The small-scale approach for new dads
Preparing for the days leading up to baby’s arrival were well planned and organized. We knew what we needed, what the process was going to be and felt quite calm at the fact that we had done our homework.
Speed things up a bit and here we are, in the car, driving home from the hospital at 30kms per hour. My first challenge was getting baby into the car seat and actually fastening her in correctly. (Best advice: get to know that car seat back to front beforehand – My wife did ask me to do this…several times)
"Leaving the hospital with our new little addition is quite an overwhelming feeling. No more nurses on hand 24 hours a day, you can pretty much say, shit just got super real!"
On a morning that was probably around a cool 25 degrees, I found myself in a pool of my own sweat, not sure whether to have the aircon on or the windows open? In the end I couldn’t decide and drove home in what felt like a moving sauna.
Leaving the hospital with our new little addition is quite an overwhelming feeling. No more nurses on hand 24 hours a day, you can pretty much say, shit just got super real!
The feeling of closing the front door once we had arrived home safely can probably be compared to winning a challenge on The Amazing Race.
We were home – Now what?
Tip # 1: Check the nappy – We had fed baby, burped her and pretty much checked all the boxes but baby was still not happy, after a short while we realized we had forgotten to check her nappy. Once changed, baby passed out immediately. #Winning
Tip # 2: Get a heater – I can’t express how effective a simple, fan heater is. Heat the room before bath time and baby will just lie there, enjoying the warmth, never mind the sweat dripping from my forehead, as long as baby is happy…that’s all that matters right?
Tip # 3: Relax – Everything is going to be just fine. We tend to be on edge most of the time in the beginning…this feeling does go away, I think! Or maybe I’ve just become accustomed to it!?
Tip # 4: Accept help– Family and friends will pop over with delicious dishes of their favourite offerings. Trust me, not having to worry about dinner makes life a lot easier. They will also offer to hang your washing, do the dishes and take out the trash. Accept with open arms – they genuinely want to help.
In my pursuit to get some solid advice for new dads, I chatted to Robyn Lawrenson, Deputy Editor at Your Pregnancy Magazine. Check out Robyn’s 5 tips below:
1. Communicate. When baby arrives, mom is going to feel like a slave to him/her. The breastfeeding, changing, soothing, swaddling, rocking, cleaning and preparation never end, and this can overwhelm even the most seasoned mothers in the first few weeks. Listen to her, ask her how she feels, and do everything you can to make her journey a little easier.
2. Go on a date. Even if it’s just a two-hour dinner, it’s important to have time away from baby (who you’ve left with a trusted person) to focus on each other. And, try not to talk about the baby while you’re out!
3. Find your own way to bond with baby. Make bath time, Daddy time. A great way for dads to bond with baby is by taking one job and completely making it your own. This is your special time, and your special job. Plus, it gives mom time to rest / have a shower / watch a rerun of Friends. Etc.
4. Don’t expect her to want to even think about the prospect of sex for the first 6-8 weeks. It’s not safe or recommended, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be intimate in other ways. Give her hugs every day, kiss her, write her notes, tell her you love her, and what a good job she’s doing. These little forms of affection go a long way in boosting her confidence and ensuring you stay close during the first few weeks.
5. Speak to your employer about you paternity leave. In SA, according to labour law, fathers are only permitted three days of paternity leave. So, plan for this in advance so that you can accumulate some leave while your wife is still pregnant. This way, you can at least spend the first week together.
There you have it, now go forth and be awesome!