New Dad Tips When Bringing the Baby Home From the Hospital
Is it your first time bringing your baby home? If your answer is yes, then welcome to the club!
Being a father for the first time is one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences anyone can have. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who would say otherwise. Setting your newborn on his or her crib as a new father is a moment worthy of some Kodak film or a Hallmark card.
Everybody, from your partner to your in-laws, is abuzz with excitement, and so are you. You may have done your homework about what to do from this point onward. However, the truth is that no amount of research and planning can make you 100% ready for your first daddy shifts.
We are here to show you the ropes. Read our top new dad tips on what to do after you take your newborn home!
Tip #1: Take Time Off From Everything
After bringing your baby home, the last thing you want is a to-do list — one that includes all your responsibilities from before you became a father. This can include work, side projects, or even school if you are pursuing a degree.
Whatever you had on your plate before, now is not the time to attend to them. You may be familiar with the cliché that being a dad is a full-time job. Well, no other period shows this to you than the first few weeks your newborn is at home.
The first few weeks will be filled with diaper changing, feeding, tending to your partner’s needs, and self-care (yes, this is still important). Hence, you will surely not have time for other things like work or other commitments.
Taking time off from your job will be helpful to your partner, your new child, and to yourself as well.
Tip #2: Get Rid of the Idea of Baby Schedules
Health care professionals like nurses and midwives may disagree with this tip. However, there is nothing more disconnected than a written schedule of how your baby might behave and reality.
Remember: babies are babies. They have no regard for how you want them to act and when. With this in mind, you will have to get comfortable with the idea of being prepared for everything your baby might throw at you — whenever and wherever this occurs.
For babies, there are no such things as set meal times, diaper changes, and nap times. Wait a few more years before introducing structure into their days and habits.
Tip #3: Babies Need Sleep, and You Do Too!
Every father will attest to late-night cries and odd-hour diaper changes. Attending to your baby’s needs throughout the day can make being a father seem no different from being a firefighter.
Taking care of your baby can heavily disrupt your sleeping pattern, however well-established it may be. You need to sleep to prevent parent burnout. Since unbroken eight-hour sleep can be a rarity at this point, we have this one recommendation:
Sleep when you can, as often as you can, as long as you can!
Tip #4: Approach the First Few Weeks of Fatherhood With a Calm Mentality
As rewarding and memorable as it can be, fatherhood can be a nerve-wracking time for many new dads. It’s hard to shake off thoughts of what might be, what can go wrong, and whether we are doing things right.
If you are experiencing these thoughts, know that they are normal. You can even view them in a positive light as they prove how much you care for your baby. However, for your sake, try not to dwell on them.
Worrying too much can add to the mental fatigue you may already be experiencing. So long as your baby sleeps, feeds, cries, breathes, and moves, he or she is doing well — and, of course, so are you, so kudos to you!
Tip #5: Only Spend on the Essentials
We understand that you want only the best for your newborn. So, do not let us stop you from buying a crib, a set of pillows, some clothes, and even a few mobiles for sensory stimulation. These are essentials that you would be wise to buy.
Essentials can also be anything that helps your partner rest and stay comfortable. After all, your partner also deserves some rest and leisure just like you.
Anything that might be too fancy like highly-priced wipe warmers and bottle sterilizers may require some careful decision making. If your budget is tight, spending on what is necessary may get you and your wallet through the first phase of fatherhood.
On the other hand, in the absence of financial constraints, feel free to splurge.
Tip #6: Find A Good Pediatrician
Today, Google seemingly has answers to any health problem. If you notice that your baby might be ill, do not fall into the temptation of Googling the symptoms. The SERPs will not always have accurate and calming answers.
A good pediatrician has the expertise to which you can turn for your baby’s health. They have experience in medicine as well as how to provide parents with guidance.
Indeed, calling a pediatrician for every cry, poop, and puke may be unnecessary. However, having someone to call can add some peace of mind to your new parental undertaking.
Tip #7: Enjoy These Moments
Beneath all the inconveniences that seem guaranteed for new fathers, the early days of parenthood are something to cherish. As fathers, our time caring for our newborns does not last forever, and we will look back at these memories with fondness.
Early fatherhood is worth enjoying, so treasure your first few days or weeks of caring for your newborn.
What are your thoughts on the topic?
Being a new dad can be tough, but it can be one of the most memorable times of your life.
If you want to learn more, check out our free 40-minute parenting video. Also, feel free to learn our eight strategies for new dads caring for their newborns.