The first few months of being a first time Dad can be very stressful and it may take up to a year to feel like you have got in to a rhythm that works well for your new expanded family. The key is to ‘keep your head, when all around you are losing theirs’. Here are a few tips for first time Dads that might just help!
1.The loaf of bread. It can be very stressful being a new father as you have another mouth to feed. But I have often heard the phrase that ‘every baby brings a loaf of bread‘ and it seems to be true. Ask any of your friend’s who already have kids and they will tell you how, in one way or another, ‘fortune smiled on them’ when the new baby came. Most men are born to be fathers so it makes sense to let the natural transition happen. Keep relaxed and hold the space for your wife and child, as that can be very calming for the whole family, in amongst all the challenges that come with caring for a new member of the family.
2. Give without expectations. The reality of having to suddenly share your wife can often be quite hard on a man and many times the man can feel ignored. However, this is usually temporary. Unless you experience it yourself, it is hard to imagine the huge journey and affect the hormonal changes have on a woman, as she endlessly gives her energy out, whether it is during pregnancy, when she gives birth or breast feeding and caring for the baby. The best thing you can do is replenish her with unconditional love and support, and even though it may seem that you are not getting it directly back, remember she has just created a child for you. So learn to say “Yes Dear” and become her support system at this challenging time. It won’t last forever.
3. Go on a date. Please insist that you go on a date by yourselves once a week. Even if you are both really tired, it is important to get in to that routine quickly. You must keep connecting with each other and often it is the man who has to lead on this front at this particular time. Your relationship is number one and even though, in most cases, it is the woman who takes care of the partnership, she is temporarily on sabbatical from that role as so much else is on her mind. You are both shepherding a new soul in to the world, but it is wise to think long term, as eventually your child will leave the nest and you will be left staring at each other across the kitchen table.
4. Create a routine. Don’t be scared to be hands on as much as you can with your baby, so that you create your own special bond. Many men say that they didn’t connect with their babies till later on, but a child needs a father as much as a mother from the start, if at all possible. Babies love routines, so create one whereby your baby knows that they are going to spend that particular time with you. Maybe when your baby wakes up it is you who always feeds and plays with them. Or maybe you are the one who always puts them to sleep.
5. Give Your wife a break. If you are a hands-on Dad, it will allow the mother to take some time off. Let your partner have one day off a week if possible, so she can get her nails or hair done, go shopping with a friend, or get a massage. This will allow her to feel like a woman again, rather than just a feeding machine. By having a break, she will come back fresh and you will find she will give you much more attention as you have supported her in taking time out to get herself back.