Preparing for Fatherhood: 26 Tips From Parenting Experts
Becoming a father for the first time can be an incredibly exciting and overwhelming prospect at the same time, but there are some thoughts that take over our minds. You are worried about a lot of things, like how you are going to go about it, what you need to do, and so on. These worries are often based on the uncertainties that lie ahead in taking on the role of a father.
Research shows that 10 per cent of men had prenatal and postpartum depression which was significantly higher in the 3 to 6 months postpartum period. While there are various resources targeted at helping women prepare for motherhood, there are not so many for dads. Our team of parenting experts spent countless hours on the internet, interviewing dads, and researching all about fatherhood, and were able to come up with 26 tips for preparing for fatherhood.
Whether you’re just expecting your first child or have been through it all before, these 26 ways to prepare for fatherhood will set you up with everything you need to succeed as an effective and loving parent from the moment you hold your new bundle of joy in your arms.
26 Ways to Prepare for Fatherhood
1. Start Your Research
Many women often carry out extensive research on different topics related to parenthood after they become mothers or even before they get pregnant. But your spouse should not be the only one doing this research.
We recommend that fathers do their research before their baby arrives to become familiar with caring for infants. Check out and read preparing for fatherhood books, blogs, and other publications where other new fathers narrate their experiences during pregnancy and birth. This will help you to stay abreast of whatever is happening to your spouse during pregnancy, birth and after birth.
Here is a list of helpful books for Dads:
- You’re Going To Be A Dad!: The New Dad’s Guide To Pregnancy and The First Year of Fatherhood
- Dad, I Want to Hear Your Story: A Father’s Guided Journal To Share His Life & His Love (Hear Your Story Books)
- Father and Son Journal: Pass Back and Forth Between You and Me Journal
Read on fatherhood-related topics like first-time dad tips, best advice for new dads, mentally preparing for fatherhood and more. All of these, put together, can ease your nervousness – equipping you with all you need to be the best dad in the world.
2. Enroll in Parenting And Antenatal Classes
Enrolling in parenting and antenatal classes is a great way to increase your knowledge of what to expect, and how to go about parenting. Many hospitals should provide recommendations on what to do. The tips and lessons you get from them are priceless.
You will learn about applying breathing techniques for your spouse, delivery day expectations, helping your wife control pain, properly bathing a newborn, changing nappies, and many more. This helps to provide a glimpse of what is to come when their infant arrives.
Moreover, these classes will offer new dads more than the advice your friends can give you. They will provide practical tips, hacks, and support. There will be practical sessions like changing diapers, carrying your baby, and so on during the classes so you can get your hands ready for when your baby comes into the world.
3. Hang Out With Other Dads
Spending time with other fathers can be beneficial, as it will help new dads gain a basic understanding of what it is like to have a child. Staying in close contact with other fathers and their children will show men how to bond with their children. Furthermore, you will gain hands-on experience with babies and see how fathers connect with them.
Here are some questions to ask dads in your life:
New dads greatly benefit from having more experienced dads around to learn from; it’s like getting a mentor for the new job.
4. Make Lasting Memories
Of course, you can’t prepare for fatherhood from the outside-in. You have to get in and be a part of it. The best way to do that is to make lasting memories with your partner and yourself. Whenever you have the time, take pictures or videos to chronicle every growth, pregnancy, delivery, and any other event you can think of.
This helps you to get involved with the whole process, and it gives you, your partner, and child, memories to cherish for a long time. Watching a video clip or looking through old photos will remind you of what is important in life, no matter what life throws at you. A dad told our experts that he had an album of his partner’s belly as it grew till the day of delivery, which helped him stay involved in his baby’s growth while in the belly.
5. Learn How to Hold a Baby
You will have to learn the proper way to hold a BABY ahead of time. Many dads stated that they wished they had learned how to carry their babies, especially newborns because they had to deal with corrections from nurses and family members which felt sort of embarrassing.
