21 Useful Tips For Preparing For Fatherhood

While parenting was majorly a mother’s domain in yesteryears, it is not the case now. Modern-day fathers play an equal role and take tips on preparing for fatherhood. Even they want the best for their child and go through an emotional ride along with the mother. Parenting is equally emotional and overwhelming for a father-to-be as he will also experience major changes in his life. Fathers may have some apprehensions about taking care of their newborns and how well they can shoulder the responsibilities. Even they have to learn new things as they prepare to welcome their newborn. Read this post to get some practical tips on the father’s journey.

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21 Tips For Preparing For Fatherhood

Preparing for fatherhood is a continuous process. You cannot learn it in a day. However, if you are willing to learn with an open mind, it is much easier than you thought. For Tony Kee, learning to be a father started with a lot of self-reflection. He says, “We had just been on our honeymoon and we have both reached stages in our life where we feel comfortable in becoming parents and raising a few children. Having ticked off marriage, travel and our degrees in the past few years made it easy to look towards starting a family. My attitudes towards parenthood have certainly changed over the past ten years. When I was younger I felt that parenthood was a trap and potentially ‘game over’ for young people. My sister changed all my perceptions of parenthood when she and her partner became young parents. She proved that the only limitations of parenthood are the ones you create and accept yourself (i).”

1. Spend quality time with your partner

Pregnancy is the best time to spend quality time with your partner

Image: IStock

Becoming a parent is one of life’s most precious moments for parents. However, once the baby arrives, the child’s mother will be occupied with baby care. As a result, you may not have adequate time to spend with your partner.

Pregnancy is the best time to spend quality time with your partner. So be her support system and indulge in activities such as cooking together, going for walks, or something that interests you both. You can even plan romantic dates before your baby arrives. Once the baby arrives, moments like these will become treasured memories.

2. Sleep

The phrase “Sleep like a baby” is wholly misplaced because new parents realize that babies do not sleep much, or at least not in one stretch. They wake up several times during the night, keeping you awake. It is one of the fatherhood challenges you may face during your early child-rearing journey.

Sleep as much as you can or whenever you can before the baby arrives. Even after delivery, you can take a 15-minute nap to refresh. These naps are essential if you don’t want to suffer from fatigue.

3. Watch other fathers

Go to a park, and you can see other fathers playing or strolling with their children. Observe other fathers to understand your little one better. If you like a specific trait, you can repeat it with your little one. You can even have a conversation with other fathers to gain insight into fatherhood and its nurturing attributes. It will help you build valuable friendships, which will help you when you need them. Kee adds how useful it was to talk with friends and family about childcare. He says, “Alana (his partner) and I have prepared by talking to others and sharing experiences with friends and family (and my childcare community and children, of course). This has brought me closer together with my family and gives us time to appreciate the important and special things in life.”

4. Research

During pregnancy, women gather information about pregnancy, delivery, and other related issues. They often read various topics about parenting at all stages of child development. As a dad-to-be, you should also research multiple aspects of parenting and learn how to be a nurturing father figure.

New parents have countless resources to understand parenting, from the right way to raise a baby to what you can expect at every stage of life. With proper research, you can confidently support your wife during pregnancy and after delivery and fulfill your fatherly duties.

5. Document your journey

Document your journey

Image: IStock

Becoming pregnant and giving birth is a significant milestone in a couple’s life. So whether it is your first or fifth baby, you can always document your parenting journey to relive the fond moments in the future. You can take photos, write in a journal, or even start a blog to document the physical and emotional changes you and your partner are experiencing. It will be a wonderful way to treasure your early fatherhood experience for years.

6. Grow with your baby

While the baby is still in the womb, you can take the time to understand what it means to be a father and accordingly make necessary adjustments to your life.

