If you are about to become a dad, chances are that you are thrilled about the next chapter of your life. But in the back of your mind, you are also unsure of what to expect. The truth is that preparing a baby is both exhilarating and overwhelming.
Newborns are precious, but also scary.
Preparing in advance for the baby’s arrival is undoubtedly the best way to embrace fatherhood. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a first-time dad, here are tips and tricks to help you transition smoothly.
Why Dads Need to Prepare for Baby
Pregnancy and childbirth can be pretty intense for a mother. During this time, your partner will need all the support she can get from you. Shouldering some of the responsibilities that come with the arrival of a baby can help make the experience more bearable. Moreover, having a baby can be pretty expensive. And getting your finances in order will ensure that both your partner and child have everything they need.
Getting involved in pregnancy also helps you establish a strong bond with your child before they are born. Besides that, you will want to make your home ready for your new guest. All these activities will take time, effort, and meticulous planning.
Do your Research
As you prepare to welcome a newborn, research will come in handy. Here are some of the aspects you need to you will want to familiarise yourself with:
Moving the Baby
Moving a newborn is a delicate process. And learning how to do it early can make the process less complicated. You will want to learn how to use both hands to support the little one’s head, neck, and bottom when picking them up or putting them down.
Remember that newborns have weak neck muscles. Therefore, it’s vital to support their head and neck.
Babies do not like sudden movements such as bouncing and jostling. These might scare or make them incredibly uncomfortable. Learn to move slowly and gently whenever you are carrying the baby.
Diapering is certainly not one of the most exciting aspects of fatherhood. However, learning how to do it will go a long way in supporting your partner when they need rest. It will ensure that you don’t rely on anyone else during babysitting. Your newly found freedom will allow you to spend quality time with your young one without any qualms.
Emergencies may also arise unexpectedly, and being able to handle your baby’s diapering needs is an invaluable skill to have.
When researching to help you prepare for a baby, look for credible sources. These include your paediatrician, authoritative parenting websites, and baby care books.
Plan your Finances
A new baby has needs that can make you dig deeper into your pockets. Hence, you must budget for expenses such as baby gear, diapers, and baby-friendly living space. Here are some of the things you can do.
Set up an Emergency Fund
Unexpected expenses may also arise when taking care of a newborn. Starting an emergency fund months before your baby’s arrival can help ease the financial stress. The best approach is to save at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses. This fund will provide peace of mind and comfort for your young one when facing financial uncertainties.
Review your Health Insurance
Reviewing health insurance is another excellent move when preparing for a baby. If you have chosen a health facility for the delivery, talk to your doctor to know what your insurance covers. How much do you need to pay from your pocket?
You might also need to take paternity leave to spend some time with your baby. But before you do this, check your employer’s policy to see how it may affect your income.
Depending on where you live, the government may offer some benefits for couples with newborns. These range from a child tax credit to Medicaid, ensuring that you are familiar with these benefits long before your baby arrives.
The bottom line is understanding how much it costs to have a baby and organising your finances in advance.
Work on your Health
Having a baby is physically, emotionally and mentally taxing. That is why you need to take care of your health now to have the energy and endurance you’ll need to keep up with a dad’s role. Here are tips to health you achieve optimum health and fitness:
Babies are pretty energetic. Once your child arrives, you must sacrifice and put their needs first. When focussing on your child’s needs, your health could suffer. For example, your time to work out will be limited. Also, infants may sometimes keep you awake until late at night. Maybe they are not feeling well or haven’t developed a regular sleeping pattern yet.
On your side, fatigue may set in, and you will become overwhelmed. To avoid this, you need to stay active now. Work on your fitness so that you can meet the demands of fatherhood without a problem. Consider creating an at-home workout plan. The objective is to ensure that you can carry out your work regimen before and after the baby arrives.
Once you are accustomed to exercising at home, you can take care of your fitness despite welcoming a new family member.
Prepare and Stock Healthy Frozen Meals
New parents juggle between work and parenthood. As such, you might not have time to prepare a fresh meal and care for everything else. Preparing and stocking your fridge with delicious food will ensure you are not missing any meals.
If you don’t have the time and knowledge to prepare and freeze these dishes, you can always buy them. Some of the frozen foods to buy include peas, spinach, brown rice, and fish. Reports show that these dishes are not only easy to cook but also as healthy as fresh food.
Adopt Healthy Habits
If you smoke regularly, you want to start adopting healthy habits. According to research, second-hand smoke may affect the infant’s health during pregnancy and after birth. The health problems emanating from this exposure include light birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and asthma.
Even though quitting smoking could be challenging, there are ways to protect your partner from second-hand smoke. For example, you can smoke outside and away from your significant other. Refrain from smoking in common areas such as the kitchen and living room. You want to ensure that you are not leaving any smoke behind in areas to which your partner needs access.
After smoking, freshen up. Change your clothes and wash your hands. Avoid transferring some of the residues from the smoke to your partner. Cultivate this habit early so you do not struggle to adjust when your partner is already several months into the pregnancy.
You could also try to quit smoking altogether. Join a quit-smoking support program as early as possible. And you might get rid of this habit before your baby arrives.
Get Adequate Sleep
The first days after welcoming your baby will not be easy. Newborns have a habit of waking up every few hours. And this means that you and your partner may no longer have the privilege of sleeping throughout the night. On top of that, you’ll need to wake up early and go to work.
Take advantage of every extra hour you can get to rest. Sleep as much as your schedule allows, so you can cope with fewer sleeping hours when the baby arrives.
Mind your Mental Health
Most parents relish spending time with newborns. However, the experience also comes with various challenges. These include fatigue and stress. Such difficulties can be detrimental to a new dad’s mental health.
To combat them, plan how you and your partner can get personal time when the baby arrives. Putting a practical strategy in place will help you manage stress and fatigue better.
Accompanying your Partner to the Doctors’ Appointments
Accompanying your partner to the doctor’s appointment can help you in preparing for a baby. During these visits, there is plenty to learn. Being present will help you understand more about the development and health of your baby. It will also create an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns.
Attending these appointments with your wife can improve communication and prepare you for the parenting journey. When you both understand what’s good for the baby, you can support each other. And create the best environment for your young one.
Moreover, pregnancy has its ups and downs. It can be tremendously stressful for your partner, and they will appreciate every bit of emotional support you can offer. Eventually, your child will come to a home with great parents who work well as a team.
Organize your Living Area
Babies are curious and intriguing. You bring home a newborn today; within a few months, they are already moving. Why wait until then while you have the time to organize and babyproof your living space now?
Babyproofing your living space will involve adjusting your furniture to accommodate your little one’s movement. You can start by covering electrical outlets to make the living space safer. Remove heavy objects and furniture that could tip over.
If your home has furniture with sharp edges, such as a glass coffee table, replace it with another with a rounded table.
Invest in Storage
Your baby will have lots of clothes, toys, and other items. Decluttering your house and investing in storage solutions such as drawers and shelves will help organize these items. And ensure that everything your little one needs is within reach.
Set up a feeding station for your baby. This area should have all the essentials for feeding, including burp clothes, bottles, and formula.
Join a Dads Club
Dads need to recharge, share experiences and support each other. As you prepare for the baby, joining a dads club is an excellent idea. In such a club, you will learn how to become a better father and spend time with like-minded people. Usually, these clubs expose members to educational resources and activities you’ll need once your baby arrives.
Preparing for a baby doesn’t have to be complicated. With the correct information, support, and resources, dads can excel in their roles. The last thing you want is for the newest family member to find you unprepared. If you implement these tips, transitioning into fatherhood should be a smooth experience. Get started today, and you’ll not regret it.