From joy to terror, you may encounter mixed feelings once you come to know that you are going to become a dad for the first time. It is difficult to completely prepare and get ready for parenting. However, we have vital tips for you while you await the birth of your little one.
Are you becoming a father for the first time? Yes, this is the exciting phase of your life but it will also be a life-altering experience. You will be anxious and worried about your wife’s health. You will be tensed whether your baby is safe. You will be worried about the delivery; you may feel restless once the due date is nearby. Meanwhile, you will have to prep up to become a hands-on dad. All this is not going to be easy but we are sure you can do it. Now, there is increased awareness in fathers regarding their roles and even dads have started taking an active part in parenting. Father’s involvement and father-child relationship are also important. Here are some helpful tips for being a father for the first time.
Support your partner
Your partner will need that tender love and care during pregnancy. Hence, be available for her when she needs you. Take care of her nutrition, help her in daily chores, share household responsibilities, help with her medicines, take her for regular follow-ups and if you see any changes occurring in her body then discuss it with her doctor. Cuddle her and assure her that things will be fine. Try to spend some quality time with your partner and make her feel wanted. Pack her bag while going to the hospital and make sure you have taken all the essential things like a phone charger, undergarments, clothes, insurance papers, and other necessary documents.
Join antenatal classes
You and your partner can join antenatal classes wherein you will get to know about the right kind of diet, fitness routine, delivery, taking care of the baby and you can also clear all your doubts that you have in the mind.
Take care of your partner
Your partner might be stressed so allow her to rest as she will need energy while pushing during the labour. Let her do activities of her choice like gardening, painting, cooking, or playing an instrument. Go for a walk with her or watch a romantic movie together. Ensure your partner is comfortable and doesn’t feel exhausted.
Prepare for those night shifts
Once the baby is born, be awake with your partner during the night. Help her change the nappies, feed the baby, or rock the baby. You will have to be mentally prepared for all this. After all, it is your responsibility as well.
Be around the baby
For the first few weeks after the baby is born, you will have to be around your partner. Try to cancel all your non-emergency appointments and make sure that you are there when your wife needs you. Your free time will be for your baby. So, plan your work accordingly. You will have to postpone all the activities that you do in the free time. Organise the baby’s wardrobe, try to check for the medications, and store them. Make a list of the items needed for the baby and buy them. Be patient with the newborn. Your baby can be unpredictable. Do not panic when he/she is crying. Try to establish a connection with your baby, play and make the infant sleep. This will help you build a stronger bond with the baby. Spend enough time with your baby. You and your partner can sleep in shifts and take care of the newborn as sleep is vital and you both will need it.
Be around during labour
Make sure that your partner is hydrated and drinks enough fluids. Take care that she avoids spicy or oily foods that cause acidity, nausea, or vomiting.
Care at the hospital
Try to be around your partner, massage her, set the right temperature of the room, and help her when she has to visit the washroom. Help her manage pain with an ice pack, play soft music to calm her down, and capture your experience in a video. Don’t get angry if she snaps at you. Thank her after the delivery by hugging her or writing a note to thank her.
(The writer is Chief Neonatologist & Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune.)
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