For those who are new (or soon to be new) to the dad life, the whole fatherhood thing can be a bit overwhelming. While your partner may seem to have it down pat already, you may still struggle at moments that are totally unexpected. From one new father to another, here are some lessons learned that may make your new life a tad easier.
1. Forget your past life
There is a new routine, and it revolves around the baby. We’re talking complete regime change. Don’t think about what you would have been doing (or could be doing). Blank it out. Wipe your memory clean. Ignorance is bliss.
2. Make time for date night
Set aside one night a week for some quality time. Even if it is just cooking a meal at home and sitting down to enjoy it together.
3. Get tough ignoring tired cries
Tempting to go running at the first sign of a tired whimper. Tough to ignore prolonged worn-out wailing. But you have to stay strong if you want them to settle on their own.
4. Diaper duty
This is the 21st Century, goddammit man. Time to get your hands dirty. You’ll learn to love it (not 100 percent true).
5. Get ready to spend lots of money
Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of money. On things you never before knew existed. Babies eat money.
6. Take feeds
If you are pumping or using formula, take your turn on the bottle feed. It’s a beautiful bonding experience. And don’t shirk the night shift!
7. Get your favorite take-outs on speed dial
You and exhaustion will become BFFs. At these moments you will not feel like cooking, and would probably set the apartment on fire if you tried. Order in.
1. Expect the first three months to be easy
At all. Whatsoever. Things look up once you start establishing a routine though. Tough out Q1.
2. Heat milk in the microwave
No, not because it kills nutrients – that is scientifically unfounded. And no, not because it creates ‘hot spots’ that can scald the baby – it is a liquid, swirling the bottle evens out heat distribution. The reason not to heat milk in the microwave is very simple – the mother of your child will kill you if you do. (Read: don’t get caught heating milk in the microwave).
3. Freak out at the early poo
It resembles crude oil. A curious quirk of nature, but perfectly normal.
4. Think you won’t become a bore
You’ll tell baby anecdotes only you laugh at. You’ll show baby photos, unprompted, to everyone. You’ll become that guy.
5. Worry about chatting away to your baby
People already think you’re weird for forcing baby photos on them. May as well go the whole hog.
6. Act dramatic when they take a spill
They will start crying like Cristiano Ronaldo. One Cristiano Ronaldo in this world is already one too many.
7. Send reassuring picture of baby to mom
Seems like a good idea, this one. You’re out on your own and it’s all going fine. Do send a text saying ‘All going fine!’ But we’d suggest against photo proof. Cue ‘Why is the baby sitting like that? Why is baby wearing that? Why is baby not wearing that?’ There are different interpretations of ‘All going fine!’ The smart money is on hers being more exacting than yours.
8. Forget the folds
When sponge-bathing the baby. Note – the folds increase with time. Get in there and get scrubbing!
9. Call it babysitting
The baby is yours. Nobody is going to pay you for being puked on. Nobody is coming to take them off your hands.