Becoming a father is undoubtedly life-changing. After all, there is probably no experience that can equal or even come close to caring and being responsible for another life. Besides feeling a wide range of emotions, you probably have tons of questions going through your mind right now. “Can I do this?” or “Will I be a good dad?” maybe some of them.
But before you start panicking, know that it’s natural for new fathers to feel nervous and slightly apprehensive. All new parents feel this way.
Nonetheless, we understand that you need more than just a bit of verbal consolation. That’s why we came up with a list containing some valuable information every first-time dad should know. From taking the time to bond with your baby to being open to accepting help, here are three things that could help you navigate your early fatherhood journey successfully:
Get Involved from the Get-Go
If you want to be a father in the truest sense, you can’t remain a bystander in your child’s life. You have to get involved from the start, even if you feel too scared to try. Sooner rather than later, you’ll need to take care of all sorts of tasks, such as changing diapers, bathing, feeding, and burping, among others.
Keep in mind that, when it comes to childcare, getting your feet wet is the most effective way to learn, build your confidence, and enjoy the experience.
Taking an active role in the daily care of your baby is also an incredible opportunity to bond and connect with them. And in case you didn’t know this, the benefits of early bonding go beyond building a solid parent-child relationship. One study published in the London Journal of Primary Care revealed that hugs, lullabies, and other bonding activities can contribute to a child’s long-term mental well-being and happiness.
You Need to Look After Yourself
While it’s understandable that you want to devote all your time to looking after your child and supporting your partner, you shouldn’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Remember that your baby deserves the best version of you: a dad that’s physically, mentally, and emotionally fit. After all, how can you keep up with the demands of parenting if you lack the energy required or feel sick most of the time?
That said, get as much sleep and rest as possible. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, you can still sneak some zzz’s in during the day. For example, perhaps you can take some quick naps whenever your baby is asleep.
To stay active and keep your energy levels up, you can try squeezing an early morning jog or evening walks into your schedule. Performing household chores should also do the trick in terms of keeping you physically active. Not only that but doing your part around the house will make your partner happy, too.
Also, you may want to invest in items that can relieve discomfort as you go about your day-to-day tasks. For instance, you can wear compression socks made in the USA instead of ordinary socks. These specially designed socks can help reduce leg pain and fatigue, especially if you have to walk, stand, or sit for long periods. You can also build a dad wardrobe packed with comfortable and versatile clothes to help you feel and look good all the time.
It’s Okay to Receive Help
During particularly difficult times, you and your spouse will likely need some time off from stressful tasks. But as parents, it’s hard to admit that you’d both like to go out and do something that you can enjoy together without your baby in tow.
If you’re feeling any shame or guilt about needing some time off from being a dad, remind yourself that it’s perfectly alright to take a break now and then. That said, don’t hesitate to ask your friends or family for help. If a godparent offers to babysit so that you can go out, say yes. Should your parents want to visit your home to cook some meals or clean the house for you, accept the kind gesture and let them share some of the load.
Taking a break or leaving your baby for a few hours with trustworthy folks doesn’t make you a bad parent. On the contrary, doing so makes you prudent. Imagine how much more focused you’ll be when taking care of your parenting tasks after getting some much-needed rest.