Dads can do a lot to get prepared for baby- help set up the nursery, go to parenting class, read all the books, go the appointments, talk to the baby, and get on the same page with mom-to-be, but so many times that won’t be enough to get you ready for the chaos that is about to ensue. Having children is a wonderful experience. It changes your life! But there will be times when you wish someone would hand you a manual and tell you what to do. Being prepared can get you ready for that first year, when so many changes happen with you and your new baby!
Let’s address this right away- there will be nights when you don’t sleep at all. You know that having a newborn means no sleep,, and you are prepared for that. But did you know that a baby or a one year old, or even a toddler, will go through periods of no sleep? Before you get discouraged and write your pillow an apology/break up letter, know that it isn’t always every night and that every child is different. They do eventually sleep and you will eventually sleep, too. Just don’t count on getting more than two hour of sleep at a stretch and you will be fine. Go to bead earlier, if you can, to help balance out the times you will be awoken.
No, not your child’s attitude- YOUR attitude. Your attitude will make or break you in the first year. Your child will change drastically over the first year. You will go from feedings every three hours, to eating solid foods, from being totally dependent, to being mobile- all within matter of months, Its what kids do! And what parents need to do in this time is remember that their children are going through major changes. If it is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting for you, as an adult, just imagine how your child is feeling! Remember the kids and check your attitude. Show some empathy and try to be patient, even when you have been pushed to the breaking point. This is the best thing you can do for yourself, your child, and your partner.
Kids love toys. They love to play all the time- because that is how they learn! When you get home from working all day and the last thing you want to do is play, that’s when they will want it most. Before you say “no” take the time to remember this: they tripled in size in no time at all. In a few years they won’t want to play with you like this, so take the time NOW to establish that bond and get them on the right path to learning. If you need, make this a daily routine- get home form work, change clothes and et comfy, then spend 30 minutes playing with your child before you do anything else. They will get accustomed to that routine and will look forward to play time with you, and it establishes a schedule for you.
Food and clothing
Kids grow at a crazy rate. They will need food all the time, and they will fit into one size one week and need a bigger size the next week. One of the best ways to prepare for a baby and not pull out your hair is to start putting a bit of money back now that is specifically for food and clothing, or “needs” versus the “wants” of your child. Find consignment shops, and get comfortable with buying second-hand clothing, because kids need new items constantly, and they shouldn’t have to cost you a fortune.