Being a dad is the greatest experience. It opens up a level of compassion that many men don’t realise they have. It confirms your role in the family and ensures that your focus is firmly set on the things that matter the most.
Being a new parent is inherently difficult as you don’t know what to expect and this can sometimes be a bit scary. Figuring out how to hold, bathe, sing and play with your baby doesn’t come as second nature to many first time dads.
Moreover, if you don’t embrace the learning phase then things can get a lot more difficult as your baby reaches the terrible two’s and beyond
Here are 6 Practical tips all dads can use to calm their nerves, steady the ship and keep them on the right track.
6 Proactive Tips For New Dads To Be Happier & More Helpful
1. You are no longer Number 1
The first issue that you face as a new dad, is that things no longer rotate around you. This can take a little while to come to terms with, but the sooner you realise this the better.
Your life has transformed and the quicker you allow this to happen naturally the easy it will be for you, your partner and your new baby.
Not refocusing your priorities is a surefire recipe for disaster. Drop all the non-essential activities and focus on your new primary role as a new dad.
2. Babies Are Hard Work!
Caring for a baby is hard work and the sooner you get to grips with your “New Normal” (of changing diapers and limited sleep) the easier it will be.
Babies need continuous care and if you are not someone who is generally alert and has the ability to multi-task, then you will find it hard to cope.
It’s a huge learning curve but the quicker you get to grips with the new daily routine the easier it will be.
Remember, your partner has a lot on their plate right now, so whatever you can do to help out will be appreciated.
3. Try, Try & Try Some More
Being a new dad can be terrifying at the beginning. There’s so much new information to discover and you have to get some things right the first time.
Handling a fragile new baby can be nerve-racking, especially if you have a wife with hawk eyes watching over you.
The key to making a difference and ensuring that you are needed domestically is to keep trying until it becomes second nature.
Your role as a dad is to assist your family as much as possible in the early days and weeks of your newborn’s life. Some jobs will be tedious, like continually sterilizing bottles, and other jobs complex, like learning how to burp your baby, but nevertheless you need to apply yourself until you get the hang of things.
4. Talk With Your Daddy Confidants
A Great tip to Fastrack your way to “Super Dad” is to do as much research beforehand as possible. Reading baby books and searching for information online are fantastic ways to start.
However, a great resource to tap into, that usually goes unnoticed, is talking to other friends or families that have children already.
There is an entire world of knowledge that is waiting to be utilised and the more you talk to qualified parents the better.
Remember, not everyone’s experience will be directly relevant to you, so try not to take all pieces of advice as a doctrine. Instead, use this new knowledge you’ve learnt as a foundation to work by and something to draw inspiration from.
A great example of this is getting knowledgeable tips about baby sleeping tricks or hacks to help keep your baby sleep in the night times for longer.
5. Stop Going Out!
A common issue amongst new dads is to try and skip away from fatherhood responsibilities. Although this can seem necessary, especially at the very beginning when mummy is doing everything, it’s still wise not to be tempted to go out too often.
Avoiding responsibilities will only make things worse and the best way to adapt to having a newborn is to immerse yourself in the daily routines as much as possible. In this way, you will be more equipped with the tools to help out when you are asked.
Small services like trying to change as many diapers as possible will keep you in the good books with your wife, and simultaneously, train you up for when those diapers get heavier. (And they do get MUCH heavier!)
The truth is your social life isn’t going anywhere and those people that truly love you will understand.
6. Keep Your Romantic Spark
Finding you’re new normal will take some time. The foundation of your relationship will change and you may feel that the old version of yourself and your wife/partner has gone forever.
While that is certainly the case for the immediate future, it won’t always be the case. Remind your wife/partner about all the reasons why you decided to become parents in the first place and keep things spontaneous by mixing things up a bit.
The first few weeks of caring for a newborn can be tough so back rubs and foot massages for your wife will always go down well.
Moreover, whenever you feel the time is right, plan a small trip outdoors, to your local green, or just for a walk. Things will get frantic but tiny signs showing you care and appreciate everything she is doing will go along way.
If you stay open mind, empathic and try and help out as often as possible you’ll be in the best headspace to realise your true potential as a new father and trusted husband.
Mo Mulla is a work from home dad who enjoys reading and listening to music. He loves being a dad and husband to a growing family. He loves writing about his passions and hopes to change the world, 1 blog post at a time! You can find his parenting blog here: ParentalQuestions.com