Parenthood is a special feeling. As humans, we all have many sides to us. We have the power to nurture a life and we are full of love to give. A feeling of being a parent, of being responsible for a life, of a small life becoming the biggest part of your existence is special. Motherhood and the unparalleled feeling it generates has been discussed in detail. But let’s talk about fatherhood for a minute. In a society like ours, it is majorly believed that taking care of a child at every stage is a mother’s duty and fatherhood takes a back seat. Not enough conversation revolves around the role of a father in a child’s formative years. Becoming a first-time dad is an exhilarating journey filled with excitement, anticipation, and, let's face it, a few nerves. To manage these nerves and start this new life-changing journey, here are some tips for the first time dads.
Get Involved Early
A lot of times fathers involvement comes in the later stages of childbirth. However, it is essential for fathers to get involved in the pregnancy from the get go. Whether it is attending prenatal classes to being an active partner in doctor's appointments, getting involved early is key. As parenthood is not a single parent’s responsibility, this involvement would lead to a deeper connection between the two partners as well as between the father and the unborn child as it sets the tone for the upcoming years.
It is important for fathers to keep reading and learning. Not just about the baby's health but also about the partner’s health, pregnancy and the related complications, nutrition, exercise, and hormonal changes. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to parenting. Fathers need to take out the time to educate themselves on the various aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care. Pregnancy is a very crucial and uncertain phase, hence proper knowledge will help you navigate tough times and make informed decisions quickly.
Support During Labor and Delivery
Supporting your partner is something that should be implied by nature. Your support throughout pregnancy and your presence during labor and childbirth can make a world of difference. Your partner will seek comfort, encouragement and assistance from you along with the medical professionals because you have been with them in this journey longer than anyone else. Familiarise yourself with the birth plan and communicate freely with the medical team to ensure a safe and positive delivery of the child.
Create a Dad-Friendly Space
A father’s role just does not end at the previous step. Building the environment at home is an equally important responsibility you must work on. From an early stage, start building a functional space in your home which has space for both you, your partner and your child’s needs. These spaces include creating a dedicated area for changing diapers, a feeding corner/room, a playing space for the child and a calm and peaceful surrounding to spend quality time with your partner. A new father also needs to work on their mental space which is accommodating, patient, and flexible.
Connect with Other Dads
It is not only mothers who shall go out and seek guidance from mothers around them. Fathers too need to seek out opportunities to connect with fellow dads. Starting with basics such as joining parenting groups, online or offline, are the best spaces to learn in an environment where people with shared experiences discuss among each other, seek advice, and bond connections over the similar situations they face, leading to long-lasting friendships with others going through similar journeys.
Master the Basics of Baby Care
Use the time you have to learn all the techniques related to baby care. Whether it is changing diapers, reading parenting books, watching informative videos, feeding a child, or burping and soothing techniques. As a first time dad, these techniques will help you confidently navigate a childcare routine even in the absence of your partner in any situation.
Well, your life just does not need to revolve around the child. You need to take care of yourself equally well. Amidst the excitement of experiencing fatherhood, don't forget to prioritise self-care. If you are not physically or mentally content, you will never be able to provide care and affection to the people who expect that from you. Take proper rest, practice mediation, exercise physically, eat healthy and understand the psychological impact of your behaviour on others. Take good care of yourself.
Embrace the Role of a Team
Parenting is a team effort. Every parent needs a partner to deal with a new life that will be shaped by your decisions. Embrace open communication and share the load with your partner, and talk openly with your parenting partner. The parenting partner need not be just your husband or wife, they may be your friend, your family or your parenting coach. Just discuss things openly and do not be afraid to ask for help from them. A united parenting model leads to a supportive and loving environment for your child to thrive.
Capture and Cherish Moments
You might get too swayed by the work, the love and the family and you miss the chance to enjoy the moment. Time is popularly known by its characteristic to fly, and you would never feel these emotions of being a new parent again. Hence, do not forget to capture those precious memories and enjoy them because life goes on and it is important to keep collecting these treasures you can revisit in the future.
Celebrate Dad-to-Be Milestones
Lastly, do not forget to celebrate every small milestone that you reach during the journey of your fatherhood. Whether it's the first ultrasound or setting up their room, or cooking something good for your partner, each step is a moment to be cherished and celebrated.
As you eagerly await the arrival of your little one, these ten tips may serve as a guidebook to help you navigate this life-altering experience of becoming a first-time dad. Embrace the journey, cherish every moment, and get ready for a lifetime of love and joy.