn’t easy; however, thanks for being part of my journey, and keep in mind that the best is yet to come.
Please share what strategies and tips work for you in the comments below. This has been “Fatherhood: A Simple User Guide Towards What To Expect And How To Prepare.” I hope it was helpful.