How To Navigate Fatherhood As A First-Time Dad
Being a first-time parent can be exciting and scary all at the same time. You and your partner are now able to connect and bond more due to the life that you both created. But this means that you will have to take on more responsibilities and have a lot of first-time experiences as you raise your child. Navigating fatherhood as a first-time dad can seem scary, but there are resources that you can try to use and learn more about babies and feel more confident when handling your newborn. And before you know it you will feel like a pro in no time if you follow these few simple tips.
Do Some Research Before Their Birth
Something that first-time dads can do even before their baby arrives is to do some more research about caring for a newborn. There are plenty of parenthood books written by experts to help parents understand what will be happening when they bring their baby home from the hospital. These types of books will break down everything from their first days to their first weeks all the way to their first birthday. These will be filled with knowledge that you'll be able to look back at any time that you have a question or are unsure about what to do when handling your baby.
A wonderful resource that soon-to-be parents can do is to take parenting classes. Taking a parenting class with your partner can be an excellent way for first-time parents to learn from an expert in a small setting. In these classes, they will go over handling, feeding, burping, and bathing a baby plus so much more. With this class being filled with soon-to-be parents it is a great way for you and your partner to feel safe in a learning environment where you know you will not be judged for any questions you have.
Feeding and Burping Your Newborn
A concern that many first-time dads commonly have with their newborns is handling feedings and burpings. The first thing to know when it comes to feeding a newborn is that they eat a lot. A newborn baby will typically feed 8 to 12 times a day. And a good way to know if your baby is getting enough milk is if they end up producing 6 to 8 wet diapers a day. If at any time your newborn is a not eating their usual amount of 8 to 12 times a day and you are concerned about the amount of milk they are getting make sure you talk to their pediatrician immediately.
Feeding time will never be complete until you burp your baby. One fear that some first-time dads have when burping their baby is they are afraid they're going to be too rough when patting their little one back. But in reality, you need to be able to provide enough pressure on their back when patting them to release the air in their stomach. Something many parents find useful is to focus on patting the left side of their newborns back since the stomach is located on the left side of their body. And you will be able to tell if you have gotten air out of your little one’s stomach if they are not making any faces and are calm.
One of the most important baby activities that a newborn can do once they get home from the hospital is tummy time. Tummy time is when you place your baby on the ground on their stomach so they can work on neck and shoulder muscles and promote positive motor skills. During tummy time is important to place them on the ground with a blanket and not on the sofa or bed since it will not provide the support your little one needs. It is important to not leave any pets out where they can get to your newborn and for you and your partner to always pay attention to your baby when your little one is having tummy time.
When you first bring your baby home from the hospital, your newborn will have tummy time about 3 to 4 times a day totaling 15 minutes throughout the entire day. As your baby gets older, their tummy time will get longer until it reaches about 30 minutes a day. You will know when your baby is done with needing to have tummy time in their schedule every day when they are able to roll over from their stomach to back, then back to stomach again completely on their own. And if your baby is fussy when having tummy time a great way to help them is to bring out some of their favorite toys so they are going to be more inclined to reach out and look around them.
Reach Out To Your Dad/Father-In-Law
Something that all first-time dads should do when they're navigating fatherhood is to reach out to their own dad and father-in-law. Reaching out to your dad and father-in-law can help you feel like you are not in this alone. Remember they were first-time dads once too and not everything came easy to them at first. These men are going to be able to give you firsthand experience and tips that they use to raise you and your partner. You will most likely find out that they are proud and impressed by how you were handling the whole situation and taking care of their grandchild.
Or if you are not in a situation where you were able to reach out to your dad and father-in-law then you should reach out to dad groups on social media. These types of groups are filled with first-time parents all the way to grandparents wanting to share what they learned to help make other dad's lives easier. And it's true what they always say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” So don't be too shy to reach out and ask questions since people are willing to help you when it comes to navigating fatherhood as a first-time dad.