The best and safest way to carry your child is in an upright position with their head and neck supported by one of your hands while the other hand is placed on the bony part of their back, just above their bottom. This will not only keep them safe, but they will also be more comfortable.
You might also want to check out Healthline’s detailed guide on holding a baby, or you could mingle with and even carry babies around you to boost your confidence when close to your infant.
6. Plan Your Time Accordingly
7. Practice Patience
Patience is a choice, we must choose to practice it rather than wish we had more of it. As you prepare for fatherhood, you must choose and be willing to be patient. Although occasionally losing your cool as is nearly unavoidable, exercising patience is one of the best methods to teach them how to control their emotions and reactions to various situations.
Sometimes, your partner may have mood swings during the pregnancy, you have to be patient with her. It is important to recognize your triggers, try to pinpoint the exact moment when you are most likely to lose your patience and be intentional about keeping your cool.
8. Make A Budget
Going through the process of creating a budget makes a lot of sense, especially if you are starting a family. Making a budget of every thing that will require financial commitment is very important. It will help you to know what you need to buy, where you need to make changes and the necessary adjustments that you have to make.
By understanding what your financial situation will look like in the next few years and planning ahead, you’ll spend less time on unexpected expenses like health care or special needs therapy and more time raising your baby. You can ask your partner to help with the various items that your baby will need, and other items you will need. A great tip is to budget more than the price so you can have a better estimate of how much you will need to spend.
9. Learn About Birth and Labor
Learning about birth and labor can be hard, but it’s important that you both know what to expect so that you’re prepared for this process. Your partner will likely feel scared and overwhelmed at some point during the process, and it’s up to you to help her through it.
During birth, there will come a time when your partner is having contractions and needs help getting through them. You may not be able to do everything on your own, so it’s important that you know how to assist her during this time.
Your partner will also need your help with other issues related to labor, such as pain relief and getting comfortable in a warm environment. It’s also important for you to know how much time she needs from you during these times so that you don’t become too stressed out or worried about her health.
10. Be Willing to Sacrifice
Sacrifice is about giving up something temporarily good for something eternally better. The work of a father is a special one. Life, as you know it may be simple, and routine for you but when you are expecting a baby, it changes.
There are so many ways in which being a father means sacrificing: your time, your lifestyle, and even your relationships with other people.
The work of a father is more than just raising children; it’s about ensuring their happiness and well-being for decades to come. It’s about being there for them when they need you most—no matter what age they are.This requires you to put in a lot of resources as a father.
11. Get Your Accounts Up-to-date
Financial planning is an important part of preparing for fatherhood. Nonfinancial information, such as insurance and other documents, might also be helpful. However, you may have difficulty accessing the information when needed if you don’t have a system for your financial records.
Irrespective of when the bills are due, set aside the time to bring all accounts current if they are not on automatic payment. As a new dad, you will only add to the heap of stress when bothered about the bills and utilities you haven’t paid. It’s also awful to get dinged for late payment when you’re doing something noble like making sure your newborn feels secure.
12. Build or Buy All Baby Furniture
As a dad, it seems obvious that you should build baby furniture before your little one arrives. But many expecting dads don’t because they think they can wait until their child is born to build the changing table or crib. The first few months of your baby’s life are so important, it will be challenging and time-consuming. You will be co-sleeping with your baby and you need to prepare for this.
If you are planning to build baby furniture, it is recommended that you start early and if you want to buy then you should buy them as early as possible. You can work with your partner to have a list of all the necessary baby furniture and start getting each item.
However, no sleep-deprived parent would want to build baby furniture when they feel fatigued unless you plan to buy baby furniture once your little one arrives.
13. Set Up the Baby Nursery
Setting up a baby nursery is likely to be part of the nesting process for parents with extra space. Nonetheless, you should do it well before the baby is due. In addition to providing plenty of time, parents can use the nursery space to relax and daydream about the expected life change.
