Becoming a dad is one of the most momentous moments in your life, and nothing will come close to topping it! You are holding onto a precious little bundle, and you will stop at nothing to make sure that nothing will ever hurt them.
Then suddenly BAM – you are dealing with heightened emotions, you will be hit by a wave of tiredness and sleep deprivation like nothing you’ve ever experienced. You and your partner will feel like you are swamped by perfect parenting online while you are trying to work out whether that stain on your shoulder is baby food or baby poo!
THIS IS COMPLETELY NORMAL!
Here are our top ten pieces of advice from dads for new dads! Don’t worry, you are doing amazing!
1. Listen to advice BUT with a pinch of salt
You will be receiving advice from everyone. Your mother-in-law, the lady in Tesco, and even the postman will have some important information on how to deal with your new baby! Most new parents will admit that their family gives lots of unwanted advice, or tries to get them to change their parenting style in the first year. You might find this interference is worse between two and six weeks, and then again at 11 to 12 months! There is nothing you can do to change this, but make sure you take everything with a pinch of salt!
2. No two children are the same
Comparison can be the thief of joy, so don’t let it take your happiness! Lots of children develop at different ages, with some taking longer than others to crawl, or walk. Your child is perfect just the way they are, so don’t let yourself worry about what they have and haven’t achieved yet. They will do it in their own time!
3. Lower your expectations
While Instagram and Facebook might show you images of picture-perfect parents, the likelihood is that they have probably been covered from head to toe in baby poo as often as you have! Make sure you lower your expectations, as in most cases it will be amazing regardless.
4. Work as a tag team with your partner – take turns to have a break
Both you and your partner will be absolutely exhausted by the end of day one when you have a little newborn in the house! Make sure that you both take it in turns to look after your amazing bundle of joy. This will give you both the time to take a breath, and will allow you both to be better parents for your children.
5. Don’t underestimate how long you will sit and stare at them!
There are many things that you will factor in when being a new parent, like loss of sleep and the amount of nappies you will need, but trust us when we say that you will probably want to spend 24/7 staring at how amazing this tiny human is! You might lose hours just being with them, and looking at how perfect they are.
6. Don’t drop the baby!
While people might laughingly say ‘Don’t drop the baby’, this can be one of the biggest fears that new parents have! Falls are the number one cause of serious injury in little babies. As their skulls are currently 22 pieces of bone fusing together, it makes head injuries a lot easier, so if you do drop your baby, call your pediatrician right away!
7. Changing a nappy is hard!
Once you have a newborn, you will realise how hard it is to change nappies! Their little bottoms and feet often wiggle the whole time, and if you have a little boy, it’s very easy to be hit in the face with some wee!
8. Beware the yellow poo!
For some reason, particularly breastfed little babies will have bright yellow poo that has the ability to make its way up to your baby’s neck! Suddenly it’s action stations and bath time! This sludgy substance also manages to get onto any item of clothing that you are wearing and you just have to pretend you are living off takeaways if anyone catches you!
9. Everything is a phase, whether good or bad
While you might hope that they will stop pulling every book off the shelf when your back is turned, it is a phase that you will miss when you are picking them up from the local nightclub at midnight!
Everyone knows that on average, parents will lose a total of 133 night’s sleep in the first year of their baby’s life, with 7 in 10 parents losing at least 3 hours of sleep a night. So, make sure that you cherish these four or five hours you get! If you can steal 40 winks during the day, take it and run!