- 3 mins
First-Time Father Tips
Doing anything for the first time can often bring a feud of mixed emotions to the surface. Becoming a father is not an exception. I went through this experience about 13 years ago while working long hours at a restaurant in London, so if you wonder what my takeaways from the experience are, you’re in luck!
First-Time Father Tips and Tricks
I am a huge fan of sleeping, and if you are too, prepare for some disruption. Expecting mothers usually have trouble sleeping for longer than three to four consecutive hours during the last few months of pregnancy. Non-pregnant people do not undergo the same physiological changes as pregnant ones and can sleep uninterrupted until the baby comes home.
- The mother should have easier access to the baby, and I recommend having the cradle or bassinet as close to the bed as possible to allow the mom to simply roll to one side and pick up the baby for feeding time.
- Encourage the mother to sleep when the baby does. As impractical as this may sound, I strongly recommend it; you’ll be able to deal with most house chores for at least the first few weeks.
- If the baby is bottle-fed, work out an agreement with your partner/spouse so that you each know what the other is expecting. You could altogether take over the nighttime feeding process or perhaps simply help with warming up the milk. Being on night duty can be difficult at first, but this is a temporary situation and the help will be appreciated.
- Bear in mind that when the time comes, for some mothers, it may be hard to separate from the baby. But the sooner the baby sleeps in their bedroom, the sooner your sleep will begin to return to normality.
I am also a fan of eating; good nutrition is essential at this time, especially for new mothers.
- Batch cooking is a no-brainer and simple to do. Each time you cook, double or triple the amount. Having food ready to be heated up is incredibly convenient, especially when you are tired.
- Fruits and nuts are a great healthy snack; have plenty of them at home, and any other quick, healthy snacks you and your spouse/partner like.
In a time like this, mindfulness can provide the mental resilience required to maintain composure and serenity through the highs and lows. You are likely to experience a full range of emotions; giving yourself just ten minutes can make a huge difference.
- Make time to meditate. As your days begin to form a pattern, finding the best time will allow you to choose the best moment; if you do not have a meditation practice, apps like Calm can help establish one.
- Try playing calming music in the background: classical, electronic, or anything else. A study by Timothy Iyendo showed how music or nature sounds were conducive to reducing stress in hospitals. I know firsthand this is also true in homes and cars.
- Moshi is a great tool to have as a new parent, too. Its music, white noise, bedtime stories and sounds are great for helping lull your newborn to sleep but it’s also jam-packed with meditations and breathing exercises. The content is created for kids but works just as well for adults!
Bonding with your baby is important for you and them. A 2021 study by Ronja Schaber et al. highlighted the importance of father-infant bonding.
- Don’t worry, you will not drop the baby. It may feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon get used to holding them. Babies have the softest skin and a particular scent. Enjoy it!
- Take the baby out. A buggy, stroller, or a baby carrier is all you need to go outside and take a walk with your baby. This will allow mom to rest and have some very important me-time.
Bonus tip: Take paternity leave if you can! Use your holiday or vacation time if you are not entitled to any. Much will change in your life, and having time to adapt will pose a great advantage. The first few weeks will be the hardest, but remember, they are only a few weeks!
I hope you find these tips helpful and wish you all the best in this new life chapter you are about to enter. Congratulations!
Iyendo, T. O. (2016). Exploring the effect of sound and music on health in hospital settings: A narrative review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 63, 82-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2016.08.008
Schaber, R., Kopp, M., Zähringer, A., Mack, J. T., Kress, V., & Garthus-Niegel S. (2021, June 4). Paternal leave and father-infant bonding: Findings from the population-based cohort study DREAM. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.668028