Surprising Things First-Time Dads Need to Prepare For
What can first-time dads do to help their partners prepare for the momentous arrival? Here’s some expert advice!
Fatherhood can be an absolutely exciting prospect, especially if you know what to expect. Being prepared to be a father means reading books, getting information from other fathers and family members, and perhaps checking internet articles and videos to find what you need to know. We are very lucky to have a lot of parenting information at our fingertips, so this process of preparing has become easier to do.
Here is some advice I would give to new dads or soon-to-be new dads:
1. Make sure you and your wife are a solid team. Being a dad is not always a walk in the park. There will be difficulties like the lack of sleep, juggling work and family, and the possible strain that may occur between you and your wife while taking care of the baby. It helps to constantly communicate with your wife and work together as a unit to prepare together.
2. Make sure to support your wife well before the baby comes. Accompany her to medical check-ups with the doctor to understand the changes that are going on with both the mother and the baby. This will also help you be in the loop and offer better support to your wife and your baby.
3. Attend Lamaze childbirth technique classes (usually a 5-week course) or baby birthing classes together to further prepare the mother’s body for the arrival of the baby. My husband and I attended Lamaze classes that were informative and also provided a shared experience with other prospective parents. These classes further connected Allan and me with the arrival of the baby and helped us talk more freely about our feelings and expectations. Without classes of this sort, many new dads may feel out of place or unsure of their role, even more so when the baby comes along.
4. Attend parenting classes on how to raise your child. Many courses are available online for both of you to learn from. These can help you talk to each other about ways to connect and communicate with the baby, and eventually how to discipline them. Adopting a common parenting style reduces friction when the baby comes. Do you believe in spanking the baby if the baby does not like to take his medicines? Do you believe in raising your voice to prove a point? Our experiences with our own parents may be helpful, but it’s always a good idea to get information from other resources.
5. When the baby comes, support your wife when she is taking care of or carrying the baby. You can ask her things like: “Is there anything I can do for you?” or “How can I be of help?” Offer to burp the baby or change the diaper or put the baby to sleep. Inform your wife that you want to be useful and give her time to rest as well. This will make her feel loved and cared for.
6. Make sure you still have some moments for yourself and for you and your wife. It can be taxing to focus on the baby 24/7, so make sure you still take care of yourself. Plan to take turns taking care of your baby so you can still have some “me time,” and also “couple time” however short those times may be. When the baby is asleep, encourage your wife to have her me time while you care for the baby. In other instances when the baby is asleep, you can plan to have couple time over your favorite dessert or drink.
7. Enjoy the process. You’re now a dad. Make sure to take it all in as these days will go by quickly. At the blink of an eye, your child will soon be a toddler, and then preschooler, pre-teen, teen, and eventually an adult. It is a huge responsibility to be a father, but it can also be a huge source of happiness. Enjoy these moments with your newborn. These moments will never come back. Cherish and relish!
Fatherhood can be a daunting stage in one’s life, but if you are well-informed and ready, it will be such a joy. Have fun being a dad – it’s one of the most awesome titles you will ever have!
About The Expert
MA. ISABEL SISON DIONISIO, MA, Family, Relationship & Marriage Expert
Maribel, a Relationship and Parenting Consultant for over 25 years has co-authored books, like “Helping our Children do Well in School, Growing up Wired” and “I’ve been Dating…now what?”. She was a contributor and the Parenting Expert of Wyeth’s Nurture Network from 2010 to 2018. Maribel is a regular Parenting Expert for various TV and radio programs, like Radyo Singko’s Relasyon and ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda. Maribel served as a Judge for the Jollibee Family Values Award.
In 2008, she set-up AMD Love Consultants for Families and Couples. She worked at the Center for Family Ministries and trained as an Imago Therapist of the Imago Relationships International, New York. Maribel and husband, Allan, are both graduates of the Family Ministry course, Ateneo de Manila. They prepare couples for marriage in the Discovery Weekend and are columnists for the Feast Magazine. They have co-authored two relationship books, Thinking of Marriage and Teen Crush. Allan and Maribel, happily married for 36 years, have 3 children, Rafael, David, and Angelica.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.