They say that the best way to learn how to swim is by ‘jumping in at the deep end.’ Fortunately for newbie swimmers, if this were a method used by a swimming coach, they’d get in a lot of trouble, and there is the possibility to starting in shallow water and gradually moving deeper…
Parenting is not like that!
One evening recently, I was sitting watching TV, beer in hand, bombay mix in the other keeping myself to myself and enjoying the mindless activity of watching the idiot box, also known as ‘opiate for the masses,’ and then within a matter of 6 measly hours I was thrusted into a world of meconium stained clothes, sleep deprived eyes and damaged ear drums where I was no longer the centre of my own world. Long gone are the hours spent in front of that same idiot box, that’s for sure. It goes without saying that there is no shallow, gradual progression into parenting; it optimises the ‘deep end’ methodology of learning.
Well, I’m now 5 whole days into the ‘deep end’ of parenting and I thought it might be helpful if I shared the wisdom I’ve learnt so far… Here’s my top 10 things a new Dad needs to know about the first few days of parenting:
#1 Be prepared to be wee’d on, poo’d on and sick’d on. There’s no time for OCD isms here. You will go through 4 t-shirts a day – seriously, that happened to me today.
#2 Expect nappy changes to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done for a little while. Get everything ready before you begin the nappy change. Have the new nappy open and ready, wipes half out the packet, sudo cream lid off. If baby decides that they’re not quite finished – you’re ready for whatever they throw at you. (Also, don’t change them on the carpet or bed and think ‘this time it’ll be fine.’ Learn from my mistakes!)
#3 You might sleep through the baby crying at night – especially the first night as you’ll be exhausted. This is ok! (Unless your partner is nudging, shaking or covering you in water to wake you up.)
#4 Expect your partner to cry – a lot But when she does, remember it’s not personal. In fact, there’s probably nothing wrong at all. I know, I don’t understand it either but it’s the way things are. Worry not.
#5 Expect the house to start getting untidy. Unless you stay on top of things, the bins will fill up with nappies, the laundry bin will overflow and the kitchen will get grimy. It’s just what happens.
#6 Time moves ridiculously quickly! It feels like he was born only an hour ago, yet days have now passed. I think this is normal…
#7 People will ring on your door like no tomorrow. Be firm and strict with ‘visiting hours’ which can be tricky with family and friends. If it’s feeding time or your partner is resting, say so. They won’t mind and you have to protect your baby and partner (and yourself) from getting overwhelmed and over tired.
#8 Black poo is normal – it should turn yellow and green soonish though.
#9 Don’t expect sex. Just don’t. But do expect a new kind of intimacy. In fact, it’s quite remarkable how close you can feel to your partner.
#10 Your life’s priorities will shift suddenly, dramatically and in a big way. Spend some time thinking this through. You’ll get scared of dying as well! Sorry to be morbid.
There you have it; 10 things to expect in the first few days of being a new dad. Feel free to add anything that I’ve missed.
It’s World Breastfeeding Week from the 1st to the 7th August and there are many ways that breastfeeding support from dads can help.