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Survival Guide For The New Dad: 0-12 Months Can Be Tough
The nightmarish phase of your wife’s pregnancy is over. You got through it with minimal psychological and physical damage. Congratulations! Unfortunately, you now enter a new phase that can be equally challenging but memorable none the less. You are now a full-fledge daddy, and new challenges await you.
Before you freak out at this new role, here are some clarifications to some of the most common situations or questions. So sit back and demystify the new phase you’re experiencing.
Oh yes, even if you're not a new dad, this can still be useful for you. Just remember that every person is unique. Moreover, the dynamics between couples are likewise different.
She’s still big!
If you think your wife will regain her slim, sexy figure when the baby comes out let me the first to burst your bubble! Not because the baby’s out her figure will magically be restored immediately. It will take some weeks for her uterus and hips to go back to her previous shape and size. Plus the excess fats require burning. Also, it will take some time for the skin around the abdomen to regain its former glory. Those squiggly lines on her abdomen called stretch marks are now long-time partners. So NO, don’t expect a wife with perfect curves right after delivering the baby. Moreover, don’t ask your wife to get a liposuction right after either.
Hubby and Daddy Tips
- Prepare healthy meals for your wife
- Have lots of fruits and vegetables ready
- Exercise with her – of course consult a doctor before you let her do any strenuous activities
- Focus on her accomplishment as a mom and not on her waist line
- Don’t make fun of her size or the flabs
Don’t complete with mammary glands
Never compete with your wife’s mammary glands for your child’s attention. You will definitely lose at this game. My baby sleeps a lot. When she’s a wake, chances are she’s suckling. When given the choice, your baby will rather drink milk than play with you. Well, it is survival so don’t take it personally. As your baby grows, you will be part of her world. Right now, you’re secondary to your wife’s breasts.
Hubby and daddy tips
- Give your wife and new baby more time together – do more household chores instead
- Give them more space (literally) especially on the bed when breastfeeding. So willingly give your bed space.
- Let your wife rest and sleep – my wife awakes up at odd times at night just to breastfeed so let her catch some zs. When the baby is sleeping that’s the time when she can really get some rest. So don’t even try waking the baby to play with you.
- Pamper your wife – a foot rub or back massage every now and then will alleviate the stresses she may have.
Must read for dads
I’m all alone - dads have feelings too
For the next couple months – probably years, expect not to receive as much attention from your wife. It is natural that your wife is giving more attention to your child. In fact, the mom-baby bond is strong that the dad sometimes feels left out. Yes, I did feel this as well. But you don’t have to feel grumpy; it’s for your child anyway. As a corollary to this, don’t expect the same level of physical intimacy like before. Of course there will still be romantic moments between you and your wife. But don’t hold your breath especially during the first few months.
Hubby and daddy tips:
- Don’t be jealous of the time spent between your wife and your baby.
- Spend time with your wife when the baby is asleep. My wife and I usually have a couple of minutes to talk about our day before she snoozes off. I take that time to let her know how lucky I am for having her and our baby.
- Romantic moments need not be fancy. I sometimes cook for her and have a quick dinner right there at our home. Sometimes cuddling is more than enough.
- Leave notes and letters for your wife to discover.
Instead of feeling all grumpy and alone, create fond memories with your wife and your new baby.
Diaper changing: Are you up for it?
Changing diapers is not just a mom's job. Dads can pitch in as well. Do you know how?
If you have not changed a diaper before, this is a good place to start.
Don't grow up too fast my baby
Mommy stuff is also daddy stuff - except breastfeeding
Changing diapers, giving the baby a bath, making milk, sterilizing bottles and a list of other activities is often presumed to be mommy activities. With just breastfeeding alone, your wife may not have time to do all other “mommy stuff”. So learn all these and take some burden off your wife’s shoulders. Dads can start with changing the diapers.
Hubby and Daddy tips:
- Learn how to do mommy stuff by observing your wife
- Ask your wife to teach you
- Take the initiative to learn “mommy stuff”
- Assist your wife when changing diapers, giving the baby a bath, etc.
As I write this my daughter is within days of turning 1 year old. After nine month in your wife’s womb, you can finally hold your child in your arms. I will admit that the first 12 months is tough especially for the mom. So whatever you can do to alleviate the discomfort or stress, do it.
Likewise, enjoy every minute of this journey. There will be a time when you will say that your child is growing up too fast - and they do.
Your baby will only go through this stage once. Wouldn’t it be great to be part of it?