Preparing for fatherhood can feel like an overwhelming task, but it’s an amazing, unique period of your life that throws surprises at you left, right, and centre.
No matter how many baby-book checklists you read through, how much advice you take in, or how many times you scour the internet for that holy grail cheat code, it is impossible to cover it all.
Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered with these top 7 “must-do” tips for every dad-to-be before the big day arrives.
1) Dust That Toolbelt Off
Unfortunately, baby furniture does not build itself, although it would be pretty cool if it did. The last thing any aspiring handyman wants is to be building baby furniture while running on very little rest.
The task is savage enough after a solid eight hours of regular sleep, but it’s pure torture after a night of your newborn baby testing its lungs.
There is a real sense of achievement after completing this mammoth task, so make sure to stop and appreciate your craftsmanship as well as constantly remind your partner what an incredible man of many talents you are.
2) Learn The Puzzle That Is A Baby Car Seat
The right baby car seat is essential for every dad-to-be. Your child will not actually be released from the hospital unless you can show nurses that you can put a child in an appropriate car seat.
Make sure to do your research, but it’s not enough to just buy an infant car seat.
You also need to learn the art of fixing the car seat securely and ensuring your baby is strapped in safely. Prepare to spend some time in your car, in some very awkward positions, attempting to set this up safely.
Make sure to read the instructions manual and not do what the majority of us usually do and shrug them off while tossing them in the bin when the package arrives.
3) Create A Plan Of Action For The Labour
Yes, your partner is technically doing all the work during labour, but you will play a massive role too. You are her right-hand man in that labour ward and potentially have to make some big decisions.
Sit down with your partner and discuss how you want the birth to go.
Does she want a water birth? What about pain relief? Does she want you to hold her hand or put a cold flannel on her head? This information needs to be on hand at a moment’s notice.
When it comes to pain relief, remember that it is ultimately her decision. She is doing all the graft and some pain relief may be exactly what she needs to get her through those contractions.
However, the role you play in that labour ward could mean that the pain relief that is prescribed plays second fiddle to your incredible, calming, soothing self, and you’re exactly what she needs to get through the labour.
Don’t expect any gratitude afterward, as she will be far too busy for that.
4) Reassess Your Sleeping Habits
It’s recommended by the NHS to have your newborn in your room for the first six months, so it’s a good idea to acquire a bedside co-sleeping cot.
It’s also important to have a discussion about where the baby will sleep. On the ceiling? On your side? On her side?
At night, it’s a team effort and not just your other half getting up every 2-3 hours for the feed, so be prepared to chip in and cut short some of your sleep, even if it’s just keeping her company.
These are not decisions to be made after your baby arrives. Sit down and discuss this with your partner so you are both aligned on the baby’s sleeping arrangements and prepared for those tiring nights to come.
5) Research For Time-Efficient Gadgets
There are hundreds of nifty gadgets out there to save you time with a new baby.
Usually, it’s best to not get too obsessed with the camera that measures the baby’s breathing or the mattress that rocks the baby to sleep, but there are definitely some decent products out there that will genuinely make your life easier.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, here’s a list of our top picks to make your life easier when the time comes:
● Prep Machine
● Nappy bin
● Pregnancy Pillow
● A Steriliser
● A zippered sleeping bag
● Sleep nest
● Noise Machine
● Snot sucker
● A good bottle cleaner
In my experience, I had all these items and they proved their worth multiple times over.
We still use some of these items today, a year on. Especially the pregnancy pillow, which I’ve now taken ownership of and is by far the cosiest thing I’ve slept on in my life.
6) Learn to Cook
The weeks before your baby’s delivery are a great time to start thinking about doubling up on meals.
Try and follow the rule: eat half, freeze half. This is a great way to be prepared, and when it’s time to make a sleep-deprived post-baby meal, it’s just a matter of preheating the oven and setting the timer or chucking it in the microwave.
Friends and family will usually help support you and your partner with this as well, but you can’t solely rely on this, so make sure you dust off that hilarious apron and get your peachy backside in the kitchen. Your future self will thank you.
7) Get Some Decent Treats for Your Hospital Bag
Labour lasts ages, so having some tasty treats for you and your partner as well as having some comfort items is important when sitting in a hospital for hours, days, or weeks waiting for that little person to make an appearance.
We made sure to pack early and went prepared with multiple bags of snacks and drinks. Usually, once the labour starts, your partner will go off those tasty treats, which leaves them all for you. I think I put on an extra stone that day, and it was worth it.
Pillows, blankets, and comfortable clothing are all good choices, as are a couple of clean shirts and fresh underwear, as the labour ward can get incredibly warm and sweaty and you don’t want to be grossing the hospital staff out with your pungent aroma.
Being aware of these points will at least give you a headstart into fatherhood. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg on your pregnancy journey.