A Guide to first time fathers.
As a soon to be father, you might think that it is not much you can do for your child until the child is born. However, this period is very important, and you can help smoothen the cycle.
Your partner needs your help and support more than you believe. Some little things you can do to support your family are :
Accompany your partner to doctor’s appointments: There is no harm in joining your partner when she’s on her way to the clinic. This way you will feel more involved in the whole process and it will give you a glance at how things work on the other side. While you are there, interact with the doctor who can clear your doubts about pregnancy. This will also give confidence to your partner and boost her morale.
Be sensitive to your partner’s needs: Everyone knows that pregnancy can be highly stressful for women. She not only experiences major bodily changes but also a tornado of emotions. These feelings may not necessarily be negative and can also change rapidly. If your partner is having mood swings, then try to be patient.
Remember that your partner is going through a big change and sometimes her mood is not in her control. Pay close attention to her health and behaviour so you can give the support she needs. Interact with her when she feels better as communication is key to any relationship.
Talk it Out: As mentioned before, adding a child to your family whether it’s your first or second, changes the whole dynamics of the family. If you already have a child, then tell them a few months before about their little sibling. Anticipate how they will react to the new baby – are they jealous? overexcited?
It differs from child to child depending on how secure they feel as a member of the family. If they’re small, then you can use examples from fiction or real life to help them understand. “Hey, you’re going to have a baby sister like your friend Tim!” etc.
Discuss the future of the family with your wife in terms of finances. How will adding a new member to the mix affect your expenditure? A baby comes with his or her own needs. Draw up an estimate to see how much you will be spending both during and after pregnancy. From hygiene to a nursery – everything needs to be taken care of before the baby arrives.
Pay attention to the trimesters as each one includes important milestones for the baby. Normally, an x-ray can help you understand this better! It can also be heart-warming to see your baby grow into a tiny individual over nine months.
Enjoy as much as you can, before you finally hold your bundle of joy in your hands. Your partner may stay in labour for 12-24 hours. This is probably the most intense and painful part of pregnancy. Try to stay focused and ease her tension, so that she doesn’t feel completely alone.
Once your baby arrives, the entire dynamic changes. The atmosphere of the house is livelier with his or her cries. This also means that you will have to alter your schedule according to your baby and wife. Therefore, here are a few things which you need to remember:
If it’s your firstborn, you may be nervous while holding the baby. That’s pretty normal especially if you never had nephews or nieces to help you practice. However, it is not rocket science. Remember that the baby’s neck is sensitive so be sure to rest a hand under it.
A new baby may not sleep at the right time or sleep much. Post-delivery can be stressful for the body as it tries to recover. Sleepless nights make it worse so don’t let your partner alone care for the baby at night. So, when you hear a cry from the crib at 2 a.m., don’t wait for your partner to raise up and go check on your little one.
As your baby grows older, you begin playing a more active role in his life. For example: When he shifts to bottle milk, you can prepare the milk yourself and feed him.
Make sure your house is baby proof: This means putting away anything that can hurt your baby. Initially, your baby doesn’t move around on his own, so you just need to pay attention to his immediate surroundings. However, baby-proofing the house becomes a necessity when he starts rolling over and crawling.
Having a baby can be stressful especially for first-time dads: You can seek advice from your own father who might share tales from your infancy. Not only your father but anyone who has been down this road can help you out.
You can help your partner with little things such as putting the baby to sleep, watching over the baby if she needs rest and even changing the clothes. Giving your new-born a shower can be tricky so you and your partner should give him a shower together.
There is a lot, you as a father, can do to support your family and unborn child. Being aware of your partner’s mood and needs is important. There are many things you and your partner learn while parenting your new-born and your experience may differ from child to child. Once the baby is born, you can have a more intimate relationship with him. But for now, buckle up and brace yourselves for this new ride!
• During pregnancy, you can support your partner by scheduling doctor’s appointments and going to the clinic together. Baby’s future needs such as hygiene, nursing and clothes need to be taken care of as well.
• Be sensitive to the family’s changing dynamics. This includes informing your other children about your new one’s arrival before birth. This will benefit your family for when the baby arrives.
• Your partner may experience contractions for up to 8 to 18 hours. Remember, that she is in great pain. So, try to be patient with her and sit by her until she finally delivers.
• You can play a more active role in your baby’s life post-delivery. Feeding them milk by bottle, changing diapers, baby-proofing the house, taking the baby out for a breath of fresh air are some things you can do to connect with him.