After speaking at Mumsnet Bumpfest recently and with our third child due in a matter of weeks, my mind is firmly on advice for new dads – as much for my own benefit as anyone else’s! Here, then, are my five top tips for new dads – for the remainder of pregnancy to the first few weeks.
Do your research
Even though we have two children already, I’m reading up on all the important things that I need to know – both to remind myself of information that has faded from my memory and to learn new things that might help. This time, for example, I’ve been making sure I know what to do if Kate has a really fast labour and I have to do more than I bargained for, as we’re considering a home birth. Swot up now – more will go in than you think!
I was never a Scout, but their motto makes sense. Make sure you’ve packed hospital bags at least a few weeks before the due date, including one for you. Even if, like us, you’re thinking about a home birth. Assemble the crib, get any washing done if you’ve got a backlog and finish any jobs round the house – you won’t get any of this done once the baby arrives! – cook and freeze lots of meals and, of course, make sure you’ve got everything you need. Also, work together to write your birth preferences and be ready to tell the midwife if your partner isn’t comfortable with something.
Trust your instincts
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with winging it here and there – as long as you’ve done some research beforehand, of course. When we left the hospital with Dylan, the midwife told us that we knew better than anyone else what he needed. I think I laughed nervously at the time, but she was right. Babies are amazingly resilient and aren’t made of glass so, as long as you employ a little common sense, you should be fine.
Don’t try to do everything
There’s no denying the fact that you’ll have a fair few things to do once the baby arrives. Your partner will need plenty of rest and may well be breastfeeding too, so everything else will quite rightly be your job. As well as ensuring you’re all fed and watered and that your new arrival is regularly changed and has clean clothes on tap, you’ll need to perform a role that’s half bouncer, half diplomat. Everyone you know will want to visit, but they can do so when you’ve all had time to settle. These first few weeks are your time. That list is already long enough, so take time to bond as a family. And get some rest too – you’ll be no use to anyone if you tire yourself out trying to be Super Dad.
Everybody is probably telling you this at the moment, but time really does fly past. I can’t believe that Dylan and Xander are five and three respectively; it doesn’t seem like long ago that they were tiny(ish) people who were entirely dependent on us. They’re answering us back, doing things for themselves and beating our high scores on Angry Birds now and your kids will quickly reach these landmarks too. Savour those precious early days!
What are your top tips for new dads?