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Survival Guide For The New Dad: 0-12 Months Can Be Tough

Updated on May 16, 2012
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest are just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learner, & development professional.

Me and Yna.  A few days after her birth.
Me and Yna. A few days after her birth. | Source

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

Kneeling breast feeding mother by Paula Modersohn-Becker
Kneeling breast feeding mother by Paula Modersohn-Becker | Source

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.

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?

Changing Diapers: A Step by Step Survival Guide for Dads

If you have not changed a diaper before, this is a good place to start.

Don't grow up too fast my baby

Yna, a few weeks before her first birthday.
Yna, a few weeks before her first birthday. | Source

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?


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    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Outbound Dan,

      I know what you mean. The experience can vary from person to person. Some have more difficulty than others. But life can't be better. I even learned a lot of songs from Dora, Barney, hi5 Little Einstein and other children's show. Good luck my friend. Enjoy being a dad.

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 

      5 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      Great advice here, especially as my son is eleven months old today. This past year has been interesting to say the least - it has been a change for both my wife and I. That said, I'd never trade this experience for anything. Playing silly games with my babbling boy makes it all worth it.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Magdaleine,

      Thank you very much for the kind words. You really know how to make a dad proud. :) I'd like to say she looks like me, but I think she got her charm from her mom.

    • Magdaleine profile image


      5 years ago

      Good information for new dads. And wow.. your daughter is so cute.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi Lisa,

      I also get up in the middle of the night several times when our baby cries. For the past year my wife and i are sleep-deprived. :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My husband also wakes up in the middle of the night when the baby cries. It's difficult for both of us. But the experience is worth it.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello DeBorrah K. Ogans,

      Thanks you for the kind words. It is really difficult especially if both parents are working. In our case, we have to get a nanny. But nothing can replace the attention that parents give. When both parents share the responsibility, it becomes easier.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      5 years ago

      Jpcmc, Wonderful informative hub! Great practical advice to alert new Dads & Moms as to what to expect when their little bundle of Love arrives! Although difficult, I think it is important that they somehow manage to take brief moments to nurture one another as well... Even if it is only the three of them nestling... Thank You for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello mary615,

      There are times when I feel less loved by my baby. lol. But I know it's just a stage - it's survival. Thanks for the vote up; )

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I think most husbands are secretly jealous of the time the wife spends with the new baby. Got to give him extra love and attention.

      Your child is precious.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc.etc.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there katyzzz. Thanks for the kind words.

    • katyzzz profile image


      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I would have loved my husband to have read this, he just didn't GET it. But he could have been a whole heap worse, wonderful stuff here jp....

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Lady Wordsmith. I try to do whatever I can. Compared to my wife, I do a fraction of the work. The little I can do to help will definitely make it easier. Thanks for sharing your insights and the kind words. Have a great day.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Well, you sound like a fantastic daddy to me! And what a great husband! Cooking, understanding, helping, foot rubs? If only all daddies would look at the first year with so much wisdom. It's not so difficult if you look after each other, and learn to be less sensitive. Babies sleep a lot for the first few weeks and months, but when they start to be awake more everyone gets to spend more time with them and that's when the fun really starts. Our babies were bottle-fed, so daddy got to spend just as much time with them as I did - I can imagine that that is much more difficult when a baby is breast-fed - but daddies can do the bathing, and nappy-changing: there's always plenty to do for a new baby, as you know!

      Yes, you're right, more dads should take an active role in raising their children - it can only make for more rounded and well-adjusted children.

      Good hub - very positive, which is always what I like to see.


    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there charmike4. 10 years ago I had no idea I would be writing in hubpages. :) 10 years from now, I hope more dads take on a more active role in rearing their children especially helping out their wives. I know sleep deprivation first hand as well. But my daughter is worth every sleep deprived nights I had - I'm sure there will lots to come. Thanks for sharing.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I always found the first year to be a challenge with my children as well jpcmc! The biggest issue for me was getting up in the middle of the night to help with the feed or to settle them. I can still recall the sleep deprivation. This is a great guide for new parents - wish this was online about 10 years ago! Cheers Michael

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Nice to see you again Danette Watt. I know that my wife is stressed out from being a new mom, responsibilities at work and being a wife. The little that dads can do to ease the burden will go a long way.

      Thanks for such kind words about my baby. See you around.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello mericks28. Thank you for reading and I hope I sparked some fond memories of your early days with your baby. It's nice to look back at how we took on the responsibility as new parents.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Kelly. I really want to be involved in every little way I can. I also want every dad out there to take on a more active role in bringing up their children. Many think that rearing children is just for women. Parenting is a shared responsibility. 0-12 years can be really hard for both moms and dads. sharing in the responsibility will lighten the load. Have a great day.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      A new baby can put stress on a marriage especially if the husband doesn't understand the need for the mom and baby to bond and gets jealous. You have a lot of good tips here for new dads and it's so important to help her. Having a baby puts a lot of stress on a woman both physically and mentally. I know dads go through a lot of changes too but not to the same degree.

      By the way, your daughter is beautiful!!

    • mericks28 profile image


      6 years ago from Duluth, MN

      thank you. too bad my baby days are done. my hubbz could have stood to have read this!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It is important to include dad in everything. When my husband and I had our first child I wanted him involved in every aspect and 7 years later he still is! Voted up and useful! Take care, Kelley

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      HI there dhannyya. Thanks you for dropping by.

    • dhannyya profile image


      6 years ago

      gud hub dear


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