We have some tips for making sure your baby’s room is safe and comfortable:
– Choose a room that’s free of wall decals, chemical off-gassing from new foam mattresses and paint fumes, and window treatments.
– Make sure there are no toxic items in the room—this includes latex paint and wall decals as well as furniture with lead paint.
– Don’t use any electrical outlets in the room until it’s been tested for safety by an electrician.
You should also ensure that the nursery will accommodate your baby’s needs. The cribs, strollers, and changing tables should be there.
14. Get an Infant Car Seat
An infant car seat may be your most important new addition before the birth of your baby. The safety of newborns in the car depends on having an infant car seat for them in the hospital. Once parents purchase one, they are not allowed to leave the hospital unless nurses see that they know how to properly install it.
It’s not just about buying the infant car seat though; you also need to practice strapping a stuffed animal or baby doll into the car before doing so with your own newborn. Make sure you’re familiar with how it installs beforehand – some have hooks between seats while others use standard shoulder belts – and read all directions before trying to install anything.
15. Know How to Pack a Diaper Bag.
It is important for fathers to know how to pack a diaper bag if they want to lessen the burden placed on their partners. When packing a diaper bag, remember that everything you don’t need should be discarded beforehand.
Here are some basics steps you can use when packing a good quality diaper bag: zip up every item inside and outside; start off by filling wet bags with diapers, wipes, cream and so on; add clothes for older babies since they will go through more items than younger ones; include feeding supplies such as bottles, cups, snacks, bibs, etc.; make sure there’s plenty of play time equipment including toys, teething rings and books; finish things off by putting in any mother’s necessities like sanitiser or lip gloss.
Be sure to pack enough baby essentials in the diaper bag especially when you need to take a long trip. This will take away unnecessary pressure and give room for everyone to relax more and bond.
16. Do a Final Clean.
Parents will spend so much time shopping and cooking in the first few weeks; that they may feel even less inclined to clean. Hence, to support your partner and prepare to become a father, you should take a week or two before the delivery day to do a final thorough cleaning of the house.
Dust the light fixtures and fans, arrange the furniture, clean the carpets (especially those spots where guests are likely going to be sitting), bleach bathroom tiles/grout/mirrors, reorganize kitchen cupboards, and engage in deep cleaning.
You do not want your newborn to be exposed to any form of dirt, and a clean house will help your partner focus on more important things.
17. Budget For Your New Baby
You should know that both your life and your bank account will never be the same again after your partner gets pregnant. The cost piles up from pregnancy to birth, and even when they start growing. There will never be another event in your life that signifies fiscal change quite like this one; from the first prenatal visit to the day of your college graduation (and beyond).
As a dad, it is essential that you make preparations ahead of time, even before the baby has arrived by allocating how much money is going where each month in order to give them the best future possible. Live on the new budget early on so that when they arrive there are no surprises or issues about where everything goes.
18. Acknowledge Your Sex Life May Change
It’s no secret that becoming a dad can change your sexual life.
Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and scary things to happen to any couple. The moment that you find out that your partner is pregnant, it can be a rollercoaster of emotions from being excited, nervous, or just confused. Communication is key to keeping the lines of communication open and engaging with each other as a team.
However, as you and your partner face these changes together, it can strengthen your relationship. Plus, once the baby arrives, your sex life can actually be better than before! Your relationship has taken on new dimensions as you both become parents and this shared experience can make many couples closer.
Do not worry dad! sex after a baby is even better. Your relationship has changed as you become parents, and this shared experience can bring many couples closer.
19. Learn to Cook and Freeze Meals
One of the most important things to learn is how to cook and freeze meals. Your partner may be overwhelmed with feeding the baby, by learning to cook and freeze meals, you will be making life easier for her. Having premade frozen casseroles on hand is an absolute lifesaver for new moms and dads who are trying to take care of a newborn.
The dinner train from friends and church will eventually come to an end, so it’s smart to double up on meal prep before the baby comes. If you can eat half the meal and then store the rest for later, it will make it much easier for that person to handle cooking after the baby arrives.
