When you find out you are going to be a father for the first time, it can be both exciting and scary as you think about the responsibilities. New fathers or soon-to-be dads could use advice from fathers who are already experienced with raising children. Below are 10 things you should know.
RELATED: A Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy
- Mothers will not be nice during childbirth. Do not expect the mother to participate in small talk or want many visitors. Try to sustain from taking many photographs of mothers in labor. Be aware, moms in labor can curse and yell. Do not take it personally.
- Don’t “step out” during her labor to take a call or have a smoke. A partner will usually understand your need to eat, but try to avoid bringing food into the labor and delivery room while the mother is in labor.
- New babies will come out looking milky. When babies are born, do not expect them to look like they do on the day you take them home. They will be covered in amniotic fluids and need a bath.
- Babies that are first born will need to go to the nursery for observation and monitoring. The nurse will check size, height, and do blood work while the baby is in the nursery. After all of this is complete, the nurse in the nursery will allow you to hold the baby.
- Babies cannot leave the hospital without an approved car seat. Some states require the car seat to be in the car and pass inspection before the baby is released. If you cannot afford a seat, contact the department of social services for information on free car seats.
- Mothers sometimes suffer from postpartum depression. All during the pregnancy, the mother has been very excited and anxious for the baby to be born. Mothers that are having postpartum depression symptoms may not want to hold their baby. This can be easy to work through with support from the father and the family. The new father should encourage the mother to bond with the baby.
- Babies will wake up every 2-3 hours, and mothers will sometimes need a nap during the day. A mother is not solely responsible for the feeding and diapering of the baby. Oh, babies do spit up so do not be alarmed when they toss their milk all over you.
- Babies need diapers changed often. You will need many diapers. You will also need air freshener in the diaper pail.
- Fathers will need to bond with the child. To do this, make sure that time is in your schedule to hold your baby, feed your baby, and love on your baby.
- New parents are not perfect. Do not be discouraged if you do not know all of the answers. Your parents or friends will be more than happy to answer questions but you may get more than you bargain for when you ask.