Becoming A Dad For The First Time
Ahh, the trials and tribulations of being a first time dad, when each day is fraught with doubt, panic, wonder, and love. What they say is true. When a baby arrives, everything changes. Suddenly, men transform from expectant dads to fathers. Once you become a father, you are a father for the rest of your life. Becoming a dad for the first time includes plenty of books and handbooks. However, for most new dads, parenthood is similar to a treasure map with missing pieces.
Here is a spoiler: there is no X marking the spot. However, there are plenty of guidelines and tricks to help you navigate the obstacles of fatherhood.
Here are some tips on fatherhood for those discovering or rediscovering the awesomeness of parenthood.
First Time Dad Tip #10 – Take Your Baby With You
Bring your baby with you. At first, it may be an effort. That baby requires lots of gear. Believe us, it is worth it. Try not to pull your hair out figuring out how to put together all that stuff. Only travel with the absolute essentials.
Barring the first four months and unique conditions, your baby can accompany you wherever you go.
Put your child in a stroller, and jog around for some fitness time. Put your child in a sturdy baby carrier, and be the proud dad out on the town.
The benefits are countless. You spend time with your baby, you get out of the house, and you show-off your pride and joy. Make sure that your car follows any and all vehicle regulations regarding children. Rules vary by region.
First Time Dad Tip #9 – Talk, Sing, Coo, Mimic, and Respond
If babies are portable, they are also a captive audience. Let your baby hear your voice.
If you are at work most of the day, give your child a call during lunch. Sing “I’m a Little Teacup” or your favorite childhood song; it is your voice that matters. Letting children hear your voice reveals you are very much a part of their lives even if you are at work.
Mimic your baby’s sounds. Respond to the noises you hear. Converse in the unique language of parenthood.
If you are a father re-experiencing fatherhood after many years, you may feel like a first time dad all over again. Now is the time to look to your older children for help. Encourage them to talk, sing and coo with you. Have them tell the baby a secret or talk to them about their favorite cartoon.
It is all about the love. There is no better way to build love than through relationships, and communication is the way to establish and nurture those relationships.
First Time Dad Tip #8 – Snuggle And Cuddle
Babies require human interaction for healthy development. Snuggle close. Cuddle, hold and nurture your little one.
Hug and blow kisses. Tickle their sides and play with their toes.
Live in the moment. Appreciate life in general and the new life just beginning.
More tips to foster the bonds between you and your baby:
- Hold your baby close while you are reading
- Let your baby know that your forearm is the best pillow there is
- Let your baby nap on your stomach
First Time Dad Tip #7 – Play And Have Fun
There is an absolute joy in playing with your baby and helping move those limbs around while singing “This Little Piggy.”
Make plenty of facial expressions, and play Peek-a-Boo.
Babies are constantly learning about their new world as well as exploring their surroundings. They will also endlessly enjoy tummy wiggles and clapping along with music or any sound!
First Time Dad Tip #6 – Time To Step Up
There will be countless times to give your partner a hand even if you are tired or just came in from work.
Parenthood requires both tag-teaming and flying solo while the other sleeps. Make sure that you are an equal part of both sides of that equation.
Burp the baby after nursing.
Sit with the baby in the steamy shower to clear up nasal congestion.
Change that diaper or clean the bottles.
First Time Dad Tip #5 – Step Out For A Breather
Take some time out for yourself without your baby. Remember, you are not just a parent.
Plan time alone with your partner, family, and friends.
Just as moms need time off, first-time dads also deserve to enjoy the big game every once in a while, grab a bite to eat, or plan date night for two.
First Time Dad Tip #4 – Multitask
If your baby has a dirty diaper, change the diaper, and then blow raspberries (vibrating mouth sounds) on that adorable tummy.
If your baby is crying because of teething, massage those gums while waxing poetic about your day at work or recounting a cute story.
Make sure you get alone time with your baby while doing daddy duties. Also, let mom sleep in a bit.
First Time Dad Tip #3 – Call The Experts
It is important and totally normal to ask for help.
Call your mom.
Call her mom.
Call your support system of fellow parents.
Call the doctor when you are in doubt.
The first few months are going to be scary. The first couple of years are also going to be scary. So, get expert help from your doctor. Get parenting tips from dads who have been there. Get daddyhood tips and commiserate with your fellow first-time dads or just parents in general.
First Time Dad Tip #2 – Patience And Commitment
Sometimes, (and understandably so), first-time mothers can feel overly protective of a newborn. Mothers carry the child for nine months and are physically hard-wired to respond when they hear the baby cry.
As a first-time father, you might feel a bit left out. Let some things slide.
It is important to communicate. Talk it over when you are feeling out of the loop. It is a partnership.
Your spouse is relying on you and vice-versa. Touch base.
Confirm those vows and commitment with words and actions.
Do not take each other for granted. Both of you are the backbone of your child’s life.
First Time Dad Tip #1 – Ask For Help
Even fathers get the blues. Dads can sometimes feel like they are drowning in doubt and worry. Be aware of how you are coping and keep track of your moods.
Watch out for these warning signs:
- Being indecisive and irritable
- Losing interest in activities and life in general
- Constant fatigue
- Temper flare-ups
- Impulsive violence
- Significant weight loss
- Severe lack of focus
- Loss of self-esteem
Being a first time dad can be physically and emotionally taxing. If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, talk to your doctor or another health professional immediately.
And remember, you and your mate are the “Dynamic Duo.” You can master anything together, including parenthood.
1st Time Dad Official Guide
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Becoming A Dad For The First Time Resources;
 National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse; Programs.