Tips for new Dads, from a new Dad: Surviving the first few months.
Here’s a reality check, you’re either about to be a Dad or you have newly become one. Congrats! Your life as you know it is no longer yours. Sound dreary? It doesn’t have to be. Squaddles was founded by first time parents just like you! As our little one gets closer and closer to being a one-year-old (where the hell did the time go?), We thought it would be a good idea to compile Tips for new Dads, from a new Dad: Surviving the first few months.
Maybe you planned this new family member or maybe you didn’t — either way, get ready for the most wonderful and exhausting experience of your life. Let’s start with the first three months!
The Exhaustion is real.
Let’s get to what we believe to be the worst component out of the way first. New parents according to an article by Motherly, lose about 44 days worth of sleep their first year as parents. The exhaustion you may have felt before pulling an all nighter “studying” in college doesn’t even come close. You start to become delirious, trying to put a diaper on or feed baby with eyes half shut and you may start to drift away. Just remember, as hard as it is, it does get better. It’ll take a few months but soon your new roommate will get used to this world and develop a sleep pattern. If you’re like us “sleeping when the baby is sleeping” is not something you’ll be able to do at first but try and try again. Put away your phone and anything that can keep your attention and rest your tired little head as well. You deserve it.
Team work makes the dream work.
Along with the exhaustion comes a side of you and your partner you may have never experienced. Your partner and you may have had a super flirtatious relationship previously and while it may continue, snarky comments are usually around the corner when exhaustion kicks in. In those moments, remind yourself of the love you both share. Give each other grace and try your best to not let your tired self react to something small. Do your best to communicate and provide clear expectations of how you can help with your new baby. If you haven’t had an opportunity to learn each other’s love language, I suggest you do so — it’ll help you both immensely.
Moms have a natural / biological connection with their new one, I mean they were hanging out for almost a year without you. Your partner will naturally take on more than they can handle, and this is an opportunity for you to step up and help whenever and wherever you can.
My recommendation: CHANGE THE FIRST DIAPER.
Even if you’ve never changed a diaper before. Your partner will be exhausted from labor and for her to see her hubby tackle this first task is important. It’ll also give you and your little one an opportunity to bond. Something you can always remember and make baby feel guilty for down the road: “I changed your first diaper missy! Don’t you ever forget that!”
It’s no secret the modern world makes it harder and harder to be present in the moment. As clichéd as this advice may be, it’s important. If your employer respects your time off, that’s amazing. Even then, the work emails will slowly start to drip in during your time away, your previous life responsibilities and habits will be knocking at your door. Remind yourself your baby is only a newborn once, and even though time seems to slow down, those early months will fly by. Take some time to put your phone far away and just stare at the miracle of life in front of you. Sounds easy right? Harder than you think.
Treat yo’ self!
As the first few weeks and months start to wind down, “treat yo’ self” and your wife. If you can afford for her to have a spa day, I’m sure she wouldn’t pass that up no matter how anxious she may feel leaving the baby. Do the same for yourself — if the spa isn’t your thing, do what allows you an opportunity to unwind. Maybe it’s a game of pick-up basketball. Two Larry Birds, one stone. You get a chance to be out of the house and socialize, while finding a way to get your head away from the day-to-day. Too exhausted to do something super physical? Take a short walk.
Returning from just an hour away helps you feel recharged and a better perspective when you get back to that little one.
If you seek advice, you’ll get it. Tons of it.
Everyone and anyone will give you advice. Even us. Most of it will be conflicting what you believe or have expected. Grandma may have fed her child whisky to help with teething, but this advice may have come from an era where the OBGYN was openly smoking a cigarette in the delivery room. Take the advice, say thank you, and move on. Engaging others on why you are or aren’t doing something will be your natural instinct, and that’s fine. You’ll realize soon enough that the debates require energy that you don’t have. Try your best to remember their intentions are usually good and coming from a place of love.
Scared yet? Am I making this all seem horrible? It’s not. Give yourself and your partner grace throughout these early months. You’ll make mistakes, and that’s okay. Your baby doesn’t know the difference. Remember when the times are tough, millions of people since the beginning of time go through the same process every year. The moment your little one smiles and looks up at you and your heart melts, all the bad stuff goes out the window. Fatherhood is the greatest journey, and we're excited for you to embark on yours!
Are you a new dad? Did I miss a super important tip? Share yours using #ModernDad