Becoming a father is a big responsibility and let’s be straight here, it’s a major change to your life. Whatever you’re expecting, it’s important to understand that when baby arrives, pretty much anything you prepared for will be totally changed and challenged.
So as best as you can, you need to be well-prepared for the challenges and changes that come with parenthood.
If you’re a guy expecting a new baby, you’ll need to be more than just a spare pair of hands. You will be on hand for everything from nappy changing and emotional support, to simply preparing mum a cup of tea and doing the dishes.
With all that in mind, in this article, we’ll explore the key areas you should focus on when preparing for fatherhood.
Having a baby isn’t cheap. The financial costs of having a child can add up quickly, and having a financial plan can help. But it’s also important to remember, especially as first time parents, that there is a lot of crap sold to new parents which you likely don’t need. Especially in the early days.
You won’t need expensive wet wipes (just get the £1 ones, baby will be fine). Nappies only need to be changed for number twos, so don’t sweat if that line turns blue. And there are a lot of gizmos and things that you really won’t need and will probably regret buying – bottle warmers, mobiles, a lot of baby furniture and fancy pushchairs for starters.
Saying that, there are things you will need to spend out on which will most likely be lots of clothes (baby grows get outgrown QUICKLY).
Make your family budget before baby arrives because you will have other things on your mind:
- Create a budget: Make a list of all the expenses you’ll have, including child care, food, and clothing. Find ways to cut costs where you can and realise you don’t need to buy a million blankets – hand me downs will also go a long way!
- Start saving: Put away money each month into a savings account for emergencies and unexpected expenses. One of the primary perks of a savings account is the interest you can earn on your deposits. As baby grows they soak up more funds….
- Consider financial assistance: Look into government programs or other resources that may be available to help with the cost of raising a child.
There are a number of government support options available in the UK.
Becoming a parent can be emotionally challenging, and it’s important to be prepared for the ups and downs of fatherhood. When you factor in sleep deprivation, stress and the huge life changes, the first few weeks can be a massive shock to the system.
For soon to be dads, these tips can make the difference:
- Manage stress: Make time for self-care and find ways to manage stress, such as exercise or meditation. Make some time to recharge when you can.
- Book time off work: Whatever your work setup, realise that baby’s arrival will disrupt all your plans, especially work. Allow at least 2 weeks to adjust, but ideally more. You’ll also want to spend quality time with your new arrival, so factor that in too…
- Be prepared for the challenges: Parenting can be difficult, but being aware of the challenges and having a plan in place to handle them can help you feel more prepared and confident. Sleepless nights are just one part of the puzzle, but expect also illnesses for both baby and mum, not to mention the strain on both of you.
The physical demands of fatherhood can be challenging, so it’s important to be in good shape and have the energy to keep up with your child. Even when they’re not moving, that bundle can be very demanding.
You might be required to shush baby to sleep for hours, carry pushchairs up flights of stairs or carry a ton of shopping back from the corner shop (those nappies add up).
So more than ever, your fitness needs to be at least decent.
Make sure that you stay active in the run up to baby’s arrival. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to stay healthy and maintain energy levels so you’re not whacked when you’re knee deep in new parenthood stress.
Try to eat a balanced diet. And avoid relying on junk food as this can quickly become a bad habit, and you need all the energy and nutrition you can get…
And it goes without saying you should try and bank some good sleep hours. Sleep deprivation is a given with new baby. But getting enough sleep is essential for physical and mental health, so make a plan for you and mum to grab those extra naps when possible.
Being a father requires patience, understanding, and problem-solving skills. Patience isn’t always a skill that comes naturally to us, but fatherhood requires you to manage your own emotions and reactions.
Children, and in particular babies, can be very testing unintentionally. So being able to take a step back and take a deep breath is going to be a key life skill moving forward.
- Develop problem-solving skills: Learn to think critically and creatively to solve problems and find solutions.
- Practice patience: Patience is key in parenting, so try to cultivate a mindset of patience and understanding.
- You can also seek education and personal development: Read books, attend workshops, or seek other resources to learn more about child development and parenting.
Raising a child is a team effort, and having a supportive partner is essential for successful fatherhood.
This applies to both the build up to the birth, through to the birth experience and of course the days and weeks after.
As a dad to be, you can help mum with the birth plan, managing family members and just being on hand to be the best and most supportive partner you can be. And when the newborn arrives, try to spend quality time with both your new baby and your partner as you both navigate the world of new parents.
Some key skills include:
- Communicating effectively: Regular and open communication is key to a strong and supportive partnership. And this goes for double when you are a family.
- Working together as a team: Share responsibilities and work together to support each other and your child. In the first few weeks this is especially true as you will both be struggling to adapt.
- Weather the challenges: Let’s be straight here – your sex life will be non-existent for at least a couple of months, and two sleep deprived adults can quickly irritate each other. So be extra patient with your better half and understand that this valuable and precious time will pass so quickly…
Child Development and Parenting
When it comes to preparing for fatherhood, doing your homework can be hugely beneficial. By having a good understanding of child development and the different stages of growth you can better prepare for the challenges ahead.
Read up on blogs, ebooks, or take courses about child development and psychology. There are also parenting courses and classes in many cities and towns in the UK.
And take time to research parenting styles and find one that fits you both. There are many different parenting styles and techniques to consider, so research what works best for you and your family.
No two children are the same, so all the advice from your mate about how to handle new babies and kids is probably going out the window when baby arrives.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Being a father requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to new and changing circumstances. As we’ve seen in this blog, much of this revolves around a bit of preparation and having a good mindset.
- Be open-minded: Be open to new ideas and approaches to parenting, and be willing to change your strategies as needed.
- Maintain a positive attitude: A positive attitude and a willingness to try new things can help you be more flexible and adaptable in the face of challenges.
- Seek support and help when needed: Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from family, friends, or other resources when you need it.
Preparing for fatherhood requires effort, planning, and preparation, but the rewards are well worth it. By focusing on the key areas outlined in this article, you can be confident and well-prepared for the exciting journey of fatherhood.
Don’t forget to take time for yourself, seek support when needed, and remember to enjoy the journey!