“You’re gonna be a dad!” Whether you’ve been waiting years to hear those words or still think you’re too much of a kid to have a kid, the reality of impending fatherhood can be terrifying for any first-time, soon-to-be-dad. But not to worry, Best Medicine has some timely tips to help calm those bundle-of-joy fears and help you rock your new role as a brand-new, baby daddy.
Winter is Where Babies Come From
Fact: More babies are born in September than any other month, with spill over (and spit-up) into October. Subtract ten months for the typical 40-week, bun-in-the-oven baking time and early winter stands out as the top baby-making part of the year. Is it the cozy nights before a fire as people avoid the snowman-friendly temperatures outside? Possibly. There could be any number of reasons, both seasonal and otherwise, for what will eventually arrive in the fall and immediately steal your heart — and untold hours of your sleep.
Though moms carry most of the baby burden traditionally (and literally for three trimesters), that’s no excuse for the soon-to-be-dad not to step up to the plate and take a swing at being the best partner and father on the planet.
Below is a list of tips and resources to help you do just that. So read on, daddy-o.
Tip #1: Don’t Freak Out
Ok, you’re probably going to freak out even if we tell you not to. But once you calm down, consider this: human beings have been having babies for millions of years, and many of those soon-to-be-dads had it much tougher than we do today. And guess what? The human race is still going strong. Those first moms and dads did a good job — and you will too, with a little help.
Tip #2: Take a Class
Knowledge is power. In this case, it’s diaper-changing, swaddle-wrapping, 2 a.m.-feeding power. And for you and your partner, taking a parenting class or two should be a no-brainer. You’ll both learn what to expect and prepare for as you support each other and bond with your baby even before he or she arrives.
Tip #3: Learn From Other Dads
If the thought of sitting in a room full of full-bellied women and their partners makes you uncomfortable, you may opt to stick with bros for your lesson plan. Dad-only classes and soon-to-be-dad support groups — taught and led by seasoned fathers with tales to tell and words of wisdom to share — are available online and in cities and communities around the country. Dad-focused sites also offer advice for new and still-learning proud papas. Here are a few options to check out:
Tip #4: Babies are Required Reading
Haven’t read a good book lately? Well, if you’re expecting a baby, now is the time to flip through a few pages that could make your life a whole lot easier in a few months. There’s no such thing as being too-well-read when it comes to your fast-approaching, adorable little poop machine. The least you can do is read a book or two, or seven.
Tip #5: Be a Prepared Soon-To-Be-Dad
Tips 1 through 4 are meant to help alleviate some of your jittery, new-dad anxiety. And we hope they do just that. But if you really want to hold that “Best Dad Ever” coffee mug starting on day one, there are also some practical things you can do to prepare. Check these items off your list now to make life with baby more baby-, mommy- and daddy-friendly from the get-go.
- Buy a baby/child car seat. Three out of four car seats are installed incorrectly. Protect your children by ensuring they are riding in a properly secured and age-appropriate car seat. Renown Children’s Hospital Car Seat Station is staffed by certified technicians who provide child vehicle safety restraint education, inspection and installation.
- Set up the baby’s nursery early, including furniture
- Stock up on diapers and baby supplies
- Cook and freeze 2 weeks of food for nights when no one wants to cook
- Research family healthcare
- Agree upon a shared diaper-changing/feeding schedule
- Ask about paternity leave from work
- Get bills and finances up-to-date or pre-pay to avoid late charges
- Give the home a thorough cleaning before the baby arrives