For mothers, changes usually seem natural. Their body changes, and in the next few months, they will experience the baby’s movements and other physical symptoms that continuously remind them of their motherhood. However, for fathers, the experience of fatherhood occurs after the newborn arrives. Take the lead and become more mature and supportive as your baby grows. It will help you be the best role model for your little one.

7. Mingle with babies

The more you mingle with other babies, the more confident you will become around your little one. Some men are naturally at ease with babies and can handle them confidently, while others don’t seem to know the correct way to hold a baby. You can keep practicing or seek suggestions. Ask your friends if you can spend some time with their little ones. It will give your friends a reprieve, and you will gain experience properly holding the baby. It is a win-win situation that will help you overcome several fatherhood challenges a new dad experiences once the baby arrives.

8. Attend parenting classes

If there are no children in your friends or family circle, you can join a parenting class. Many expecting mothers attend parenting classes to learn various aspects of motherhood before the baby arrives. You can join these classes with your partner. A parenting class teaches techniques such as holding a baby, feeding, or changing diapers, which help you effectively cater to your parental responsibilities.

9. Share the load

 You can share the workload at home

Image: IStock

If you think about it, the mental burden of running a house will fall entirely on your partner. She is responsible for the house’s general maintenance and other tasks such as cooking, laundry, dishes, stocking the pantry, teaching the children, and school runs. You can share the workload at home. There are many things you can do to reduce stress.

protip_icon Did you know?
Postpartum depression is equally prone to affect fathers. It could be caused by hormonal changes, a lack of sleep, or a slew of other factors that occur after childbirth (1).

10. Be ready to fall in love

Most parents claim to fall in love the moment they hold their baby in their hands. However, words cannot describe the emotional whirlwind that will strike you when you hold your baby. No matter how strong you think you are, the moment you hold your baby in your hands will be a life-changing moment for you. So, be prepared to fall in love.

11. Be involved

The dad-to-be who is more involved during the pregnancy period will adapt quickly to the changes that will occur after the baby is born. You have to involve yourself in different aspects of pregnancy. You can tell your partner how much you love her. These reassuring words will dramatically enhance her self-confidence, which benefits the relationship in the long run.

12. Prepare the nursery

The best time to prepare for the nursery is when you learn about pregnancy. While you are happy about the new addition to your family, these are some things you need to consider. Create a separate room for the baby. Design a nursery with your partner and incorporate the changes into your home. In this way, you can prepare yourself to accommodate the little one in the new environment.

13. Set up baby furniture

Preparing for fatherhood

Image: IStock

Setting up baby furniture is one thing that needs to be done before the baby is born. Set up the crib before the baby comes home. Remember, you will be left with little or no time when the baby comes home. Setting up furniture also includes baby-proofing certain parts of the home. Although the baby will not walk around the house for a few months, the sooner you complete it, the better.

14. Get an infant car seat

Many hospitals insist that parents know the correct method of installing and using infant car seats. Get an infant car seat and utilize the pregnancy period to practice strapping it correctly in the car. Then, using a doll, practice how to place the baby correctly in the car seat for maximum safety.

protip_icon Did you know?
While mothers are mostly gentle towards their little ones, fathers sometimes get tough and rough. However, it aids the emotional and physical growth of the child while developing their resilience (1).

15. Decide the baby’s bedroom

Sit down and discuss with your partner where the baby will sleep, to avoid annoying surprises when the baby comes home. If you want to provide a separate room for your baby, ensure that the nursery is ready with cribs and other necessities. If you plan to sleep together, get a co-sleeping bed.

16. Divide labor

There are certain things that only mothers can do, such as carrying the baby in the womb, giving birth, or breastfeeding. But you can contribute to ease the burden on your partner. Division of labor is the best way to handle the situation. Consider time schedules and tasks, and share household work so that both of you have enough rest time.

