Well my wife technically is. Although I had debated whether or not to mention this topic on a car blog, I decided it was time to let everyone know that my wife and I are expecting our second child. I’m sure there are readers out there who are either new to the role of dad or will be soon, so I’ve decided to use this post to discuss my five simple strategies for surviving the newborn period I learned as a first timer and plan to make good use of with baby #2.
Above all else, SLEEP anytime the opportunity presents itself. There are few things more tiring than being the parent of a newborn. For example, it doesn’t matter if you have spent the entire night trying to calm a colicky baby, you’ll still have to go to work in the morning. To try and make up for the missed sleep, offer to take shifts with mom during the evening and try to rest whenever possible during the day. If you are at home and the baby is asleep, take a nap. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for the help of friends and family. In an effort to make the transition into fatherhood a bit easier, take full advantage of any paternity leave or FMLA time you have available.
From day one, stay involved and hands-on. In other words, don’t make the mistake of waiting for the baby to start interacting with you, while mom and baby hang out and form a strong bond. Yes, newborns are a bit boring, but if you wait until he or she starts giggling and cooing to get involved, you may feel left out. Be involved in bath time, bedtime, feedings, and well-baby checkups, which happen pretty often in the first few months.
Don’t be cheap on baby gear. This is the mistake we made on baby #1. Just because a generic version of a name brand product exists at a much lower price and looks the same, the quality is usually crap and sometimes even dangerous. Also, there are a couple must-haves: a Bumbo seat and a baby sleep sack. The sleep sack will do wonders for crying babies. We already bought an Aden and Anais sleep sack for the newborn and plan on getting a larger one later.
Help out! Don’t wait to be asked to do something. Instead, offer to change a diaper…it’s easier than you think and something you’ll be doing quite often for the next couple of years, so you might as well perfect your diaper changing skills now. If mom is struggling to calm a crying baby, give it a try. You’d be surprised how good dads can be at comforting an upset baby. Help fix meals.
Take time out for your partner. When a new baby comes home,they take almost 100% of the focus, which can cause strain to develop in even the closest relationships. Don’t pass up opportunities to reconnect. This can be as simple as sitting on the couch for a few minutes together after the baby goes to bed or enlisting a family member for babysitting duties so the two of you can go out to eat. Sign off of social media after a certain time at night. Above all, remain patient and positive. When you offer support, your partner will quickly realize you are the real deal…both a man and an awesome dad.
Pamper your wife. Buy her flowers (or ice cream). Give her a foot massage. Get her a good heating pad. Some of the best heating pads use infrared heat. Not only will this relax her, you can use the pad for future sports injuries as you get older. Win win.
Enjoy the moment. It’ll seem like no time has passed before your newborn is fighting to get out of your lap and make a mess or feeding him/ herself. At this age, developmental milestones pass quickly, so take videos and photos, while also taking the time to savor every moment. Now it’s time to take a nice long nap and prepare yourself for the days ahead.
Any other dads out there have any tips they’d like to share for others? Leave a comment below!