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Dad Survival Guide
October 5, 2015
I was speaking to a dad-to-be recently who said to me, “I’m not ready to be a dad.” This poor man was like a rabbit in the headlights of a very large ‘baby’ truck heading right for him. But I didn’t feel sorry for him for feeling like he wasn’t ready. I felt sorry for him because he actually thought that you could be ‘ready’ for having a baby. Even those dads that say they’re ready, they’re not. You can’t be fully ready. You can’t know what to expect and predict what it’s going to be like; you just can’t.
That being said, gaining vital advice from those who have been there, done that and got the sick stained T-shirt, can make a huge difference to your experiences of being a dad. We asked our network what advice they would give to expectant dads and this is what they came up with:
#1 Sign up to The Dad Network. Ok, it’s a shameful plug but on a serious note, you should join our dads group. Over 1,200 dads all helping and supporting each other. It’s the best place to ask for advice and share your successes!
#2 Pack some things for you in the hospital bag like a flask of coffee and some snacks.
#3 Just to remember that that quick trip with the kids to the shops, pool, park etc will always take at least twice the time you think so be ready for whatever comes!
#4 Put the local takeaways on speed dial.
#5 Be prepared for the baby’s first night at home, usually a long, long night.. Especially as you may not have slept in days…
#6 An afternoon nap for yourself is perfectly normal…
#7 Make the most of every moment it goes so quick.
#8 Be prepared that the day you forget to take something is day you need it.
#9 At some stage you’ll feel absolutely terrified by something. Don’t know what it will be, but it’ll happen possibly more than once. For me it was: first time putting the baby in the car, first time bathing them and first time cutting their nails.
#10 Keep active – so many dads to be put on weight after having a baby. I’m not entirely sure why…but this might help.
#11 Have the odd moment on your own; dad time is important.
#12 Learn how to rub her feet. And back. And shoulders. In fact, just learn how to massage!
#13 Be patient.
#14 Expect the unexpected. And when I say unexpected, I am talking about the extremes of your mind plus another 40%. And be prepared to laugh your arse off afterwards.
#15 Don’t talk about other women’s post-pregnant bodies!
#16 Never hesitate to ask for help. As a bloke it’s sometimes tough to admit you need/ want it. Just ask it’ll help relieve the pressure, stress and make parenting a far more pleasant and social experience.
#17 Put some money aside for rainy days. A little a month can really help and when you need some cash for a night away or a new stroller, you’ve got it!
#18 BE INVOLVED!
#19 Stock the cupboards. Cooking elaborate meals is much harder now you have a baby! Get in some curry sauces, super noodles, frozen southern fried chicken. Job done!
#20 Talk through the parental ‘things’ that are important to you.
#21 Read to your baby. It’s important.
#22 Remember that you are uniquely you and your baby is unique too. So you will form your own bond and have your own routine and way of doing things that may not look like the books and advice say it’ll look. But your child will know you are Daddy!!
#23 Keep dating… and… stuff…
#24 Share you fears and feelings about being a dad. It’s an experience for both of you. “cos dads have babies too” n’ all that!
#25 Tidy up after yourself. Better now than a pig sty later.
#26 Prepare yourself for utter exhaustion. Your baby might not sleep for days, weeks, months… years???!
#27 Take a deep breath and learn how to have fun changing nappies.
#28 Don’t over react to things that seem big at the time.
#29 Don’t be afraid to always show and tell your child you love them, no matter the age.
#30 Always have an extra towel near by while changing nappies. Sometimes they are not finished when you open up the nappy and you need to be protected.
#31 Do not listen to other parents horror stories of baby blow outs, spit ups, lost sleep, endless crying, etc. No matter the experience it’s all worth it. I promise. Ignore those who carry buckets of doom.
#32 Tell her she’s beautiful.
#33 Make sure you have a birth plan. Go over it together and remember be there for her, make sure the hospital is aware of your birth plan. (But hold in your head that all the best laid plans need a plan B!)
#34 Don’t get sucked in. She’s just saying it because her hormones are all over the places still. She can’t argue on her own so remove yourself. Stay calm and controlled.
#35 Say sorry.
#36 Talk to your baby all the time. They respond to sounds, words and your voice. It can feel stupid but it’s not.
#37 Stock up on nappies.
#38 In the battle of wills, you must always win.
#39 Always go with your own instinct. You’ll learn more that way!
#40 Always remember that every baby is different, what works for somebody else’s child might not work for you and your child.
#41 You can read all the books in the world but nothing is like the reality to really bring home the overwhelming feeling of love and pride you feel.
#42 Presence, not presents.
#43 Goodbye boobies, they’re baby’s now. No advice here – *sobs*
#44 You only learn by experience in this job, so understand and appreciate that both parents are making it up as they go along.
So there you have it, a fool proof, new dad survival guide, that comes directly from hundreds of dads who have been there and done it! The only thing you can do, is be as prepared as possible, but you’ll never be ready! Good luck. You’re in for the most amazing journey of your lifetime.
Founder & Editor
@thedadnetworkuk | facebook.com/thedadnetwork | +44 (0) 7703818411