17. Stock up on diapers

Stock up on diapers

Image: IStock

You will need diapers, lots of them. You can ask your guests to bring diapers as gifts to the baby shower. A newborn baby needs to use at least six diapers a day. Keep adequate stock to last several days so that you don’t find yourself out of diapers in the middle of the night. Parents need to decide which type of diaper to use. You can use conventional disposable diapers or environmentally friendly diapers made of cloth. Whichever you choose, you should practice changing the diapers on a doll. and

18. Cook meals and freeze

If you work full-time, you will find it difficult to manage household affairs. Likewise, your partner will be busy taking care of the baby full-time. In such a scenario, cooking a fresh meal may be bothersome, and eating out may harm your health.

Instead, you can cook and freeze meals for a week or two on weekends. You can make sauces, pastes, and other foods on weekends so that you can pop portions into the microwave and eat. You can start doing this before delivery and replenish it when the stock ends.

19. Focus on your health

If you smoke or drink, pregnancy is a good time for you to quit because your health will indirectly affect the baby’s health. You can adopt healthier eating habits to improve your health. Check your vaccinations and keep them up to date.

After becoming a parent, you might have to skip meals because your baby is crying. Now is the time to eat good food and stock up on essential nutrients. You can exercise regularly to keep yourself fit.

20. Take up a calming activity

After the baby arrives, there will be countless times when the baby will scream or cry. You will want them to be quiet, but you don’t know what to do to comfort them. You are likely to lose your temper because of the constant crying and screaming.

You must practice calming techniques to calm yourself down. For instance, you can go for a walk or a drive, listen to music, or watch comedy shows to keep yourself calm and experience fatherhood joys that dads often miss due to parenting stress.

21. Work as a team

The foremost thing you must do is work like a team, which means discussion and communication between you. All decisions you make must be as a team by taking your partner into confidence.

If you do not work as a team, it may lead to discontentment. Teamwork is also a critical parenting skill. Children can feel the weak link and often persuade you or your partner to support things you don’t like. Collaboration reduces this possibility, and your child will also start seeking your opinion before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should first-time dads know?

New fathers should know that it is important for them to spend quality time bonding with their newborns. It helps them understand their baby’s needs and unique personality. They should be involved in parental duties, including changing diapers, putting the baby to sleep, and doing the house chores if necessary.

2. How important is a dad to a newborn?

Substantial involvement of the father from at least the first month after birth aids in better language development and cognition skills in babies. Moreover, a father is equally important for a newborn to feel a sense of security and understand their surroundings.

3. How much time should a father spend with his newborn?

A father may spend at least two to three hours with his newborn daily. The longer the father spends time with his newborn, the better their bonding and overall development of the baby will be.

Preparing for fatherhood can often get overwhelming. A child looks at their father as nothing less than a hero. As a working man, you may often worry about missing your little one’s firsts or think that they may love you less as they do not get to see more of you. However, the truth is that everything will fall in place just the way it has to. Your child is going to grow up to love you just as much as you love them, and you will make a great father. Use the tips and begin to learn what it means to be a great dad and how to achieve it.

Infographic: Fatherhood: Caring For Self And The Baby

Fatherhood is a beautiful yet overwhelming journey that can affect an expecting dad’s mental and emotional health. Our infographic shares effective self-care tips that will help dads-to-be embrace fatherhood positively. Additionally, we share simple ways dads can connect with their babies from the start and enjoy a fulfilling fatherhood journey. Read these tips and share them with fellow expecting dads to ease their anxieties and apprehensions.

fatherhood caring for self and the baby (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Preparation for fatherhood may include active involvement in the journey of the pregnant mother and getting along with the baby.
  • You may join parenting classes or read books.
  • Share the mother’s load by preparing the baby’s room, deciding on car seats, and stocking up diapers.
  • Most importantly, take care of your health and spend quality time with your partner.

Embark on the transformative journey of fatherhood with confidence! Dive into a video that equips you with essential insights to become the best dad possible and embrace the remarkable adventure ahead.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Five surprising facts about fathers; Emory University.
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