As for preparing a post-baby meal, you can either set a timer on your oven or microwave some Tupperware. Learning how to cook will save money, reduce stress on spouses, and provide convenience as they are close to giving birth or even postpartum.
20. Get Healthy
You should focus on your health before your baby arrives because you will need to be very healthy to take on the new responsibility of being a dad. You will need to quit smoking if you do, not just because of you but because of your baby. Eat healthy and work out with your partner to get back into shape before baby arrives. Encourage her to eat healthy food and exercise too.
New parenthood will be a long and exhausting time, so eating well now will help keep you going. Think about making healthy swaps if your diet could use some adjustments. Also, include fibre-rich food sources or immune-boosting foods in your diet. You may also want to take a few moments every day, or at least a few days a week, just the two of you – go on walks, bike rides or have some other time together where you can talk about what you are going through as parents-to-be. You’ll be glad you did.
21. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is necessary for you, your partner, and your baby. You may need to try out a few different sleeping approaches to find the one that works best for your family. But the most crucial factor is that everyone gets a good night’s sleep. Even if you’re both working tomorrow, you’ll feel better about it.
Furthermore, consider sleeping in shifts whenever possible, taking naps when you can, and dividing responsibilities so the other person can take a break. You and your partner need to have enough rest before the baby’s arrival. However, don’t expect to enjoy sleep the way you used to, especially after your little one comes home.
Mostly, during the first three months post-delivery, your baby hasn’t started adapting to the real-life active and sleep time schedules. When it’s time to sleep after the day’s task, that might be your baby’s day.
22. Learn How to Use a First Aid Kit
23. Build a Support System
Building a strong support system can be difficult and ongoing, but the effort is worthwhile. Being a parent can be difficult, but When you have a strong support system, you are surrounded by loved ones or friends with whom you enjoy spending time, who encourage you in your decisions and struggles, and who stick by you through both the good and difficult times in life. It’s one of the most priceless possessions you can give your family.
You have to know that you can’t do it alone, so you should not be scared to ask for help when needed. You can get involved with other dads-to-be through a support group or online forum where you can share tips on being an effective dad from the beginning without feeling alone in this process!
24. Learn Baby Songs
It’s never too early for a dad-to-be to get ready for baby! One way you can do this is by learning your baby’s favorite songs.Singing children poems, rhymes, or lullabies shouldn’t be the mother’s or grandma’s work alone.
Singing is a great way to bond with your baby and make them feel safe.Therefore, take time to learn baby songs before the arrival of your newborn. The following are some of the most popular songs that dads recommended:
All thanks to the internet, you can now browse, watch or download some songs online, then practice in your free time.
25. Be Prepared to Support Your Partner
This is one of the moments your partner needs you the most. She requires your attention, helps around the house, some form of assurance that you still desire her in her present state, and so on.
Spend time together as a family. Be the first person she turns to when she’s feeling overwhelmed with life changes as an expectant mommy. When your partner is upset or depressed, she will seek you in particular to give them the strength they need to persevere until they can stand alone once again.
She may also need you to accompany her to medical appointments, yoga classes, and other events that can ease pregnancy anxiety. On the other hand, post-delivery is where the major parenting task begins. You’ll need to avail yourself, help out with house chores, bottle feeding, tummy time, etc., so that your spouse can rest a bit.
26. Accept that You Are Not Prepared Enough
Life is full of change, and your life has just begun. Life with a baby will be different but definitely not any less busy. You’ll have plenty of time to see your loved ones, so it’s important to make plans for them right away. By working ahead and getting everything done up front, you’ll have more time to enjoy fatherhood during the first months of your child’s life.
While preparing for fatherhood, keep an open heart and get ready for what is to come after delivery. There’s no magic formula for being a good dad, but these simple tips above will help you prepare mentally, emotionally, and financially for fatherhood.
Congratulations on your upcoming bundle of joy!