5 Tips for Future First-Time Dads
by Mélody Laye
Fathers’ Day is getting closer (June 18th!), so we thought we’d share with you an article to help future dads getting ready for a newborn’s arrival. Like with all important milestones in life, it’s equal parts exciting and stressful to become a parent for the first time. You shouldn’t feel guilty over these emotions: they’re perfectly normal.
You'll feel much more serene with a good preparation for your baby’s arrival. Here are some practical ideas to ready yourself for this life-changing moment!
Future moms, feel free to share this blog article with your partner.
1 - Use haptonomy (affective preparation) during pregnancy:
To a pregnant woman, it’s much easier to realize that the baby will arrive soon, as a physical link is naturally established. Future dads can have a hard time projecting themselves in their new role, as they do not get this physical experience. Haptonomy (or affective preparation) allows the partner to feel the baby and start developing a bond with his child.
In addition to haptonomy, your voice can also be used to establish contact with your baby. Great news: lower frequencies are better at traveling through the placental barrier than higher frequencies. Your baby’s not here yet, but he's alive and can hear you, so don’t hesitate and allow yourself to talk to him!
2 - Accompany your partner to her medical appointments and prenatal classes:
Attending prenatal classes and going to appointments is a great way to ease yourself bit by bit into your future life as a parent. Your partner will also highly appreciate your support.
There are a few reasons why prenatal classes will come in handy:
- You will learn about breastfeeding and will be able to help your partner to feed your baby after his arrival. For more resources on the topic, click here.
- You’ll have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the coming physical and emotional changes associated with pregnancy. Understanding them will make it easier to handle them.
- You’ll prepare for the delivery. It can be an intimidating moment for both parents and by readying yourself, you’ll know what to expect and how to provide support for your partner.
3 - Share your thoughts about your baby’s education with your partner:
This is an important point that can easily get overlooked while getting ready for the baby! With a new baby to take care of, we sometimes discover very late that our ideals on how to raise him clash with our partner’s vision of his education.
Should we let him cry? Which toys should we get him? Should we use a positive or punitive educational style? These are a few of the many questions to ask yourselves as a couple to avoid a lot of headaches when you need their answers. To learn more on the subject, read 8 Parenting Debates to Hash Out Before Baby.
4 - Buy the essentials for the baby:
A big step in preparation for the baby’s arrival is planning for all the stuff you’ll need: a stroller, a crib, clothes, a changing table, diapers, etc. To give yourself an idea of the things you’ll need for your new baby, look through this list.
You’re in no way obligated to buy everything brand-new but, if you intend to buy second-hand, you’ll need to address safety concerns. For example, here’s an article on buying a second-hand baby carrier. A lot of these tips are applicable to other items.
Have you thought of how you will be carrying your baby? A stroller allows you to have more weight on you but isn’t ideal for newborns since skin-to-skin contact is important to their health and a source of comfort for them. When Baby is leaning on either parent, their movements and heartbeat is reminiscent of his life before birth. The Snüg baby wrap, the classic woven baby wrap and the ring sling will make it easy to carry Baby on you. To learn more on babywearing a newborn, read our very exhaustive article on the topic.
One last point before moving on: try the items you want to purchase. You’ll avoid disappointments, bad surprises and stress if something doesn’t work as needed when you want to use it. To get a sense of what babywearing is like, start by watching our demonstrations on video.
5 - Start preparing your family’s cozy cocoon:
Beyond buying things for the baby, a newborn’s arrival typically means a transformation of your home. Where should he sleep? Where should you change his diaper? Where should he play? Thinking about how you’ll create space for your new baby is a great way to get into your role as a father!
Rearranging your home rhymes with decorating. Redecorating your family cocoon is an agreeable time to spend with the mother of your future child.
Caution is required here: you should keep an eye out for indoor pollution: go for environmentally-certified paints to limit you and your partner’s exposition to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Decorate with fewer objects rather than more, as dust mites, who are responsible for allergies, have a tendency to set up shop in carpeting, curtains, and plushies. The Institut national de santé publique du Québec also has great advice on babyproofing a bedroom.
During delivery, a dad has an essential role to play in providing support for their partner and helping her to handle the fear and pain she’ll go through. You can also take part in the delivery by cutting the umbilical cord and the baby’s initial care. During the following hours, you could spend time skin-to-skin with your baby and enjoy the most tender of moments with him.
As we’ve said earlier, it’s normal to feel anxious in the face of this life-changing event, but hopefully our advice will help you get ready for your new role and feel better-prepared for your new adventure. We also invite you to read 5 tips to accompany you through paternity as a warm-up. One last tip: don’t stay alone with your worries and doubts and share them with your partner. She’s probably going through the same thing! Mutual support and communication will help you both in putting things in perspective and emerge stronger as a couple and as future parents.