Before we had a baby I’d never spent any time hanging out with one. I’d never even held one before. And so when ours arrived and I became a first time dad, I was on a pretty steep learning curve. And, if I’m going to be totally honest, more than a little scared.
9 months down the line and I’m rocking this whole dad thing. Or that’s what I reckon at least (my wife might be rolling her eyes).
Anyway. I’ve learnt a lot of things along the way and wanted to share them for any other first time dads about to embark the same crazy adventure.
That first nappy is another level
I still don’t know how my wife and the midwife secretly conspired to guilt trip me into changing that first nappy. But, after what I’d just witnessed my wife go through I could hardly refuse. Man. It’s something else. It’s like thick, black tar.
What had that little guy been snacking on in the womb? Seriously it’s unreal. And it sticks to things and gets everywhere.
But with nappies just suck it up and get on with the job. Even if you do need to ask the midwife which way up the new nappy goes.
Find your own way to hold baby
The first time I held my tiny scrap of a newborn I felt like I was holding a Ming vase. I was terrified of his floppy wobbly head and weird bendy legs. The whole experience can’t have been very relaxing for the poor little fellow.
But if you keep at the baby cuddles, you soon find the best way that your baby fits into your arms and melts into your body. And when they do, there’s no better feeling.
Get some happy baby time
In the first few weeks I always seemed to get the baby when he was screaming or wriggling or just being cross. Mostly to give my wife a break. And I did my best to pace up and down and try and calm him down as best I could, without the magic power of boobs to resort to.
But I say the best way to get to know your new tiny human is to also get time together when they’re happy too. Those times when he was chilled out and kicking back and happy to be in my arms, made me feel like I was doing an OK job being his Daddy.
Papooses are the business
Even James Bond can rock a papoose, well Daniel Craig anyway. Seriously get one.
It will change your life. You can walk round the block each evening with your little guy snuggled to your chest and it feels awesome. You can also do anything around the house with your hands free.
I even threw on some tunes and bopped around the house with my little guy strapped in his sling. We had a blast and my wife got a bit of a break.
You’ll get cried at a lot
From the baby. And from your wife.
Let’s face it they’re both going through a lot to get the hang of this whole new life outside the womb thing. The best thing you can do? Just be there.
Give loads of hugs. Instead of trying to fix everything by searching on Amazon for ‘gadgets to help my wife and baby stop crying’ just listen to them.
Make her tea and stack the dishwasher
One thing I do every morning is take my wife a cup of tea in bed. And then I hold the baby until she’s drunk it. She tells me it’s the best way to start her day.
Also I soon learnt that a little bit went a long way around the house. I couldn’t breastfeed but I sure could stack the dishwasher and bung on a load of laundry. And it helped all round.
Chill out with your baby
For me our chill out time was in the early mornings when the little man was all drunk from a feed and it was just me and him hanging together. Or late at night when my wife had gone to bed to try and catch a few zzzs. And I loved those times.
I think I fell in love and learnt more about my son in those special Daddy times than in any other. I sang him Bowie songs. I mansplained the offside rule. We hung out watching box sets on Netflix.
I’m not sure if he got the plot but he seemed pretty happy to kick back and hang. And I loved those times.